Last week Ive got a phone call from a friend of mine, Catherine (the name has been changed), my long time girlfriend I havent seen for a year. Weve met the next day, and soon as we got over the excitement of seeing each other, she guided me to a small and cozy restaurant in the beautiful downtown. After a short newsflash on our current lives, we continued chatting about usual stuff people talk after not seeing each other for a long period of time.


Suddenly, somewhere in between my first sip of latte and a bite of desert, Ive heard something I was completely unprepared for: Im so tired of dating, Alyona. I want to get married.


Let me give you a short overview of what kind of person my dear friend Catherine is.


She is a successful lawyer and co-founder of a well-established logistic company, which is quite an achievement taking into consideration that she is only approaching her 34th birthday this year. She is cute, fit, groomed, perpetually tan, stylish, likes to travel and a good company as well, learning Italian and taking guitar classes.  The only problem is, as Catherine followed her astonishing confession, she can not find the right man. She has dates, she has friends, and she meets a lot of people through her job. But, as Catherine explained: It seems like all the good men are married! And I almost have no single friends. I have some divorced friends, though. But they are either tired of the whole marriage idea, or looking for a reliable partner themselves.


I couldnt believe my ears. My friend is the very icon of todays successful businesswoman who has it all. But, as she claims, more and more women find themselves in Catherines position: busy with their careers, one day they find their thoughts far away from the next investors meeting agenda. And if the regularly maintained pension plans and savings give us assurance in our financial future, where is no way to make sure, if that future will be warmed with much desirable family bonds.


But how could it happen?  How is it that Catherine, who can make it in todays tough business world, fails to find a man good enough to join in holy matrimony?


I guess finding out what kind of guy my friend is looking for will be the answer. Well, remember your high school sweetheart? No, he wouldnt do. He should be successful, answered Catherine, revealing the standards for a potential partner. He should be in a stable financial situation, preferably own some kind of business, and be a good conversationalist, she continued.  Yeah, andhe should be good in bed, was her last but not least comment.


Now, thats something to work with. You see, some of us met people during our college years or first years at work. Some of us happily married a friend of a friend of a friend. Some got lucky in finding each other online. We were younger, and annual income was not the first question to pop up in our heads. We didnt have that mach of experience luggage, feelings were larger than life, and definitely more important then any calculations.


I decided to check the statistics as soon as I got home. Here is what Ive found: the percent of  women 30 to 40 years old who have never been married tripled from 6% in 1970 to 22% in 2000. The number of households consisting of one person went up over this time period from 17.1% to 25.5%.  The births among unmarried women increased, thereby the population of single-mother families raised from 3 million in 1970 to 10 million in 2000. There is also the statistics for the married part of the U.S. population: in the year 2000, 57% of women and 50% of men among 25- to 34- year olds were married. Good for them. But that translates into 50% of males and 43% of females are not married or single. If the U.S. census doesnt lie, my friend is not a single single case.


Women like Catherine could be understood: they worked hard to get where they are now. There are achievements and plans, new goals and levels to reach. And then there is money. And the meaning of word partner for such women stretches far past such adjectives as loving and caring. They want Mr. Right with the financial security. Apparently, thats a whole lot of expectations to live up to.


Meanwhile, Catherine considers finding the man of her dreams through help of dating services. In her opinion, its much more convenient and effective than looking for men in all the other places. Besides, you have better chance asking all the important questions before you actually meet. That saves me time and eliminates the wrong candidates, finalized my friend.


This stunning conversation, as well as the business like approach toward such a delicate thing as marriage, left me guessing the results of my friends efforts. I wish her all the best luck in finding the man she will live her happily ever after with. I just hope Catherines  for richer approach would turn her chances for better, not for worse.