Sophie Thorpe

This week SOPHIE THORPE asks: where are all the men?

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My ideas of post-university life have always been filled with a high-powered career and a fancy apartment. Or (more realistically) a poorly paid job that I love and a messy studio flat filled with books, wine and shoes. Men don’t crop up in these dreams of bohemian bliss. In my ideal life, there are no boxer shorts strewn across the floor, nor loo seats left up. And, until recently, I believed that my fellow females had similar aspirations: for lives in which menfolk were marginal – a peripheral feature of their futures.

But apparently I was wrong. In Cambridge, I am surrounded by girls who envisage meeting their husband-to-be during their student career. I feel cheated by this discovery. I feel left by the wayside, watching as all the merry wives speed away without even bothering to toss their bouquets my way.

Luckily my fear of being the only singleton at every dinner party is eased as I watch while it slowly dawns on those around me that these dreams will not be realised. As university life transforms us into ladies, our male counterparts appear unable and unwilling to evolve. They remain trapped in boyhood, desperate to be one of the lads, bantering away their lives and looking for nothing more than a cheeky blowjob, a beer and the latest footie results.

We women lament the state of the male race, the death of chivalry and the lack of younger George Clooney lookalikes. Yet we continue to have this conversation (on a nearly daily basis) because it always ends with the question that will eternally mystify women: where are all the MEN?

In times gone by, people met their brides and grooms to be at school or university and were wed by the age of 24. For those left on the market, it was clear that the road ahead was paved with spinsterhood and a house filled with many cats.

Why were men so prepared to take the plunge and launch themselves into marital life 50 years ago? Perhaps society’s acceptance of our promiscuity is to blame. If we weren’t so free and frisky, our desperate need for some lovin’ would force us into an early engagement.

Unfortunately I suspect the truth is much sadder. Men cling on to lad culture in order to escape the threat that the modern woman poses. They seek safety in numbers. And who would be more threatening than Cambridge undergraduates, intelligent and independent individuals angling for success?

So why are women still searching for a man to complete their ideal future? Why is life as a single woman sad, but life as a single man makes you a bachelor? Perhaps we were corrupted by Walt Disney’s tales of true love in a world filled with princesses who wile away the hours wandering through forests filled with friendly animals, of a world in which women are yet to be empowered by equality. Perhaps not.

While we eagerly await the epiphany that we desperately hope will take place in the male psyche, we female students are left with limited options. We can use and abuse men as tools for our sexual pleasure and nothing more, we can use this time to “find ourselves,” or we can give up on men altogether and turn to lesbianism.

Although I may not be riding into the sunset with my beloved anytime soon, I’m not quite ready to give up on men. And until that eureka moment takes place for the men in this town, I at least know I shan’t be the only maiden left behind. But I’m not going to be waiting around for Mr Right, I’ve a job to find and a studio flat to purchase, a life of bohemian bliss to build.