Women complain there are no good men left—that men are immature, unreliable, and adrift. No wonder. Masculine role models have become increasingly juvenile and inarticulate: think of stars like Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell, or the dudes of the popular Judd Apatow movies.
There are no rules for dating and mating. Guys are unsure how to treat a woman. Most importantly, dating in the pre-adult years is no longer a means to an end—marriage—as it was in the past. Many young men today suspect they are no longer essential to family life, and without the old scripts to follow, they find themselves stuck between adolescence and “real” adulthood.
In Manning Up, Kay Hymowitz sets these problems in a socioeconomic context: today's knowledge economy is female friendly, and many of the highest profile areas of that economy—communications, design, the arts, and health care—are dominated by women. Men are increasingly left on the outskirts of this new, service economy, and take much longer to find a financial foothold. With no biological clock telling them it's time to grow up, without the financial resources to settle down, and with the accepted age of marriage rising into the late 30s or even 40s, men are holding onto adolescence at the very time that women are achieving professional success and looking to find a mate to share it with.
A provocative account of the modern sexual economy, Hymowitz deftly charts a gender mismatch that threatens the future of the American family and makes no one happy in the long run.