Watch out, middle-aged men: They’re gonna getcha.
They are identifiable not by their short skirts or heavy make-up but by their unflinching devotion to their male bosses. They will work late for them, pick up their dry cleaning and even buy birthday presents for their relatives. They are single women who, stuck in their search for a personal partner, are ready to give their all to a professional one. What they want is a high-earning, high-flying, high-virility man – and one who they can drag to the altar. Welcome to the world of the “office piranha”.
Where to start? First, unless you were hired as a personal assistant, your boss probably shouldn’t be asking you to pick up his dry cleaning or buy birthday presents. Second, who’s the one with more power here? The boss, or the employee? I hardly think that legions of devious women are “dragging” older men into marriage.
We all know the story: women are supposedly taking control, marrying later and “putting off” motherhood until well into their 30s or early 40s. But scratch below the surface and you’ll find that many of these career-minded Amazons are only tolerating singledom while frantically scanning the horizon for an old-fashioned knight in shining armour. The trouble with 21st-century knights though is that they tend to be middle-aged, middle-brow and midway through a lifetime commitment to their childhood sweetheart.
I love the language: “supposedly” women are taking control; putting off motherhood is in scare-quotes; women who work are “Amazons.” They’re “frantic” for a husband, and truly hate being single. And the article naturally employs the age-old tactic of pitting “good” women against the bad ones — the childhood sweetheart vs. the selfish careerist. Need it be pointed out that if a man leaves his wife for someone else, it’s most logical to blame him?
For the office piranha, however, such a situation is an advantage. Here is a man who doesn’t shy away from the M word, who has produced two healthy children, is financially well-off and is at an age where a mid-life crisis is just dying to happen. Just the kind of man, who would be worth prising away from domesticity towards a more exciting life with a younger wife.
Yes, he is the innocent victim, simply duped into having an affair and leaving his wife by a woman with ambitions.
For an ambitious thirtysomething woman whose biological clock is ticking loudly, joining a large firm of accountants or solicitors can be more advantageous than a dating agency. As a divorce lawyer with 25 years experience, it amazes me how many powerful, rich and intelligent married men have been rendered powerless and significantly poorer by what they imagined was a “harmless fling” with their PA or the temp along the corridor. Many have gone on to marry their new lover and raise another family, only to see that marriage, too, end in tears. While four in 10 first marriages fail, 50 per cent of second marriages hit the rocks. Men are notoriously susceptible to flattery, especially when they are past their prime. How many middle-aged executives have paused to wonder just why their nubile PA finds them so irresistible?
The biological clock, of course! And again with the poor, innocent, powerless men. It wasn’t they’re fault! They were seduced!.
Read the whole article. It’s from a German paper, and demonstrates pretty clearly that sexism and woman-blaming are popular pasttimes the world over.
Thanks to Katie for the article.