Beyond Babedom

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The “No Curves Zone”: Paying the Cost to Be the Boss

In the midst of encouraging economic news, one of the realities of the past few years is the continuing demise of “traditional” jobs that dominated in the American economy in the 20th century. The Industrial economy, and its well-paid “blue collar” jobs, showed the dominance of the single-earner household.  Those days have certainly changed, and even if every one of us decided to “buy American” (an idea about 15 years too late, by the way) the days of the male being the only wage earner in the household are over.

There are still occupations where men will always dominate, but they are shrinking.  One factor that has made recent economic times different is that other male-dominated industries, like financial services, have been hit hard.  A recent study released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out the high jobless rate for men over 45, with slim prospect of those jobs coming back.  Many men today see their white-collar jobs going the way of the auto worker in the 1980’s.

The reality is that more women are bringing more bread to the table, and the demographics will increase their economic power even more.  The number of women entering college is far outpacing men.  Women are not leaving the workplace to get married and have children.  In fact, women are marrying later, and more and more successful women are having children without the benefit of marriage.

One of Lucille’s recent posts raised the question of what happens when the man says, “I don’t love you anymore.”  What if the tables were reversed?  What if the successful woman says to her husband, “You are not holding up your financial end of this relationship.  I’m leaving you.”  How many women are not pursuing relationships with men who are not their economic equals?

There is some poetic justice in watching guys who have made the rules for so long now deal with a changing reality.  The caution for women would be not to make the mistake too many men have made, of judging their self-worth solely on the paycheck.  As too many men, particularly over the age of 45, are learning these days that sense of self-worth can vanish overnight.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 at 3:31 AM and is filed under No Curves Zone. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Sharon says:

    There are two different issues going on in your original statement. The man said “I do not love you anymore”, and not one mention of money. and the woman could Only think of the money side, and not a mention of love.

  2. David Alexander says:

    Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I think the phrase “I don’t love you anymore” covers a lot of territory. Most relationships of any duration operate on more than love. Often economics is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. This usually where the guy says, “it’t not you, it’s me.” An overworked phrase, but ofen true. In my experience, women seem to articulate their dissatisfaction in more specific ways. I didn’t mean to suggest that women don’t consider the impact of love. But as the power shifts in any relationship, and money will be part of that shift, a woman will find that love (or the prospect of love in a future relationship) won’t be enough.

  3. Barry Jay says:

    My wife already makes more than me..and I would love if she got a bit bump in pay so I could stay home and cook, clean and sit on a lawn chair with a scotch on my hand at 6am waving to my neighbors driving to work. Gary and I could go get our nails done and do lunch….

  4. David Alexander says:


    What does your wife think about that? Scotch at 6 in the morning? Maybe prime the pump with a beer first. That’s what I do!

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