Northern Rivers man drought – fact or fiction?
IF YOU'RE a single woman in the Northern Rivers, you've probably had a conversation similar to this one with your girlfriends.
It's the conversation that starts with talk of the lack of romance and ends with wondering where all the good men went.
I sat in on one of these conversations during an evening with five women, several glasses of wine and plenty of talk.
All these women are attractive, successful and by any standards "good catches".
An ex-model, Cathy Hammond is a successful artist in her early 40s and lives in Mullumbimby with her young son.
"I have some fantastic women friends and I appreciate that, but there are no good single men here," she says.
"I think what happens is the ambitious men go where the work is, and that's not here."
Most of the women agree.
"There are men, but they're not the sort of men that I'm looking for," says travel agent Jane Gibson.
"I haven't been on a date for over five years except when I travel.
"The last time I went to Melbourne I couldn't believe it.
"Men were staring at me and then I realised, my god, there are so many attractive men here, and they're noticing me.
"I would move to Melbourne, but I love living in the Northern Rivers so it's a dilemma."
The women all agree with Jane and there is much discussion about the merits of a man-filled city.
According to Deborah Lassiter: "Add to the fact that there are so many fabulous women here, so if there is an attractive single man, he has his pick."
Again there is much agreement, but one voice dissents.
"That's true, there are plenty of great women here, but there are also some great men, you just have to be open," explains Virginia Sullivan.
Interestingly, of the four women, Virginia is rarely single, and if she is it is not for long.
So where did this concept of a man drought come from?
Blame author and social commentator Bernard Salt, who coined the phrase in his book, Man Drought, based on the 2006 census results.
But is it true and, as some women argue, is it worse here in the Northern Rivers?
Bernard says the figures in his book about an undersupply of men, especially in coastal areas, still hold true. He says Ballina and Byron Bay are the worst hit if you are looking to find a mate aged between 30 and 40.
"There are 1500 more women than men aged 30 to 39 on the coast," he says.
"There is always an oversupply of single women in coastal towns.
"The reason why there is an oversupply of single women in coastal towns is that they like the lifestyle.
"They also tend to have transferable jobs like teaching or nursing or journalism whereas single men are in oversupply in country towns because that is where male jobs such as farming or mining are."
It's a grim picture if you take these statistics to heart.
But according to Grace Underwood, an Ocean Shores-based psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and workshop facilitator, much of the lack of men is in our minds.
"You only need one at a time," she says with a laugh.
One of Grace's most popular workshops is based on Katherine Woodward Thomas's successful book, Calling in the One and, just as the title describes, the course is designed to unblock the challenges to attract a partner.
"I hear it a lot it from women who attend my courses - that there are no men here, and I don't think it's true," Grace says.
"However, it takes a certain amount of willingness to look unflinchingly at the untrue stories we often tell ourselves and to give up simply wishing for love and to then make a genuine commitment to look at what's in the way of finding it."
ON HUNT FOR MEN
ACCORDING to the Australian Bureau of Statistics at June 2012, there were 102,300 more women females than men males in Australia, with 11.3 million males and 11.4 million females.
The sex ratio was 99.1 men to 100 women.
The sex ratios of the states and territories ranged from a low of 98 in Victoria to 110.7 in the Northern Territory.
Only in the Northern Territory and Western Australia (101.9) did males outnumber females.
However, with women outliving men significantly as we age, this skews the statistics at the older end.
The Northern Star is currently looking for the area's 12 most eligible bachelors.
Do you know a successful businessman, philanthropist, tradie, or farmer who might make our list?
Send your suggestions to weekender@northern star.com.au.
Virginia's five tips to attract men
- Say yes - a lot, say yes to functions, especially events where you will meet new people.
- Have a positive attitude and don't buy into negativity about male shortage - it only takes one man.
- If someone smiles at you, smile back.
- Join a club or go to sporting events you know men frequent.
- Don't be afraid to ask your friends to set you up with someone.
Grace Underwood: www.thealchemyoftheheart.com
Man Drought by Bernard Salt, published by Hardie Grant: www.bernardsalt.com.au