In our summer study group we were considering Barbara Dafoe Whitehead's Why There Are No Good Men Left. She looks at the rising age of marriage for college-educated men and women, and concludes that they are waiting so long after college to look for mates that their college connections get cold. As I often tell students, college is the best marriage market they will ever be in. I encourage them not to waste it.
The problem, as a recently graduated woman in the group noted, is that the men are not ready to get serious about marriage in college, even though most of the women are. Men usually start to get more serious a couple of years out of school, but this does the mature college women no good.
We came up with a wonderful idea: a Homecoming dance that would pair senior women with men a couple of years out of college. The guys would have spent those couple of years working and supporting themselves. They would know how to get up in the morning, clean and feed themselves, stick to a task, not destroy themselves on weekends, pay the bills, and start thinking a little about the future with a longer time horizon. And they would start to notice that living alone is kind of lonely. They would finally be as mature as the women were in college.
Thus, the Suits and Seniors Dance.
The women would benefit from more mature men. The men would benefit from smart women. They would still have the advantage of the college marriage market, without the disadvantage of all living within the college bubble. Real-world courtship could begin.
My wife immediately saw another consequence of regularly mixing the senior women with graduates: it would raise the bar for the senior men. Nothing gets a set of men to shape up faster than competition from another group of men for the attention of women. Besuited young men with serious intentions would be stiff competition, indeed, for scruffy college boys who still put off thinking about family until a vague tomorrow.
Shoot, just threatening to organize such a dance might get some of the college men off the dime.