Lerer points to Exhibit A: his best-looking guy friend, who is 29 and “slaying it” in the dating world.“He can’t avoid getting laid when he goes out, but behind closed doors it’s a different story.
Mangst sets in, according to Lerer, when all their other male friends get married.“It’s not just then that they don’t have a girlfriend, they don’t have any guys. Being single when your friends are single is amazing, but it’s no fun to go out alone.”“Men when they are 28 or 30, in that pre-adulthood stage, have less consciousness that their life is in a temporary arrangement,” said Kay Hymowitz, author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys.But it’s not only about losing all their bros to matrimony and having no one to hit the bars with on Saturday night; marriage and parenthood, despite clichés of the commitment-phobic bachelor, are important life goals for men, particularly once they reach their mid-thirties.“In your twenties, you think you are just going to live forever,” said 35-year-old Jonathan Yevin, owner of the Brooklyn-based landscape company M. Call it ‘mangst” or “manxiety.” Either one describes the bouts of anxiety single guys in their thirties feel about their marital status. “But then you get to a point where you see an old dad and you think, ‘I’m going to be that guy.’ That’s what a lot of my angst stems from,” said Yevin, who is not married but has a girlfriend.
Like its feminine counterpart, manxiety stems, in large part, from doing life math.It sounds like this: “If I met the girl today, I’d be 45 when my son or daughter goes to kindergarten.” Now, as it turns out, men are fretting about their closing window to meet someone and have kids.Circa 2014, there are an unprecedented number of single, educated men in their thirties—the medium age for a first marriage is as high as 32 in the District of Columbia, trailed by 30 in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, according to census data.And some of them are finding that being single at 34 is not as much as fun as it was at 27, bringing about an existential crisis that, in many ways, mirrors the fears that have been exhaustively chronicled about single women in legions of books and television shows.Men, too, are concerned about the lack of options as they get older, falling behind their peer group and, now, their biological clock, brought on by a rash of new research and attention to the health risks of older fatherhood.“I see the vast majority of my single guy friends wishing they weren’t,” said Ben Lerer, 32, founder of Thrillist Media Group, an e-commerce site focused on young men.“I think it’s just as acute as the female angst about being single,” he said.