Slate got a philosophy major named Mark Gimein to apply Game Theory to the problem of Women My Age And Older Who Can't Find Husbands. (What an unusual move, couching Tyra-grade subject matter in grandiose academic terminology!) I read it because I never really understood "game theory" and I still don't, but here's the takeaway: dating is like eBay, meaning it rewards freaks who know how to game the system and will Stop At Nothing to nail that pair of rare limited-edition vintage...uh... widgets, and people like me who find eBay profoundly frightening will die alone. Which is all fine, I have accepted as much. But wait! What the fuckery is this?
This is how you come to the Eligible-Bachelor Paradox, which is no longer so paradoxical. The pool of appealing men shrinks as many are married off and taken out of the game, leaving a disproportionate number of men who are notably imperfect (perhaps they are short, socially awkward, underemployed). And at the same time, you get a pool of women weighted toward the attractive, desirable "strong bidders." Where have all the most appealing men gone? Married young, most of them—and sometimes to women whose most salient characteristic was not their beauty, or passion, or intellect, but their decisiveness.
Evolutionary psychologists will remind us that there's a long line of writing about "female choosiness" going back to Darwin and the male peacocks competing to get noticed by "choosy" mates with their splendid plumage.
The Eligible Bachelor Paradox [Slate]