Skip The Soul Mate, Find A Trophy Husband

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Since creation, man has been an entity unto himself and woman has been his counterpart. First, God made man; then he made him a girlfriend. Men are the protagonists of our children's stories, the majority of our doctors, generals and CEO's, the president, Jesus, God, Allah and Buddha. All "men" are created equal. To deny that man is the dominant gender is to deny our vernacular, religion, culture and art.

It's no surprise, then, that men traditionally perceive themselves as fully functioning individuals with or without a partner. Men want and seek long-term companionship, but these relationships aren't necessary to their sense of self. They have learned to feel complete regardless of whether they are sharing their lives with someone. In fact, the more successful the guy, the more it seems he pairs off with a woman who is no more than a pretty face: a trophy wife.  

Women, on the other hand, have historically learned to feel incomplete without a man. We've seen companionship as essential to our sense of self, in some instances, above and beyond our own happiness. The cultural messages around us still reinforce that, regardless of whatever else we accomplish, our primary purpose is to find a mate.

However, marriage patterns are changing. A recent Pew study revealed that from 1970-2007 a larger share of wives surpassed their husbands' income and education levels. The study elicited a slew of articles about how men now benefit more from marriage than women, and how women are "victims" (The New York Times' choice of words) of this role reversal.

According to a Times article entitled "More Men Marrying Wealthy Women," successful women like Dr. Rajalla Prewitt, a 38-year-old psychiatrist in New Jersey, are "having difficulty finding someone where there's a meeting of the minds, where [they] can have the same goals and values." How To Fall In Love With Mr. Good Enough

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But what if the very notion of marriage as "a meeting of minds" is problematic? Perhaps Dr. Prewitt's life is rich enough without a soul mate. Men who are similarly accomplished will often settle for a wife who is attractive and pleasant, but not an intellectual match. A man doesn't need a partner to validate him, so it doesn't matter if her brains don't measure up to his. Maybe that's why Donald Trump keeps marrying models. He has his ambitions, his social network, golf...he doesn't need much else. Women want their partner to have it all. If Dr. Prewitt were to look for a less significant significant other, might her dating pool widen?

Women might be more amenable to the trophy spouse notion than they even realize. Recent research shows that women value different qualities in men than they think they do. A 2008 Northwestern University study revealed that, although women believed that they chose partners for their earning power, they actually prioritized physical attractiveness over money and ambition. Women are hard-wired to seek out a trophy husband, it seems, though our modern cultural sensibility would have us looking for an entirely different (and perhaps more unrealistic) partner.   

Some Type-A women have already discovered the benefits of a trophy partner. Take Cindy Gallop, the internet entrepreneur who famously spoke at the TED Conference about the joys of recreational sex with younger men. She's 50, living in a beautifully decorated apartment in New York City and zigzagging around the globe to further the socially conscious startups about which she is passionate. Look at Demi Moore. Look at Madonna. These are women whose lives are so full they don't have room for equals. They require trophy husbands (or boyfriends) as much as a guy like Trump requires a trophy wife. Work Vs Love: A Man's Case For Putting Work First

The New York Times article concluded: "Ms. Zielinski, the fashion stylist, said her best friend, a man, told her once: 'You are confident, have good credit, own your own business, travel around the world and are self-sufficient. What man is going to want you?' He laughed, but I found that pretty depressing."

What man is going to want her? One who doesn't own his own business, isn't self-sufficient, has no demanding job (possibly no job at all) and would happily gallivant around the world with her. The man who is going to want her is a trophy husband. And, considering that her life is already more complete than she realizes, he might be her ideal match.