Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why celebs marry young

Slate has an interesting article up, entitled "The Economic Logic of Marrying Young (If You're Miley Cyrus)". While most Americans, as with most everywhere else, choose to get married later and later, pop stars seem to defy that trend.
Once upon a time, men with high school degrees could obtain manufacturing jobs with solid wages and pensions that enabled them to marry and start families in their early 20s. Now, with the chances of nabbing a pension about as good as “winning the World Series,” as the Knot Yet study puts it, young blue-collar Americans can’t pay for a wedding, let alone a house and kids. But pop stars, of course, don’t have that problem. Nor do they, like middle- and upper-class women, need to worry about finishing college and working for several years before contemplating getting pregnant. They won’t be sacrificing a $10,000 annual bump in salary by marrying too soon; instead, they’re probably making more in their late teens and 20s than they’ll ever make again. And getting married might well help their brand. (Having a baby certainly will.) In other words, celebrities marry young not because they’re more mature than the rest of us (clearly) but because they have the means so much of America lacks. The move may be driven by youthful impulse, but it is also, in a strange way, logical. They’re just doing what so many of us would have (ill-advisedly) done as teenagers if we’d had loads of cash and legal independence from our parents: married our first loves.
I think that's partly true. But another reason is at least equally important, which I have observed in my time working with professional footballers, who also tend to marry young. A celebrity, particularly one seen as particularly attractive, gets to pick from the top of the dating tree. Someone in that position gets many more opportunities than the average person to hook up with someone, AND the perceived quality of those they are hooking up is higher. I say perceived quality, because celebrities get to date other celebrities, wealthy businesspeople, and people with model looks, which are societally-approved as high-calibre partner choices, even though those things are hardly guarantees of compatibility or nice personality. So if you are in the public eye and deemed to be attractive, you can have more access at age 22 to hot potential partners than the rest of us would have had by age 35. It's not surprising then if you decide that you have met the love of your life at 22. 

Of course, fast forward a few years, and you are still in the public eye and still married... those attractive potential partners are still around you. So it's no surprise that a lot of celebrity cheating and divorce goes on as well. It's not that celebrities are any worse than the rest of us at having relationships, it's just that they are presented with far more opportunities to screw them up.

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