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According to college women : Seventy Percent of men are not marriage material ?

Posted by intellisg on July 1, 2007

This article by Christopher Ng celebrates his last day as a bachelor. He ties the knot with his long suffering girlfriend on July 1st 2007.

This is a very naughty article. The author did not get a bachelor party.

This lady friend I know is a Ph.d Candidate in the NUS electrical engineering department. I love to tease her (in a way an older brother would.) about dating all the men in her life. Normally I would choose the shortest and ugliest guy in the public speaking group I’m in and then ask her,” So what do you think of this one? ” What would then follow would be a round of protests.” Too short!”, she would say, or “ Listen to way he talk I know he cannot make it! ”

Initially, during the bad old days when I had to hunt for a mate as a lowly paid IT engineer, I would think that Singaporean women are at fault because of high expectations. After all, after quite a few bad experiences and heartbreak, I quit the Singaporean graduate woman market completely and at the time of writing I should already be married to Malaysian girl.

But recently after reading a book on Evolutionary Psychology, I realized that I was wrong. Some things are simply not subject to negotiation. It’s not about Singaporean women, it’s about our ancestral roots and how as a species we adapt to hostile natural environment of the prehistoric age.

The field of evolutionary psychology is a multifaceted one which touches on almost all aspects of human existence. Many behaviors come about not because of social conditioning but due to our minds adapting to the harsh living environments in the past. As such, we’re prehistoric Neanderthals when we subconsciously make decisions about how to live in spite of the amount of progress we have made as human beings.

Based on the findings of evolutionary psychology, women engage in long term mating strategies which would maximise their chances of producing children. As such, all psychological studies point to the fact that women value economic resources, financial prospects and high social status as primary traits that they see in a guy.

In a 1990 article in the Journal of Personality, Kenrick, Sdalla and Groth did an extensive study on the minimum acceptable earning capacity American college women desire in a guy. The original intention was to compare gender differences in the emphasis on income and economic power. The results were as follows:

American college women will date a man if he earns above the 45% percentile in a population.

American college women will have sexual relations with a man who earns above 48% percentile.

American college women will have a steady relationship with a man who earns above the 60% percentile.

American college women will marry a man who earns above 70% percentile.

Let’s make an interesting postulate that Singaporean lady university graduates have the same preferences as American college women.

We can make estimates on how much a Singaporean man will need to bring home the bacon to make good marriage material for our highly intelligent and capable women graduates.

Let us begin by supposing that the man would normally contribute 75% of the household income and derive their desired salaries from household income figures in 2003:

To be dating material, a man’s got to earn at least $2,025 per month.

Sexual relationships, a man’s got to earn about $2,530 per month.

Going steady would require about $3,225 per month of income

Only men who make more than $4,000 per month will make the grade to qualify for marriage material.

Granted, there are many flaws with this rough estimate, for one thing, higher income households may see the financial contribution of the husband being reduced to 50-60%. The other factor is that while financial resources and earning capacity are the most commonly sought after traits, women also want men to be kind, athletic, have symmetric facial features and have an affinity for children.

These series of scientific findings may also explain Singaporean men’s desire to have foreign spouses, especially those of Chinese or Vietnamese origin. On the day I collected my marriage certificate, my wife remarked that ROM was packed with couples with many wives to be of PRC origin. Perhaps it is easier to benchmark a Singaporean man’s income against a Vietnamese or Chinese scale with our high GDP per capita figures.

On the flip side, critics of the Pinkerton syndrome will have to accept that women who go for foreign Caucasian men are not being biased against the boys back home but subconsciously attracted to them based on higher expatriate income salaries. Yes, picnics with Chardonnay at Labrador Park are a good idea but nothing beats the ability to show your paramour that you can build a stable nest for your children in the future.

So what can the Singaporean bachelor do?

The important takeaway for men is that if you do not subscribe to self-improvement and make success a primary motivation in your lives, your ability to procreate may well be at stake.

Of course, there are things which are within your control and those which are out of your control. Case in point, there is very little you can do about your asymmetrical features unless you wish to go under the knife. You can work out to improve your appearance and health but there are many IPPT gold medals out there in this country. There is also the option of working harder and putting more effort into your career. But in a place like Singapore where we are already one of the hardest working folks in the world, this strategy may not bode well for your health.

Your financial independence and accumulation of economic resources is one of the easier traits that you can control with some modest effort.

This is where investing for dividends come in again. Owning a portfolio of dividend stocks can do wonders for your level of economic resources and regular income. It is independent of your performance at work and if you start early, you will reach a comfortable level of income which will not be an impediment to finding the mate of your dreams. There is also no need to show-off and lead extravagant lives (that is a valid short-term mating strategy for men). Given time, the confidence you gain from taming the markets will shine through when you engage the women around you.

Of course, you can come to the same conclusion as 25% men in this country. You can just give up and seek spouses from outside the country.

Now wouldn’t that be a rude thing to do?

Christopher Ng Wai Chung, 32, is an IT Project manager who dabbles in personal finance and wealth management. His books, Growing your tree of Prosperity and Harvesting the Fruits of Prosperity, meld his philosophical ideals with the realities of seeking financial independence in Singapore. His books can now be found in all major bookstores in Singapore.

His own blog can be found in He can be reached at

25 Responses to “According to college women : Seventy Percent of men are not marriage material ?”

  1. […] The Intelligent Singaporean In a 1990 article in the Journal of Personality, Kenrick, Sdalla and Groth did an extensive study […]

  2. Ong Kai Jie said

    Nice read. But not all women think the same yeah? Some may want simple lives. =P

  3. scb said

    In a materialistic society, the womanfolks just have to be practical, no love can survive on air alone!

  4. gssq said

    “Singaporean men marry foreign women because they are losers.”
    “Singaporean women marry foreign men because Singaporean men are losers.”

  5. gk said

    Men, its simple! Take your time, the girls get older and if they want a family, sooner or later they’ll have to settle ! Men can still father kids late in life…

    ..and for crying out loud, who says you must be truthful about your income. Deceit and posturing is part of natures game. Who can be the shinnier, bigger more impressive peacock ?

    cool study, title could have read: SG college women now on par with US women’s commercial expectations of their spouse. SG number 1 !

  6. Someone said

    I see that you have read “The Selfish Gene”.

  7. stompchaser said

    Totally agree with Gk. If women can pad their bra, you can pad your earnings.

  8. Disgusted said

    MCP post from a man lacking of self-opinion. You think too lowly of sg gals and too highly of yourself.

  9. shoestring said

    Pity the people who go around looking for a lifetime companion based on the $$$. They have reduced themselves to commodities to be bought and sold.

  10. Its a plot to bring in more foreign talents to Singapore. The more unmarried males, the more they will get foreign wives (most likely of asian background). I term this as “Duty Free Love”. This would allow them to bring their family into Singapore, increasing cheap labour supply and people to take the public transportation system.

  11. Urbanrant said

    It is interesting to note that it takes a higher pay to have sexual relations than to go steady. I am not sure of the reasons for that but it says so much of our culture.

    Sexual relationships, a man’s got to earn about $2,530 per month.

    Going steady would require about $3,225 per month of income

  12. Paul said

    Lol… fun read.. Lol…

    1. Think most comments are made by gals. And I agree with most of their comments for bashing Christopher. 😛 He deserved it!

    2. I guess Christopher is probably not married or unwanted materials. Or in the words of gssq – A LOSER! Lol… (we are in the mood for online bullying right? :P)

    3. Personally, I think SG gals are smarter/more capable/etc/etc than most SG guys. Never really enjoy working with guys… too much EGOS getting in the way of getting things done.

    4. And GUYS really should stop find excuses for not making/bringing home enough $$$. Let’s put it in the most basic form.

    No $$$ = No honey. (Nobody taught u tat in school?)

    But to get a wife you really need..

    $$$ + love/respect/listen

    And I dun think this apply to SG gals alone, this is very much an international dating rule. 😛 (Notice sex is not in pic here…. Lol.. – we are singaporean, we dun do much sex. Lol..)

    5. Finally, I am just glad I am marriage material. Lol… 😛 (Ops… I’m married. Who cares! Lol…)

  13. Agagooga said

    I believe there is a typo. Is this the article you refer to?

    Kenrick, D. T.; Sadalla, E. K.; Groth, G.; and Trost, M. R. (1990). “Evolution, Traits, and the Stages of Human Courtship: Qualifying the Parental Investment Model.” Journal of Personality 58:97–117.

  14. Wolfpack said

    U.S. women are the scum of the planet. They are better off being exterminated.
    First of all 95 percent of U.S. women are obese fat whales. Even in many U.S.universities the girls are disgusting to look at.

    The hottest girls in the world that are worth marrying are from Eastern Europe such as Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Ukraine. Latin American girls are also good esp if they are from Brazil, Aregentina, and Columbia.

  15. shoestring said

    Do not judge a book by its cover. They say only shallow Hals do.

  16. All,

    I will address the points raised pretty soon as I’m back from Tokyo !



    Sorry if I made you feel inadequate in any way. 😉


  17. Christopher Ng said

    Now that I am back in Singapore, it’s time to examine most of the points mentioned.

    For a start, I drew my material from a textbook by David Buss called “Evolutionary Psychology”. I did not read the Selfish Gene but was very much entertained by another book called Mean genes. My decision to get into evolutionary psychology came from my interest in Ken Wilber (of the Theory of everything fame) who wrote a cryptic statement about evolutionary psychology taking over postmodernism in the realm of ideas.

    The folks who left comments on this thread ignored the fundamental assumption of my article which was the assumption that the numbers hold only if Singapore graduate women have the same characteristics as American college women. That would require some work by social scientists and it’s entirely possible that this assumption might not hold in Singapore.

    Other very sharp readers also commented that its easier to get some women in the sack that to have a steady relationship with them. I have to remind readers that the study was done on Americans which have very different values from Asian women, so there is a possibility that the figures will not hold in practice in Singapore.

    I’m actually very intrigued by the critics who were very emotional after reading this article. Are they single women who are unhappy with some of the revelations of evolutionary psychology, or men who do not meet the income requirements ?

  18. brisance said

    What a worthless study! Of course there is a strong correlation between income and preference for a partner! Hell even a straight guy would turn gay if the price is right!

  19. Christopher Ng said


    Any personal examples that you can share with us ?


  20. hg said

    What are retarded article. Why is it always about Singaporean men being told to “shape up” rather than these anti-asian Singaporean females being told to “make yourselves more attractive to Singaporean men”?

    And I don’t mean wearing less clothes or high heels but more attractive in terms of personality?

    *critics of the Pinkerton syndrome will have to accept that women who go for foreign Caucasian men are not being biased against the boys back home but subconsciously attracted to them based on higher expatriate income salaries. Yes, picnics with Chardonnay at Labrador Park are a good idea but nothing beats the ability to show your paramour that you can build a stable nest for your children in the future.*

    Right, so if a Singaporean female sees another white boy who can provide a a MORE “stable nest” than the current white boy she is with, does that mean it’s ok for her to dump him? And why do women ALWAYS use “children” as an excuse for their own prejudice in choosing men?


  21. sean said

    who the hell wants to be marriage material??? i spend my money on myself! wake up fella`s . NOMARRIAGE.COM!

  22. Sarah said

    Maybe a bit late to jump into the discussion here, but I just wanted to add my thoughts.

    I would consider myself fairly well educated, reasonably articulate individual who earns approximately double the salary of the average marriageable man, based on your definition. I reckon I would be hard pressed to find someone within my pay bracket, if that were what I am looking out for.

    I think that if we were to set aside traditional chauvanistic values regarding men having to bring home the bacon etc, what women desire (I believe) is an intellectual and emotional connection, and the income aspect should theoretically not matter so much.

    Test this out by asking your average fairly well educated Singaporean woman if she would be content to marry a rich, uneducated loanshark ah beng. Chances are, if she were anything like me, the answer is a resounding no.

    One other thing that I would like to add regarding the purported high expectations of Singaporean women, is that our asian values demand that we “marry up”, where “up” is defined by success in career, wealth etc, this gives women here who embrace the traditional values very little options, because she will have difficulty respecting the man who lacks financial and material success.

  23. sleepless in singapore said

    Just to add a quick one. I also consider myself fairly well off compared with what is out there in the marriageable market. Furthermore I am not of those who feels the need to make polite excuses for not having any kids or why I am not setting up home yet.

    While a large part of it has to do with compatibility and Money certainly, but another unspoken aspect which I believe is more important is chemistry. I doesn’t have to be flashy, but it must come off honest and authentic. For example if you take 10:39 pm anyone doing the samething would probably get brick bats. Here he comes across as such a lame liar, but he pulls through, why?

    You see that is not so easy to answer. Why can some people get away with it all the time? While others only seem to get one bite at the cherry and no more?

  24. lyn said

    I’ve met many nice Singaporean guys, but when comes to starting a relationship, they are not very proactive to express their feelings/interest to someone they like, and they tend to hold back, or is passive and cautious – somehow this makes them look elusive – Speaking from a perspective of a Singaporean, I am sure most singaporean women would prefer to marry local men but most of the time, they are left wondering if singaporean men prefer more choices (statistics show that the population of local women far exceeds local men in Singapore), or too choosy or even ready for a relationship.

  25. lyn said

    Further to my earlier comment, I would like to add one example. I have dated 3 local guys whom I met through some social network and outings – as they invited me for a date, so I consider such outing a date. I never heard from them anymore after one or two dates. One of them initiated to have sex before he could consider to enter a relationship. In fact I even sms and call them to keep in touch but they never initiate another outing (the reasons I heard were that they were busy, etc). I guess I may seem to be quiet and reserved, and can be a little nervous in socialising. But I could hold a good conversation whenever I can. I believe there are alot of Singaporean women like myself who do not demand much from a guy and would find time for him – I have a career, but this does not mean I will be career-minded. This year, an American man passionately date and contact me – as he sounds sincere with a lot of initiative, I decided to give him a chance. The point of me making this post is: I don’t think Singaporean women would demand alot and they can be very sincere in relationships if they are given a chance to be part of a men’s life. Or perhaps, I myself is not very fortunate to be able to marry a Singaporean man, I am 34 this year 😦

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