Urban Australia is suffering from an unusual kind of drought. Single women in big cities are now heading to the countryside “in search of love” as the ratio of men to women is far more favourable there than in metropolitan areas.
It has reportedly become very difficult for women in their late 20s and early 30s to find an eligible man in cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Seeking to gain from this, a dating agency has started sending single women to the countryside on weekend tours, named “Thank Goodness He’s A Country Boy”.
The tour involves eight hours of intensive speed dating at a country pub, where lonely farmers are introduced to single city girls.
Brie Petersen came up with the idea after visiting friends in the rural town of Mungindi in Queensland.
During a night at the pub, the owner told her that he regularly received letters from single women in Brisbane and Sydney asking him to set them up with farmers.
“These women obviously needed help, it was simply a matter of putting the two groups in the same place,” Petersen said.
The first tour, which took 50 Sydney women to the town of Tamworth, has been a success, with an “85 percent pick up rate”, she said.
The tours are the “latest symptoms” of the chronic gender unbalance in metropolitan and rural areas, which has already led to a popular reality TV programme, “The Farmer Wants A Wife”, says the report.
The programme matches single women with farmers from far-flung areas, and after six series it has generated four marriages and three babies.
Bernard Salt, demographer and author of “Man Drought”, said: “The farmer does want a wife because there’s no single sheilas in the nearby towns.”
While women in the 1960s would marry a local man after finishing school, they now head off to the city in search of work, leaving the men behind, he said.
“As soon as that 18-year-old girl leaves, she upsets the gender balance in the town, because there are not enough marriageable women and she also upsets the gender balance in Sydney because there is an oversupply of women in the inner city suburbs.”
A 29-year-old Sydney woman, Bianca Wignall, one of Petersen’s clients, says it is a matter of quality, as well as quantity.
“Country men are more gentlemanly, they hold the door open for you and if they see you with an empty glass they will be the first to offer to get you a drink, they are more attentive.” (IANS)