In homage to the man, Roissy, who styles himself as the Dark Lord, I present my own maxims. These aren't presented in weighted order. That is, they're presented as they occur to me, not in order of importance.
Augustine's Maxim #1. The presence of those who should be married and off the market has a distorting effect on the Sexual Market Place.
First, let me say that I hate referring to the Sexual Market Place as a Sexual Market Place because human beings are not commodities and humans are not for sale. That said, I get how the same impersonal forces (i.e., supply, demand, risk, reward, scarcity, premium, etc.) are often at work and so referring to it as the SMP makes a convenient shorthand.
Update: Reformed Tomboy asks in the comment (thanks, RT), what I meant by "should be married." Put aside the word "should" for a moment, which implies a judgment. I'm interested in examining this objectively.
What I mean is, imagine some of the cumulative effects of delayed marriage on society as a whole, and on how individuals experience it, and how that's changed since our grandparents' times.
Imagine a man and a woman graduate college in 2000 at 22 and start their lives in an urban/suburban environment. In our grandparents' era, a couple of 22 year olds getting married would be pretty unremarkable, if not the norm. But these two don't get married, not to each other or to anyone else. Ten years later in 2010, they're each still looking, perhaps for a soul mate, or perhaps for just a better deal.
Now, imagine another man and woman graduating college in 2010 at 22 and starting their lives in the same urban/suburban environment. The idea of two 22 year olds getting married in 2010 seems even more remote than it did in 2000.
So now these four, and thousands of others who would, in another time, have been married and off the market, are all looking for love and marriage in the same environment. How do they experience this search? Well, men seek what they seek, and women seek what they seek. Do we even need to review these generalities? In short, men are attracted to beauty and youth, and women are attracted to tall, confident, dominant men.
So the 22 year old woman (other qualities being equal), is in a relatively stronger position than the 32 year old woman. As the population of unmarried women increases, those on the younger end of the spectrum have a relatively higher rank.
But the 22 year old man has the opposite problem. The typical 22 year old man is not as accomplished or experienced as the 32 year old man, and therefore doesn't have the confidence or the resources that the 32 year old man has acquired.
So as men pursue the male agenda, and as women pursue the female agenda, and the population of unmarried people seeking love and marriage grows and grows, the illusion of infinite choice arises. The girls graduate from college, move to the city, and are pleased at how many men are out there, at least compared to where they came from. The men in the city begin to look forward to graduation, when new graduates arrive every year.
Corollary to Maxim #1: And so the average man pays the price on the front end, and the average woman pays the price on the back end.