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Why I'm Alone
March 28, 2009 1:31 PM   Subscribe

Why I'm Alone: "People ask me why I'm still alone, and why I don't seek to date much, eight years after my husband died. I thought about it the other day, and came up with a few of the reasons."
posted by Brandon Blatcher (195 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Older and wiser.
posted by Xoebe at 1:41 PM on March 28, 2009


You know, I'm very sympathetic to this premise, and I don't by any means think solitary life is the weird aberration it's often portrayed as being. But this article just makes it sound unbelievably depressing. It reads like she's constantly watching the clock, waiting to die.
posted by nasreddin at 1:42 PM on March 28, 2009 [16 favorites]


Wow. There's a metric but-load of clichés and stereotypes of men buried in that post. One shudders to think of the stormclouds that would gather had that been an equally stereotype-laden post about why a man doesn't date women anymore.

Earth to Lea...men and women are different.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:43 PM on March 28, 2009 [21 favorites]


Spinsterzone!
posted by Krrrlson at 1:47 PM on March 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm all for a little solitude, I think 90% of the population really needs to learn how to cope with being alone. But if one of your reasons is Huffington Post, well...
posted by Roman Graves at 1:51 PM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


... I appreciate solitude.

As much as I enjoy solitude, I wouldn't mind, perhaps, spending little time with you.

Or, I enjoy solitude, but I have my iPhone, my blogging, and my URL, and I chose this, so I'm OK. Thanks for asking. Ask again, and I'll blog again.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:53 PM on March 28, 2009


But this article just makes it sound unbelievably depressing

Really? I thought it boiled down to: I happy with who and where I am and I don't want to change because I'm having fun.

There's a metric but-load of clichés and stereotypes of men buried in that post.

Perhaps, but speaking as a guy, so what? She's had her experiences and come to conclusions and so be it. Note that she's open to a relationship and if it happens, great, but in the meantime she's enjoying herself.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:54 PM on March 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


#34 - I have made a killer lifestyle business out of being single. It is called sololady.com, if you didn't see it linked above. That's s-o-l-o, as in Han. Why yes, I am looking for search engine optimization, how very kind of you to offer.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:55 PM on March 28, 2009 [25 favorites]


I take a contention with the concern over age. I have met a number of women that are absolutely timeless. It is not a big picture of brains, physical appearance, age, finances (please do not disgust me with finances as an attractor), job or anything else so easily quantified. Good people are out there; and eating out is overated compared to a pleasant evening in ones own abode with that special partner.

She seems to be defining her loss of mate as if it is a personal failure that she has to defend. It did read nicely overall (huffington post = assumed level of reading); and was a good defense of not having a partner/spouse. She seems happy so good for her.
posted by new and improved buzzman IV at 1:55 PM on March 28, 2009


Note that she's open to a relationship and if it happens, great, but in the meantime she's enjoying herself.

But, she doesn't seem open to it. She runs a web community dedicated to being solo and writes articles for HuffPo on being solo. I'm struggling to recall the details of a recent-ish Metafilter post, from Salon I think, also about being a single not-twentysomething woman, that pointed to the same problem: any given lifestyle choice may be totally fine and excellent, but making it your identity and writing articles about it seems to be making too much of an investment in it, like changing your mind and deciding to be in a relationship would somehow be to admit defeat.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:01 PM on March 28, 2009 [17 favorites]


I'm with you lady. Some people are quite happy to be by themselves. Personally I would have no problem if my girl wanted to get up at 3AM and watch a movie, so long as I was allowed to watch too, and it was the proper aspect ratio, and surround speakers, and we can make some snacks.. wait you want to watch what!? BITCH!
posted by autodidact at 2:04 PM on March 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have found it a lot easier to live alone in my fifties than other decades of my adult life. I think the author of this piece finally got it right with the last three items:

... I choose to be.

... I'm able to be.

I'm alone but not lonely, but I'm still open to options, and do understand the beauty and wonder -- and blessing -- of a good relationship.


All of the time from when I was 23 until 50, I had a constant SO. Being totally independent the past six years has frankly been a significant stress reliever. Similarly, I don't need the 2nd income that a SO provides to maintain my lifestyle. I have had both good and horrid relationships in the past. If the opportunity for another positive coupling presents itself, I won't turn away, but for now I revel in contentedness and serenity.
posted by netbros at 2:07 PM on March 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


game warden - yeah reading this was setting off reminder bells, of a semi-recent metafilter post along the same lines. If you or someone else finds it I'd be interested to compare the two.
posted by mannequito at 2:11 PM on March 28, 2009


Besides family members, who are these mystery people that force one to defend one's singlehood? These kind of things always sound a little shrill and insecure. "I'M OKAY BEING ALONE!!!!" Yeah? Who said you weren't?
posted by desjardins at 2:11 PM on March 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


She owns an excellent talking vibrator.
posted by homodigitalis at 2:17 PM on March 28, 2009


But this article just makes it sound unbelievably depressing
Really? I thought it boiled down to: I happy with who and where I am and I don't want to change because I'm having fun.
Eh, I don't know about that. Maybe it would seem that way if she didn't lead off with "I'm past my shelf date".

But in light of the fact that she did, plus occasional others along the same lines, things like "I appreciate solitude" and "I can scratch my own itches" and "yay Huffington Post" just come off as her trying to convince herself.
posted by Flunkie at 2:19 PM on March 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


There's a metric but-load of clichés and stereotypes of men buried in that post.
True. It's not that there's something wrong with this, it's that the definitive clichés on this topic were written by Oscar Wilde more than 100 years ago:
"You will never marry again, Lady Narborough," broke in Lord Henry. "You were far too happy. When a woman marries again, it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs."
(no offense to those widows out in MeFi land who remarried or widowers who remained single)
posted by deanc at 2:20 PM on March 28, 2009 [12 favorites]


... I 'm now used to getting up when I want and drinking from the juice bottles and not shaving my legs and leaving dishes from the night before on my bed and getting up at 3am and seeing a movie and going back to bed at 5am and not hearing a word of scorn, and not that many people can deal with that kind of thing.

Well, looking at that website it does look like she's created a massive social network and side venture for herself, and the comment about unstructured nights hints at a leisure-class lifestyle. I'm not so sure that this is running away from a live-in relationship so much as it is replacing it with a highly active online social existence and a comfortable life. To me that kind of casts things in a different light. I'm happy for her but I wonder what her social/love needs would be in the pre-Internet, pre-iPhone era. Maybe technology is blurring some of the boundaries.
posted by crapmatic at 2:22 PM on March 28, 2009


Ah, here's that earlier thread. It's about not having sex, rather than being single.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:22 PM on March 28, 2009


... I appreciate solitude.

Don't make no difference what nobody says
Ain't nobody like to be alone
Everybody's got a hungry heart...
posted by jonmc at 2:24 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


But, she doesn't seem open to it. She runs a web community dedicated to being solo and writes articles for HuffPo on being solo.

Maybe 'cause she's living solo? Might as well make the best of it.

Ah, here's that earlier thread.

Seems familiar.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:25 PM on March 28, 2009


Sex is the lubricant that smoothes over the constant frictions and irritations of a new relationship. Once the libido dies down and/or the relationship gets past the two year mark, we all start realizing we're making sacrifices on a daily basis to make things work out. Hopefully we all appreciate that those we are with are making equal sacrifices or weightier ones, and hopefully we all appreciate the good parts more than the fleeting irritations. If I were a widower now I'd jump back in the dating treadmill (after a few years), but if I were a widower twenty years from now, it would take a one in 10 million woman to make me want a new relationship... and I'm not a one in 10 million man.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:28 PM on March 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


Symptom Recital

I do not like my state of mind;
I'm bitter, querulous, unkind.
I hate my legs, I hate my hands,
I do not yearn for lovelier lands.
I dread the dawn's recurrent light;
I hate to go to bed at night.
I snoot at simple, earnest folk.
I cannot take the gentlest joke.
I find no peace in paint or type.
My world is but a lot of tripe.
I'm disillusioned, empty-breasted.
For what I think, I'd be arrested.
I am not sick, I am not well.
My quondam dreams are shot to hell.
My soul is crushed, my spirit sore;
I do not like me any more.
I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse.
I ponder on the narrow house.
I shudder at the thought of men....
I'm due to fall in love again.

Dorothy Parker
posted by sexyrobot at 2:32 PM on March 28, 2009 [41 favorites]


jonmc: "Everybody's got a hungry heart..."

Is he ever wrong?
posted by Roman Graves at 2:34 PM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I remember my college LGBT group once had a guest speaker come in to discuss what it's like to live life as an HIV-positive person. For the most part I liked her speech, and it brought a lot of kids face-to-face with something they hadn't seen before. But then one audience member asked what her sexual orientation was, and she said she was a lesbian because she had "given up on men."

I thought this was pretty stupid -- I mean, if you're only a lesbian because there are no good men out there, doesn't it follow that all you need is a good man to "turn you back?" People aren't gay because of a lack of viable dating options -- they're gay because they're attracted, physically and emotionally, to members of their own gender -- right? (If I'm wrong here, gay mefites should school me, and if so, I'll have to rethink a lot of things.)

The same seems to hold true with this woman. Many of the reasons she cites for being single are great, though the ones that specifically involve men seem to fall into the "men are just way too much trouble because they're masculine and smelly and have sexist expectations" category. Without meaning to, she's painting a picture of herself as a very insecure person who would drop her whole persona if a good man came along to take care of her.

Being an independent person who powerfully identifies as single is great. Being a strong woman who doesn't need romantic entanglements is great. This woman comes off as neither of these. She comes off just as scared and needy as the rest of us, and her facade isn't very good.

Oh, and yeah, the whole thing reeks of bad SEO too.
posted by hifiparasol at 2:35 PM on March 28, 2009 [11 favorites]


"... I don't want my heart broken again. Ever."

I found that the most interesting item on the list.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:36 PM on March 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


You know, I've lived alone for over twenty years and the only regret I have is that no one decided to pay me to write that narcissistic, self-pitying, who-cares piece of crap.

Now leave me alone.
posted by trip and a half at 2:39 PM on March 28, 2009 [24 favorites]


I found this incredibly depressing. Actually, I thought this was loneliness being masked by smugness. Which is even more depressing.
posted by meerkatty at 2:42 PM on March 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Is he ever wrong?

No.
posted by jonmc at 2:43 PM on March 28, 2009


Half of her reasons indicate that she doesn't have enough to offer to get what she really wants (e.g. "unlike men, when a woman reaches a certain age, no matter the packaging, she seems to pass her shelf date."). The other half are just transparent sour grapes. (e.g. "I appreciate solitude.")

That's sad and all, but thoroughly uninteresting. The Internet is full of sexually frustrated whining, I don't see what is particularly special about this particular whine.
posted by dgaicun at 2:43 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or see my comment in the last identical spinster whining thread posted by... Brandon Blatcher.

Brandon, why do you keep posting these dumb, cookie-cutter, self-pitying essays??
posted by dgaicun at 2:48 PM on March 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


Any thoughts I had about the post itself flew out of my mind when I read the following comment:

"You said it! Many of the reasons you list are why I am looking forward to my widowhood."
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 2:50 PM on March 28, 2009 [10 favorites]


Good to know the fact that she has an iPhone is apparently a significant contributor.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 2:51 PM on March 28, 2009


Why I'm alone - Male Version


... women: nagging, emotional.

... not ready for a commitment.

... restraining order.
posted by logicpunk at 3:02 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want to be cynical.

Okay.
posted by Dumsnill at 3:20 PM on March 28, 2009


it would take a one in 10 million woman to make me want a new relationship... and I'm not a one in 10 million man.
I get what you're saying -- I even agree -- but you MUST remember that she must only seem one in 10 million to you.

This helps the odds a lot.
posted by krilli at 3:20 PM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know, I've lived alone for over twenty years and the only regret I have is that no one decided to pay me to write that narcissistic, self-pitying, who-cares piece of crap.

Now leave me alone.


No one paid her either-- Huffpo doesn't pay bloggers. Which is why most people who blog there use it to promote their paying work these if they are smart.
posted by Maias at 3:29 PM on March 28, 2009


... my adorable granddaughters provide the passion, and I long for them like I used to long for a lover.

OK, you're just fucking crazy.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:30 PM on March 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


You MUST remember that she must only seem one in 10 million to you.

Aww. Or: there was a pattern to those six hundred Earth women he slept with.
posted by kid ichorous at 3:34 PM on March 28, 2009


I don't think the article is sad or depressing or smug. I'm young and recently married, but I could easily see myself as her at that age if suddenly my husband was out of the picture. I've always enjoyed my solitude, and I have a theory that some people really have no idea of what it feels like to enjoy being alone. Kind of like the type of people who get really really anxious with silence.

also:

Many of the reasons she cites for being single are great, though the ones that specifically involve men seem to fall into the "men are just way too much trouble because they're masculine and smelly and have sexist expectations" category.

I don't know what's her exact age, and I'm completly guessing here, but I bet a LOT of the women her age, both in a relationship or not, think this about men.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 3:40 PM on March 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


... I have an iPhone that I can play with anywhere I go to keep me company and I can always share experiences with someone.

There is literally no difference between a older woman saying this and a 20 year-old man saying "I don't need anyone because I have World of Warcraft and it's a social game." Pull it fucking together, folks: technology should enhance our sociability, not replace it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:45 PM on March 28, 2009 [14 favorites]


The thing I most relate to here is the "qualifications beyond 'mammal'" part. Seriously, attempting to hook up two friends is not the same as trying to match up a pair of captive pandas.

Anyway, Bruce is obviously right, but your heart doesn't get any less hungry with the wrong person. Your junk might, though. I guess there's something to be said for that, but that's not a relationship, that's having a fuck buddy. (And someone who hooks you up with a fuck buddy...all the perks, none of the work? B.F.F.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:47 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


it's humiliating to be turned down by someone I have no interest in when ten years ago I wouldn't have been turned down by that person

Ouch, what goes around comes around.
posted by digsrus at 3:48 PM on March 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


I'm married with three children, and I bet I appreciate solitude as much as her. No, seriously, I love my wife, we've got a great relationship that we entered with eyes wide open and a set of rules by which we would abide in order to not hurt one another emotionally. It is a marriage grown out of the bitter experience of failure, and a dedicated desire to not let this one go wrong like the previous ones, on both of our parts. But if it were to end, I think I'd be perfectly happy to take some serious time by myself. One thing you come to realize after enough years is that there just aren't that many truly compatible people out there, that you're going to find in your little world anyway.

And the stereotype about men exists because it's fucking true. Deal with it, guys. 90% of us are real jerks, at least some of the time.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:53 PM on March 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I am widow at 43 (for 7 months now) and while I DO appreciate some of the freedoms she talks about, I can't picture wanting to be alone forever. I have hope that I will someday find someone I can share another good portion of my life with again. (and I WAS married to a special man for nearly 20 years so I hope that isn't offputting and
doesn't hurt my chances...)
posted by in the methow at 4:14 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know what's her exact age, and I'm completly guessing here, but I bet a LOT of the women her age, both in a relationship or not, think this about men.

And they're all wrong, too.
posted by incessant at 4:14 PM on March 28, 2009


Besides family members, who are these mystery people that force one to defend one's singlehood?

* 95% of the movies/television shows/books in the history of ever.

* Well-meaning friends who don't say anything, but you can tell they don't quite know what to do when they're giving a dinner party for themselves, couple A, couple B, and...uh....do we just invite Cindy by herself, should we try to invite an eighth person so Cindy doesn't feel weird, or...?

* All the wedding invitations that come preprinted "____________ and guest".

* Strangers whose faces change ever so slightly when they ask about your kids and you say "I'm not married"; it's as if they've just caught the faint whiff of a fart.

* Hotels/travel tours that offer great deals, but then in the fine print it says that the price is "based on double occupancy" and to take part when it's just you you'll have to pay a "single surcharge".

It's not an overt thing, it's very very subtle. But it's there.

Mind you, I'm not saying it's impossible for someone to genuinely enjoy their own solitude, and I personally prefer my own solitude to settling for something lesser-than. But that's different from preferring my solitude PERIOD. I'd rather be single than have a relationshp that was half-assed, but I'd really fucking rather not be single as my first choice.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:18 PM on March 28, 2009 [31 favorites]


... who wants to hang out with somebody who might take off at any minute for Zanzibar and leave them to take care of the cat?

That's exactly who I want to hang out with.
posted by homunculus at 4:29 PM on March 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


For a while I lived with a friend who was a 50 year old woman, very attractive, very independent, and she was great about really putting herself out there and trying to meet guys, even doing online dating and whatnot. While we lived together, she went on dates with numerous new suitors, and I have to say that it was just staggering how clueless, boorish, dishonest, presumptuous, or insensitive these men all showed themselves to be. Seriously, her bad first-date stories made all my younger friends' stories look downright romantic in comparison. I think it has something to do with a generational lag in comprehending the concept of how internet dating is done effectively -- it was like these guys thought they could post a few old photos (in one notable case, photos that co-starred his previous wife), knock 7 years off their real age, and have a curvy, demure woman show up with a pizza in half an hour. Or else they subscribed to the faux-worldly "well, we all have baggage" philosophy that permitted them to stay completely rooted in their old problems. Nearly every one of them pressured her for sex on the first date. And I'm pretty sure this wasn't one of those situations where the common denominator (my friend herself) was actually the problem -- these guys simply lacked any contextual understanding of the dating pool they were leaping into, which was radically different than anything they'd experienced growing up. They don't know what to ask for, or how to ask, and online dating is basically just a laboratory for them to tinker with.

There are lots of stereotypes about men in that article, but as I read I couldn't help but feel she'd obviously had a very similar experience. And in case your curious, my friend eventually left the city and moved upstate to live in a cabin by herself, where she's very happy and a little relieved to find that geographical isolation has removed the pressure she once felt to find a mate.
posted by hermitosis at 4:29 PM on March 28, 2009 [18 favorites]


Like anything else, this is all about framing the situation. You can see yourself as "married," or perhaps "single," or you can see yourself as "hey-I'm-happy-to-be-single-it-doesn't-make-me-less-of-a-person-so-fuck-you-jackass-see-this-chip-on-my-shoulder?"

Besides family members, who are these mystery people that force one to defend one's singlehood?

* 95% of the movies/television shows/books in the history of ever.


If you're actually talking to people from movies, television and books ... you have bigger problems than solitude.

* All the wedding invitations that come preprinted "____________ and guest".

You realize that's a gift they're extending to you, right? Free booze, food, music and dancing for someone of your choice, not theirs.

* Hotels/travel tours that offer great deals, but then in the fine print it says that the price is "based on double occupancy" and to take part when it's just you you'll have to pay a "single surcharge".

It's because one person often takes up just as many resources (e.g. an entire room) as two. This isn't a slight against the single people. It's economics.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:32 PM on March 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


I 'm now used to getting up when I want and drinking from the juice bottles and not shaving my legs and leaving dishes from the night before on my bed and getting up at 3am and seeing a movie and going back to bed at 5am and not hearing a word of scorn, and not that many people can deal with that kind of thing.

This reminded me of another fluff peice I read years ago about what it took to be a gentleman. Among other markers, a gentleman living alone did not drink from the milk carton, did not stint on personal grooming, and did not leave the dinner dishes unwashed over night.

Nothing that I can recall about his sleeping habits.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:39 PM on March 28, 2009


... life doesn't always wind up the way you expect it to, and you roll with it.

... I choose to be.


*whirr* *clank* DOES NOT COMPUTE
posted by you just lost the game at 4:39 PM on March 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I bet a LOT of the women her age, both in a relationship or not, think this about men.

A lot of people think a lot of wrong things about a lot of other people. That doesn't make them any less wrong.

And the stereotype about men exists because it's fucking true. Deal with it, guys. 90% of us are real jerks, at least some of the time.

Even if this were true -- and I don't think it is -- it doesn't mean it's OK to assume that the remaining 10% are the same way, which is more or less what this woman is doing.

Look, I'm not here to be the guy who plays the "men have it tough, too" card -- while The Patriarchy sucks for pretty much everyone, it sucks a lot more for women. But tarring all men with the same brush -- brought to you by Spike TV and sponsored by Axe Body Spray and Carl's Jr. -- is really fucking counterproductive. This essay does about as much for modern feminism as the Hillary-at-all-costs voters last primary. All I have in common with the men she mentions -- these hairy cro-magnons who "belch so loud I jump" and "don't much care for women who debate them and who don't hope to get married and cook for them" -- is a penis, and the hell with her for suggesting otherwise.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:43 PM on March 28, 2009 [14 favorites]


attempting to hook up two friends is not the same as trying to match up a pair of captive pandas.

Actually, it is quite challenging to hook up captive pandas. e.g. From the all-knowing Wiki:

"Since these pandas possess extremely low hormonal desires for sex, scientists in China have recently developed a method involving "panda porn" to induce the animals into mating."
posted by binturong at 4:44 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


.. my adorable granddaughters provide the passion, and I long for them like I used to long for a lover.

OK, you're just fucking crazy
.

You are obviously NOT a grandma.

Look, at a certain age the attractions of being alone and not responsible for another human can certainly outweigh wanting to get into another relationship. I am happily married and 50 but if I lost my husband I would seriously doubt I'd marry again or really want to.

A great relationship is wonderful, but being alone is definitely better than a bad one, and those of my friends who have remarried after divorce or widowhood so far haven't been a great advertisement for remarriage-the widows in particular seem to wind up with some real jerks.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:47 PM on March 28, 2009


It was kind of sad and beautiful at the same time.
posted by clockzero at 4:47 PM on March 28, 2009


Hifiparasol, to believe you I really need to see some references from your female friends. ;-)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:48 PM on March 28, 2009


It was kind of sad and beautiful at the same time.

That's what she said.
posted by Curry at 4:53 PM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


St. Alia, I do enjoy a good belch now and again.

On a semi-related note, I was recently having a conversation similar to this one with a newly-single female friend of mine. Her ex would flatly refuse to fart in front of her, and wanted the same from her.

If my girlfriend and I implemented that rule, we'd never see each other.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:54 PM on March 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


this post= extremely nsfw

"Immm soo single, its amazing. I don't even NEED a maaan! Booyah! I am sooo fucking single, i couldn't be more single if I turned down every human alive and ate my cat. I am soooooo single. Hot damn! (buy my book) I eat fucking cream cheeses when the sun sets! Can you do that you NON single person.. haha yeah! Didn't think so~! Your WORTHLESS MAN probably eats all that cream cheese before you even get a BITE. Hes all like "NOM NOM NOM" TYPICAL MAN.... but not me motherfuckers i eat the whooooole thing! (visit my blog) My friends they don't even TRY any more.. they get it. I'm like single 4 lyfe. HAHA YEAH! I even have a big fucking cat that like, rubs against me and sits next to me and shit and follows me around all day and shit and sleeps with me all night and touches me and licks my body, and feels like a small furry man I MEAN A CAT when she spoons my legs and touches my nipples .....OH GOD. I mean... Feels like ca - ca- ca- cat. Cause i don't NEED a man! hahaha not even cat that feels like a man..so uh..fuck you kitty go away! I LAUGH MORE THAN MARRIED PEOPLE! I actually laugh more than you if you're married ....mister and misses ..."unhappy!!!". I LAUGH MORE THAN YOU! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH SEEE??!?!?!? I'm doing it right now. besides, I bet your husband hates it when you talk and makes you cook and even beats you! Cause like I'm independent and outspoken and shit and men don't much care for women who debate them!! They all jsut want a bunch of mindless maid-cook-robot-sex machines .... the whole lot of them! HAHAA TYPICAL MAN! Who needs a lover when you got granddaughters, cause after all the way you love someone who has sex you every day and the way you love your granddaughters is exactly the same, amiright? Exactly. all those shitty men, still trying to like (ugh ...barf!!!) show interest in me and shit. Fuck them!!! They probably have cooties! How could they ever stand up to my over-glorified deceased husband and x-rated dreams??? Are they GODS? NAY! They're but fucking mortals! Worthless mortal typical men! Fucking MAMMALS! no no no..... MAN-IMALS! Get it ???? HAHAHAA!!!Evil ..fucking ..penis..KILL THE PENIS!! (*huff** huff** huff*) ....Its my identity. Its ALL I AM IS HOW SINGLE I AM I'm so incredibly incredible single to the EXTREME single extremely single IN YOUR FACE~! IN YOUR FUCKING FAAAACCEEEEEE!!!"


..sniffle....sniffle....why am i really still single?
posted by 5imian at 5:00 PM on March 28, 2009 [24 favorites]


Hes all like "NOM NOM NOM" TYPICAL MAN

I see you've met my husband. :)
posted by desjardins at 5:17 PM on March 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


Once the libido dies down and/or the relationship gets past the two year mark, we all start realizing we're making sacrifices on a daily basis to make things work out.

If I ever felt like that, I'd be gone.

Which isn't to say that you don't sometimes need to compromise, and giving up ridiculous, childish expectations of how you expect a partner to be is often a large part of that, for some people.

And nobody's perfect, and everyone has those little annoying habits, but if you don't get some pleasure, on a daily basis, from the unique qualities that make your lover who they are -- then you're probably the one that's doing it wrong.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:20 PM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


And the stereotype about men exists because it's fucking true. Deal with it, guys. 90% of us are real jerks, at least some of the time.


I love how every time these topics come up we eventually get the St. Elmo's Fire commenter. You're it this time.
posted by srboisvert at 5:24 PM on March 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not straight, FWIW, but if I were to be hit by a truck tomorrow, I would hope that my wife would find someone wonderful to share the rest of her life with, and that kids and grandkids fill her life with joy. If she hooks up with some jerk who doesn't treat her right, though, I'll be seriously looking into haunting options.
posted by Morrigan at 5:29 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


... I'm independent and outspoken and most men don't much care for women who debate them and who don't hope to get married and cook for them

Yeah, this isn't sexist at all. No, not a bit. Egads.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:31 PM on March 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


...Nobody else would put up with the eeeyurrrhuuhuuk sound I make before and after I brush my teeth.
...I would have to clear Miss Princessa Contessa Willemena and all my other dolls off the bed to make room for somebody who has bodily fluids, and might possibly get them on me.
...Other people tend to look at me sideways when I throw cutlery at Jeopardy contestants on TV who are smarter than me.
...I enjoy tapioca pudding. A lot. If I had a man, he might want to put something besides tapioca pudding in the refrigerator, and that won't do.
...It would be tiresome to teach somebody else where all the pressure points that drop newspaper bales on intruders are.
... I now have time to read all the books I wanted to. Time enough at last. (glasses break) It's not fair!
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 5:36 PM on March 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


.. you're more alone in an unhappy relationship than you really ever are without a relationship at all.

Well, I'm quoting this for truth. I won't comment about the unfortunate stereotypes about men-- I tried to block those out, really-- because there are some bits there that I found affirming, and I can certainly say that there's nothing lonelier than being in a bad marriage; I'd happily live alone for the rest of my days rather than go through that again (and trust me, I'm very happy for my ex, whose new partner of many years is far more suited to him than I ever was). Though having just acquired a cat, I kind of wish one of her points wasn't about how her cat feels like a "furry little man". Ugh. On the other hand, mine woke me up by barfing on the floor beside my bed this morning, which reminded me a little of what it was like to have a toddler.

Oh, and that thing about the percieved lesser value of older women? If you haven't been a middle-aged woman in this society, then don't assert that it's all in our heads. There's a lot of general contempt out there for female aging.
posted by jokeefe at 5:46 PM on March 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


scientists in China have recently developed a method involving "panda porn" to induce the animals into mating.

I was going to read the article, but now I'm going to go look for the panda porn instead.
posted by little e at 5:55 PM on March 28, 2009


I never felt more lucky to be young and in love. Was that her intent?

I should write a list about all the things that make me happy to be how I am, too. I love my iPhone, too. I love my cats, too. Cream cheese and basil on pepper triscuits for me, Maddow, not Olberman, please. I also have this hot guy who I make out with, so that works out pretty well. I'm bright and popular and life is a cakewalk, etc. I'm comfortable in my skin. Would that be completely fascinating and the best of the web?? Why I'm NOT alone? Dude.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:14 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Besides family members, who are these mystery people that force one to defend one's singlehood? These kind of things always sound a little shrill and insecure. "I'M OKAY BEING ALONE!!!!" Yeah? Who said you weren't?

I am divorced, and I'm alone. I like being alone. I have gotten lectures from my boss, my drunken layabout neighbor, my hairdresser, my therapist, random coworkers and all my relatives and friends.

It starts innocently enough. In the case of work, it's usually after they've complained about their own husband. 'Are you seeing anyone?' they'll ask, and when I say no for the fortieth time they start in about how I'm sure to find someone and I can have kids it's not too late. I don't feel comfortable explaining to my boss all the reasons that sounds exceedingly unpleasant.

My drunk neighbor apparently came to this conclusion on his own and presented it to me one night when I was dragging groceries up the stairs. 'You don't need to be afraid of men,' he slurred, exhaling a cloud of pipe tobacco at me, 'Men are nice. There are lots of nice men around here you could get.' Other than hello or goodbye I don't speak to him, so I'm not sure how he decided I needed one. The therapist and the hairdresser both decided that I needed a man and at that point I stopped seeing them.

It does make a person feel defensive. There's a subtle moral failing implied in the judgment people make about solitude. The incidents in which people make those judgments are painful, because I was taught right along with everyone else that people are supposed to be with other people. You can't assert that you're happy being alone, because no one believes you. You can't not mention it, because then people assume you're pining for them to help you and then you have to explain. The biggest crime in the world is to be different without an adequate explanation.
posted by winna at 6:15 PM on March 28, 2009 [11 favorites]


... who wants to hang out with somebody who might take off at any minute for Zanzibar and leave them to take care of the cat?

Baloney. So much of her post ("I don't find it easy to trust," I have cat that keeps me company, I don't have to leave the house as much, etc.) seems to show that she's afraid of going out into this Big Bad World. She even seems too scared of joining some sort of local hiking/ultimate frisbee/knitting/whatever group. To say that she might just hop on a plane to Zanzibar is self-delusion.
posted by alidarbac at 6:17 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was going to read the article, but now I'm going to go look for the panda porn instead.

Dude, if you'd seen the "educational panda mating videos" that I saw at the Wolong Panda Reserve, you would understand that this idea lies upon THE PATH TO MADNESS AND HORROR.
posted by elizardbits at 6:34 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Would that be completely fascinating and the best of the web?? Why I'm NOT alone? Dude.

Misery Loves Company, but All the World Loves a Lover? Don't believe it, AV! Most of the world hates a lover. Oh, they'll tell you otherwise, but don't be fooled! No one ever lacked an audience for their tale of how true love went horribly, disastrously wrong.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:43 PM on March 28, 2009


Why I'm Alone

...you can't afford me.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 6:44 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


______ He's all like "NOM NOM NOM" TYPICAL MAN

___I see you've met my husband. :)


I think you meant, every husband.
posted by oddman at 6:55 PM on March 28, 2009


A: Why did her husband die young?

Q: Because he wanted to.
posted by unSane at 7:01 PM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


it's humiliating to be turned down by someone I have no interest in when ten years ago I wouldn't have been turned down by that person

Jesus God, why???? I'd never want a guy I wasn't interested in to be interested in me. That's just selfish. I know how much it hurts to be rejected and disappointed, and I hate having to disappoint someone. The best scenario when you meet someone is mutual interest. The second best is mutual disinterest.

You will never see me writing one of these unconvincing, self-indulgent articles to cheerlead being alone. I've basically spent my entire adult life alone, and frankly, it sucks. I'm not going to pretend otherwise. Certainly there are benefits, and I definitely appreciate those perks. I love being able to eat and sleep and budget my income and decorate my place however I want, to have total control over the remote, to have all my closet space to mysellf. But I have a craving for emotional and physical intimacy that never gets satisfied, that none of the other good things in my life can ever satisfy. It's like being hungry and never getting enough to eat. Yes, you may have lots of nice clothes to wear, be able to take nice vacations, and have a good time with friends and family. But none of that will ever quiet that pain but having the real need met.

And I have a hard enough time trying to make some of the really obtuse happily partnered people I know quit saying really insensitive things to add to it by dishonest articles like this one.
posted by orange swan at 7:05 PM on March 28, 2009 [26 favorites]


Dude, if you'd seen the "educational panda mating videos" that I saw at the Wolong Panda Reserve, you would understand that this idea lies upon THE PATH TO MADNESS AND HORROR.

Actually I think it's on the path to "another weekday morning spent harassing hapless zoo employees with my wildass questions". Aw, looks like I missed mating season this year.

Back on topic, I enjoy being single because I don't have to worry about a significant other looking at my browser history and finding all the searches for "zoo animal porn".
posted by little e at 7:35 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


>* 95% of the movies/television shows/books in the history of ever.

If you're actually talking to people from movies, television and books ... you have bigger problems than solitude.


Please don't be obtuse. I'm referring to the fact that the number of stories where the "happy ending" involves the heroine being offered a choice and choosing to stay alone and being happy about it are vanishingly small -- she ends up paired up with a guy and, it is implied, happier for it. Very few times do you see someone who stays alone and is happy -- every so often you get someone who ends up alone, but it's presented as a tragedy. It's subtle, but it gets really old.

Like anything else, this is all about framing the situation. You can see yourself as "married," or perhaps "single," or you can see yourself as "hey-I'm-happy-to-be-single-it-doesn't-make-me-less-of-a-person-so-fuck-you-jackass-see-this-chip-on-my-shoulder?"

No, I agree with you. And that's precisely why I'm not all militant about "I'm FINE being single, REALLY" and I admit that I would rather not be.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:38 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wish I could favorite that twice over, orange swan.

I think there are some personality types that genuinely do enjoy being single, but for most of us, we're pack animals with a strong mating/nesting drive, and life without a partner feels like mostly pointless marking of time. Sure, it can be used productively by improving one's appeal, but it's impossible to tell until after the fact how that worked.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:39 PM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Please don't be obtuse. I'm referring to the fact that the number of stories where the "happy ending" involves the heroine being offered a choice and choosing to stay alone and being happy about it are vanishingly small

I don't know about heroines, but it was pretty bad ass when Kurt Russell just drives off in his truck at the end of Big Trouble of Little China instead of hooking up with Kim Cattrall.
posted by meta87 at 7:57 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love how every time these topics come up we eventually get the St. Elmo's Fire commenter. You're it this time.

Did I quote a movie I haven't seen? Woops! No, seriously. If we've done this over and over again, I'll call base & just lean on this pillar over here while you kids play the game. Because maybe it's only like 80%, anyway, and women can be selfish assholes, too.

*slinks off to read Bridges of Madison County*
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:02 PM on March 28, 2009


She runs a web community dedicated to being solo and writes articles for HuffPo on being solo.

That's pretty pathetic.

You know, I've lived alone for over twenty years and the only regret I have is that no one decided to pay me to write that narcissistic, self-pitying, who-cares piece of crap.


I have read that it doesn't mean much to write for HuffPo. It doesn't pay anything and if you can string two sentences together, you're in.
posted by jayder at 8:02 PM on March 28, 2009


5imian, if I in any way influenced the composition of this, then I've at least got that to be thankful for. It makes the thread worth reading, and I mean that non-sacastically, or ironically. Post of the week, creatively.

... I'm independent and outspoken and most men don't much care for women who debate them and who don't hope to get married and cook for them

Yeah, this isn't sexist at all. No, not a bit. Egads.


That does sort of jump right off the page, doesn't it? (On second reading). Even selfish, jerky guys aren't all like that.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:09 PM on March 28, 2009


why do you keep posting these dumb, cookie-cutter, self-pitying essays??

Two posts among 20, over 4 months isn't a lot and obviously I don't think they're dumb, cookie-cut or self-pitying. I do agree that they are essays though
.
Mostly though, it's because of this reason: "... life doesn't always wind up the way you expect it to, and you roll with it."

That attitude is great and I love it and want to share it with everyone.

... my adorable granddaughters provide the passion, and I long for them like I used to long for a lover.

OK, you're just fucking crazy.


That's an interesting way to look at it. The other reason I liked this post is because of the grand sweep of time conveyed. She's sowed wild oats, she's been married, so she's known passion in the common sense, that of a relationship, of sex. But now she knows a different sort of passion. Her mind has been expanded and she's learned different meanings to old feelings. What a wonderful growth of human being.

There is literally no difference between a older woman saying this and a 20 year-old man saying "I don't need anyone because I have World of Warcraft and it's a social game."

Well, except for the fact that she's been married, had lovers and experienced more things than that 20 year old and has decided to make choice. It's obvious that she could date if she wanted to and have a relationship. However, she's decided there's better things. And did you see the part where she talks about going out with friends and having a good time, when she wants to? The iPhone is just an option, not the sole reality the WoW often turns into.

This essay does about as much for modern feminism as the Hillary-at-all-costs voters last primary.

Didn't realize it was modern feminism as opposed to explaining why she's alone and not unhappy about it.

I'm bright and popular and life is a cakewalk, etc. I'm comfortable in my skin. Would that be completely fascinating and the best of the web??

One of the other things I liked about this article was someone was writing about it being ok to be alone. As an introvert in extravert dominated society, it gets annoying to hear how you need people or you're not really happy if you're by yourself. It's refreshing reminder that we're not all alike.

I think there are some personality types that genuinely do enjoy being single, but for most of us, we're pack animals with a strong mating/nesting drive

But none of that will ever quiet that pain but having the real need met.

She's been there, done that, has the grandkids.

It's pretty interesting to hear people tell say how wrong she is, even though she feels happy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:12 PM on March 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


(...)my therapist, random coworkers and all my relatives and friends.

It starts innocently enough.(...)


It always starts like that with the Cow Orkers. *shudder*
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:19 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Please don't be obtuse. I'm referring to the fact that the number of stories where the "happy ending" involves the heroine being offered a choice...

... and you're being offered a choice to frame your life as one where you're reacting to the imaginary people in the media, and one where you're the rugged individualist carving your own path. Boo-hoo, all the stories are about people getting married. Talk to Shakespeare. He invented it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:23 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's pretty interesting to hear people tell say how wrong she is, even though she feels happy.

Hmm. I re-read the article and tried to figure out whether she really was happy. I'm undecided. It really does sound to me like she'd like a relationship but can't find anyone good, so she's chosen to be alone rather than be with a guy who doesn't do it for her. That's different from really choosing to be alone because it's your ideal situation.

I do know people who are just as happy alone as they are in a relationship, but I think they're exceptions rather than the rule. And they usually seem to know that. None of them lecture me on how I won't be any happier in a relationship than I am by myself the way some people who haven't been single for over a decade do.
posted by orange swan at 8:34 PM on March 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


It really does sound to me like she'd like a relationship but can't find anyone good, so she's chosen to be alone rather than be with a guy who doesn't do it for her.

But that's is happiness, the ability to be content where you are, instead of wanting what you don't have.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:51 PM on March 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


The best scenario when you meet someone is mutual interest. The second best is mutual disinterest.

Not to a certain kind of personality type (male or female).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:52 PM on March 28, 2009


"Besides family members, who are these mystery people that force one to defend one's singlehood? These kind of things always sound a little shrill and insecure. 'I'M OKAY BEING ALONE!!!!' Yeah? Who said you weren't?"

I get this a lot from co-workers, friends, family, even strangers. Right now, being single is what I need. Getting involved right now would not be a good idea for several reasons, and I'm fine with my situation. But if you're a guy in his late 30s who has never married and isn't seeing someone, you get all sorts of "friendly" suggestions from people who mean well. Trying to explain your intimate emotions over and over to people who probably don't want to hear about it anyway isn't exactly productive, so you just end up making things up or joking around. It's like when people ask, "How are you doing?" as a greeting - they don't really want to know how you're doing. And it's OK, people mean well, but it comes off a bit patronizing after a while.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:17 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


* Strangers whose faces change ever so slightly when they ask about your kids and you say "I'm not married"; it's as if they've just caught the faint whiff of a fart.

And this is why, when someone asks me this question, or any question, I just fart along with my answer. That way I don't read into their facial expressions so much.

Is this why I'm single?
posted by NikitaNikita at 9:24 PM on March 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


I loved this blog post! I'm 37, single and I LOVE being on my own.
In fact, I can't wait for my husband to die!
posted by Smedleyman at 9:40 PM on March 28, 2009


It would be lovely to have sex again before I die.

Then again, when all the candidates are overweight men with appalling body odor, I'll pass.
posted by jrochest at 9:47 PM on March 28, 2009


But that's is happiness, the ability to be content where you are, instead of wanting what you don't have.

Realizing that you've chosen your current situation over less attractive alternatives does not necessarily mean you're content with it.
posted by orange swan at 9:55 PM on March 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Solitude lovers: Ursula K Le Guin's "Solitude" in her short story collection The Birthday of the World should strike a chord. Here's her intro about it:

Hardly anybody ever writes anything nice about introverts. Extraverts rule. This is really rather odd when you realise that about nineteen writers out of twenty are introverts.

We have been taught to be ashamed of not being "outgoing." But a writer's job is ingoing.

The people, the survivors, in this story, like most people in these stories, have some peculiar arrangements of gender and sexuality; but they have no arrangements at all for marriage. Marriage is too extraverted for real introverts. They just see each other sometimes. For a while. Then they go off and be alone again and be happy.

posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:05 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


and you're being offered a choice to frame your life as one where you're reacting to the imaginary people in the media, and one where you're the rugged individualist carving your own path.

And being the rugged individualist means that everyone else is reacting to those imaginary people and thinking that's what YOU should be doing, and they think you're weird because you're not doing what all the people in the movies are doing, because if being single were legitimate, wouldn't they make movies about it?

*smacks fist into palm* Next serve. Let's go. :-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:23 PM on March 28, 2009


and don't forget to wear sunscreen.
posted by docpops at 10:29 PM on March 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of people are projecting their own problems onto this woman's blog post. I think she deserves to be taken at face value - she's tried a lot of different relationships in the past, they were pretty good, but at present there's nothing on offer to tempt her away from being single.

Why do people think she's kidding herself that she's happy? A woman who had been happily married before doesn't see the point in doing it again. Why not try doing something new?
posted by harriet vane at 2:01 AM on March 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Realizing that you've chosen your current situation over less attractive alternatives does not necessarily mean you're content with it.

And yet the writer specifically states otherwise. She knows and understands that she has options, but she also had certain desires and standards and since those aren't being met, she's made a choice to not only be happy, but to revel in it, to not just except what life has handed her, but to grasp in by the hand and pull it in closer for dance, laughingly, and embrace it.

it's astonishing to me that people insist on seeing this article and what it says in such negative light, when it's actually vibrantly full of life.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:02 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


More than anything else it's about choice. If you have the choice to not be single, and actively choose the single life, then I can absolutely understand you being happy with that. Similarly, being mostly forced into a relationship by external expectations (culture, religion, pregnancy, peer pressure, etc) will tend to sour that relationship in one's own eyes no matter how objectively good it may be.

Which actually resolves what's been niggling at me all day about orange swan's comment "I'd never want a guy I wasn't interested in to be interested in me. That's just selfish." She's absolutely right, it is selfish, but it also means that the woman in that position has choice.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:38 AM on March 29, 2009


American women are often so whiny when they should realize they have it about as good as it gets in this world.
posted by tarvuz at 5:22 AM on March 29, 2009


Yeah, I've got no problem with the "I'm so happy to be alone" parts, even if I don't find them to be terribly believable. However, she loses me when she gets all into the "men are pigs" stuff. Ok yeah, let's trot out the standard radical feminist rant line from the 1970s. "Men are all smelly insensitive pigs who want you to wash their dishes." Really? All of us? Still? My god, she needs to go back to whatever 1980s sitcom world she came from. Although I guess if she wants to go for the full-on early-90s Paula Poundstone shtick, she can take it a step further and talk about how we all just roll over and go to sleep after sex.

Men do things like this, Women do things like this. Indeed.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:01 AM on March 29, 2009


My significant other is 13 years older than I am, and we've been together 20 years and going. If she should die before I do, which is certainly possible, I don't believe there'll ever be someone like her in my life again. I'm not even sure I'd want there to be, but even if I did, the odds of me finding anyone else even close to comparable to the woman I love now would likely be abysmally low, like winning the lottery. Some people can't be easily replaced, and that's just the way it is. I accept that.

On the plus side, I too revel in privacy and solitude, so if I'm the last person standing in this relationship, solitude would be fine with me. I wouldn't expect to reach the level of happiness I enjoy now, ever, but I'd find some, eventually.
posted by jamstigator at 6:08 AM on March 29, 2009


As an early middle aged woman, I see no depression, self pity or self loathing. I see a woman who was married to the love of her life, has dated other men and has decided being single is something she prefers over settling just to be part of a pair.
posted by Lindalou at 6:27 AM on March 29, 2009


Once upon a time, I too, loved solitude. I still take a great deal of pleasure in time spent alone. But that isn't time without a partner. That has become time while my partner is away, whether at work, or on a business trip, or off skiing. Fine by me!

I do remember enjoying being single. But that was before my first partner. When he died, life couldn't possibly have sucked more. Didn't matter at all that he left me well off, thanks to Met Life. In fact, that part added to the hurt, because it would have been awesome had he been there to enjoy the bounty with me. Nothing like seeing something I knew he'd like, and I could afford, only to be reminded that he was no longer around to enjoy it.

Now I'm much older. And happily not single. And the other half, after a lovely weekend together, is off to foreign parts for the week. No problem, he'll be back. I'll enjoy the time alone, and he'll be gone long enough that his return will be totally fabulous. I like that.

I am fascinated by this women's situation, and this discussion. I never noticed this particular gender-oriented double standard. A guy wants to stay single, it's nudge nudge, wink wink, "Why buy the cow, when milk is so cheap?". When a woman wants the same, there is something wrong with her. Why shouldn't a woman be happily single?
posted by Goofyy at 6:30 AM on March 29, 2009


The woman's a bore with a web site to shill. You want to read about a full blown single woman comfortable, even revelling, in her singlehood, read Florence King. I suggest With Charity Towards None; A Fond Look at Misanthropy.

Better writer, too.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:46 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


American women are often so whiny when they should realize they have it about as good as it gets in this world.

Could you please elaborate on what you mean by this before my head explodes? Why specifically American women? And what about this post really fixates on the American-ness of the author? Do you perhaps mean Western women?

If you're saying she has a lot of "first world problems," I'll agree, but to say that her perceived whining has to do with being American smells a bit funky from here.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:50 AM on March 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ok yeah, let's trot out the standard radical feminist rant line from the 1970s. "Men are all smelly insensitive pigs who want you to wash their dishes." Really? All of us? Still?

Again, it's fascinating to see people read the article and they interpret it through their own filters, facts be damned.

She's been married. She has kids. That's an implication that she's buried the love of her life. She said nothing about all men, merely that as she got older she wasn't pleased with the dating pool and essentially said "Forget it" .

American women are often so whiny when they should realize they have it about as good as it gets in this world.

Could you point to where she's whining in that article? 'Cause I don't see it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


it's astonishing to me that people insist on seeing this article and what it says in such negative light, when it's actually vibrantly full of life.

I'm very consciously trying not to project, and I still can't feel that post is "vibrantly full of life".

the odds of me finding anyone else even close to comparable to the woman I love now would likely be abysmally low

Goodness, of course you'd never find anyone like your current partner. Each relationship is its own little world, and can never be replicated. But I've been around the mountain enough times to know that when I find someone else I connect with it can be just as satisfying in a different way.

American women are often so whiny when they should realize they have it about as good as it gets in this world.

Loneliness can be so corrosive. It eats away at every facet of one's life, however privileged and comfortable and otherwise engaging that life may be.

If you have the choice to not be single, and actively choose the single life, then I can absolutely understand you being happy with that.

The thing is, there are choices and choices. I do get pursued by creepy men sometimes, and I think most people would readily understand that someone like Dimitri the Lover is not a viable suitor, but I've also met some really nice men, who had good characters and their lives together and in general had a lot going for them — and who were interested in me. But it just wasn't there for me. Maybe I was physically attracted to them but the rapport wasn't there. Maybe the rapport was there but I wasn't physically attracted to them. And I'd give it four or five dates and it just didn't gel.

When I'm really clicking with someone there's a feeling of deep content, and a radiance and significance to even the most mundane of our interactions. With one guy I connected with in this way, we once spent half an hour or so in his living room, not speaking, while he sat at his desk and paid his bills and I sat on his couch, doing needlework. It would have looked totally boring to anyone else, but it was a lovely interlude for us. It was so satisfying just to be there together and know that we could speak if we wanted or needed to and once the bills were paid and the sewing was laid aside we'd have time to talk or get it on or go out and do stuff or whatever.

When it's not working for me I only feel restless and unhappy and want to get away. So I don't consider that I've "chosen" to be single. Other people tell me it's my fault I'm single because I'm "too picky", which always makes me want to slap them. I'm looking for someone I can be happy with, and so far I've only found men I would be unhappy with, or who didn't want me.

Someone who turns down offers from people she or he is interested in is actively choosing to be single. I just don't see being single as a choice, because I haven't really had any other viable options.
posted by orange swan at 7:15 AM on March 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Wow, what a lot of boring assumptions about women and men in that list.
posted by agregoli at 7:38 AM on March 29, 2009


She said nothing about all men,

Just to clarify, she did say: ... I'm independent and outspoken and most men don't much care for women who debate them and who don't hope to get married and cook for them

While she did not say ALL men, she did say that MOST men are looking for a subservient woman, which really is a tired complaint.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:44 AM on March 29, 2009


Loneliness can be so corrosive. It eats away at every facet of one's life, however privileged and comfortable and otherwise engaging that life may be.

I don't mean to insult or belittle you, but these are your feelings on the subject and it's one I've heard echoed throughout my life, so I found it intensely refreshing to find a piece of writing written from the opposite view. As a male, I could argue with her statements about men, but who am I to argue with her experiences and to authoritatively declare that those experiences are wrong? Because in doing so I'm implicitly stating I am right and know better and the truth is I have no idea, because I haven't reached that age and I haven't been divorced or buried a spouse and who knows how those experiences change a person?

Instead, I look at her thoughts on these subjects as a guidepost. She's been down a road that many of us will travel, whether we want to or not. It might be wise to note the map she's drawn and remember it, as it might help guide us one day, be it down the same path or a different one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:48 AM on March 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


While she did not say ALL men, she did say that MOST men are looking for a subservient woman, which really is a tired complaint.

Yes, it was quite clear from the article that she was tired of it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:50 AM on March 29, 2009


Besides family members, who are these mystery people that force one to defend one's singlehood?

We are MetaFilter. Nice to meet you!
posted by hermitosis at 8:15 AM on March 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


... I have a website called sololady and if I wasn't solo I'd have to get another domain name.

See, it's stuff like that that makes people think that you are letting yourself be defined by your label.
posted by grouse at 8:18 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thoughts from a former member about this thread:
I no longer have a Metafilter account. but I still skim the site sometimes, and I just read your post from today.

Before I say what I thought, I have to admit that I am long-term single: ten years, in fact, besides a dalliance (informal, long-distance, with a married man) more than six years ago. I haven't had sex in almost two years. This obviously colours my response.

I can't help but feel that the author's experience is so foreign to most commenters that they can't fathom it. What other explanation can there be for such a glaring lack of sympathy, empathy? For the disrespect of this woman's view of her own experiences and circumstances? How lucky they all must be, to have been so loved all their lives to never have reflected the way this woman is. I accept that most of society does not live the way I have, and that most adults are coupled, so this makes sense.

But I found it upsetting how people laid into the author. This is a perfect example of why I no longer participate on the site. In that thread, I see a raft -- a majority -- of commenters who have shut off their critical faculties entirely. Not that they can't criticize -- they can, quite clearly. That's *all some of them deign to do on the site*. But the process of evaluation and reflection and immersion that's required to relate to other people's experiences and viewpoints has been completely lost.

(And: am I the only person who's observed that this woman is older than the average Mefite? That a woman who came of age in the 50s or 60s will have vastly different experiences and relationships with men of their generation than women coming of age now or in the recent past? That the society she came up in has changed significantly in those decades? Nonetheless, the third comment is a knee-jerk accusation of sexism, and many more follow.)

Again, my response to this thread in particular is coloured by my own romantic life, and, undoubtedly, so it is by my opinion of Mefi culture. But I wanted to give you my feedback. I'm not convinced based on her article that she's 100% sold on her own rhetoric. I think to some small extent she may have mixed feelings. Or I could just be projecting. But there aren't enough people expressing these feelings -- talking about loneliness, for example, is even more taboo than most sex-related subjects these days. Tell someone you're lonely and just watch their skin crawl with discomfort. But it's something single people deal with head-on. So I'm glad you cared what she thinks -- what one single person experiences. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:23 AM on March 29, 2009 [25 favorites]


But the process of evaluation and reflection and immersion that's required to relate to other people's experiences and viewpoints has been completely lost...

This is my number one problem with discussion on MetaFilter as well, and while I realize that's the state of internet discussion pretty much anywhere, it still never fails to surprise me when I wander into a MeFi thread where this is the case. Take for example the recent thread about a woman's struggle with her son's violent autism. Too few people are willing to take a step back and think, "You know what? I really don't know what that must be like, and can't imagine what I'd do in that situation. I could really learn something here." Instead everyone takes turns trying to prove that they are smarter than the author of the article. The real "filter" of this site is the barrier of ego that gifted, intelligent people put between themselves and genuinely challenging perspectives.
posted by hermitosis at 8:42 AM on March 29, 2009 [20 favorites]


The real "filter" of this site is the barrier of ego that gifted, intelligent people put between themselves and genuinely challenging perspectives.

And kinda dumb people, too, for all of that.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:36 AM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've read some really interesting, challenging personal essays about choosing solitude. (Doris Grumbach's book Fifty Days of Solitude is probably the pinnacle of the solitude genre, to me.)

This essay doesn't do it for me. I wish this woman well in her life, and I think it's really useful to have resources for single women so good for her for her website and whatever, but the essay really didn't touch anything important for me.

I am constantly astonished by the number of men in the online personals world who assert that they're only interested in dating women who are significantly younger, significantly healthier, and significantly more attractive than they are, and if I were looking for a partner in that world I would be discouraged by that. Similarly, I have heard many many stories of women who tell me that their friends routinely fix them up with men fifteen or twenty years older than themselves, and when they suggest they might be interested in a specific man who's around their own age, they say "He only dates {his age minus twenty years}-olds." So I don't think she's making that shit up.

But I do think that she brought nothing new to the discussion of that issue in this piece.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:19 AM on March 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've read some really interesting, challenging personal essays about choosing solitude. (Doris Grumbach's book Fifty Days of Solitude is probably the pinnacle of the solitude genre, to me.)

This essay doesn't do it for me. I wish this woman well in her life, and I think it's really useful to have resources for single women so good for her for her website and whatever, but the essay really didn't touch anything important for me.


THIS.

There have been a number of people in here that have been accused of "piling on" the author of the piece; I would argue that that may not be a reaction to what she is saying, but rather a reaction to how she is saying it.

It is indeed possible to live a single life joyfully, and to prefer it. And it is possible to write about that life convincingly. However, the author may have indeed tried to write about her preference, but her efforts to convince others weren't as successful.

I would say that this isn't a function of the inherant worth or unworth of singledom, but rather a function of how good a writer she is. Some of the reasons she gives for staying single make sense, but some of them come across as the kinds of trite "positive meditations" you tell yourself over and over when you're trying to convince yourself of something, and thus the impression I and others may be getting is that she doesn't quite believe this herself.

But that's largely because....they're so trite. They're, like, a few steps away from the poster with the kitten dangling from a tree limb and captioned "hang in there, baby!"

So it's possible that a lot of the reaction in here isn't because of SINGLE PEOPLE CAN'T BE HAPPY HURF DURF, it's that...she hasn't convinced some of us that that is what the AUTHOR truly believes, as opposed to her trying to convince HERSELF that that's what she believes.

And that's a function of the writing more than anything else, I'd say.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:31 AM on March 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Wow to this:

The real "filter" of this site life is the barrier of ego that gifted, intelligent people put between themselves and genuinely challenging perspectives.


Also, a couple people mention that these kinds of experiences may be due to a generational issue; can anyone speak further to this?
posted by stratastar at 10:38 AM on March 29, 2009


I second everyone on this thread pointing out that the age of the author colors her perspective and experience. No, not all men behave in the ways the author describes, but you can bet that more men of her generation behave that way then do men of my generation.

My mother is sixty-five and has been happily single since she kicked the most recent of her sexist, lazy-ass boyfriends to the curb a dozen years ago. After her divorce from my Dad, Mom went from one shitty relationship to another with men her age who were intimidated by her business success, or who expected she'd be glad, after a ten-hour day on her feet, to come home and cook dinner, or who neglected to mention that they enjoyed extramarital sex. A year or so after the last one got the boot, she drunkenly announced to me at Christmas, "That's it! I'm through!" and began to devote herself to a tight-knit group of single female friends her age. They shop, travel, talk, and go out for meals and movies together. They sleep over at each other's houses and stay up late watching movies and drinking too much. None of them date, and none of them seem to miss the company of a sexual partner. I can't imagine life without frequent and enthusiastic sex, but who the hell am I to judge? She's happy.
posted by tits mcgee at 11:08 AM on March 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Having made tentative visits to the world of online dating sites, I can also testify to the fact that 99.9 percent of the men my age absolutely do not want to date women my age. They want to date women 10 to 15 years younger than I am.

This is not all men on dating sites, but it's most of them.
posted by OolooKitty at 11:30 AM on March 29, 2009


Why I'm Alone

Appropriately so.
posted by cogneuro at 12:13 PM on March 29, 2009


I agree with EmpressCallipygos and others who are saying that this particular article just isn't convincing me that this woman is really happy with being single. It's not like I'm sure that every single person is secretly miserable regardless of whatever they say or that I wouldn't make every effort to understand a genuinely happy person's viewpoint even if I don't share it. I do know at least a couple of people who truly are just as happy on their own as in relationships. But I know someone else who says he's fine on his own and doesn't want a relationship.... but always came across as somewhat depressed to me even before I stumbled upon the knowledge that he's on Prozac. You can't always take what people say about themselves at strict literal value.
posted by orange swan at 12:45 PM on March 29, 2009


And on another note, it is truly very common for men 30 and up to want younger women. I've known some really unattractive guys who looked much older than they were who weren't interested in any one but hot women in their early twenties. It can be discouraging to check out an attractive thirty-something guy's profile only to find that specifically states he only wants women in their twenties, but honestly, he's doing me a favour by being that upfront about himself.

And he isn't all that likely to get what he wants, either. When I was in my twenties I was never interested in thirty-something guys, much less anyone older than that.
posted by orange swan at 12:52 PM on March 29, 2009


Yesterday was my birthday and the boys got together to take me out for drinks. Four out of five guys at our table had pregnant wives at home, and each of them was fairly miserable. Each of them told me they envied my lifestyle... no pets, no kids, no nagging wife (self-employed so no nagging boss either). Seriously, between posting in this thread yesterday and posting now I feel about 500% better with regard to the lack of a significant other in my life.

To illustrate: At 2:30 this afternoon I got a call from a number I didn't recognize. It was my buddy from last night calling from his neighbour's house. He couldn't call me from his own house because his pregnant wife had taken his Blackberry and all the house phones out of the house with her to punish him for having a good time last night. This is a guy who makes tons of money, adores his wife, and is constantly doing things for her. She's just being spiteful in the way that hormonal women often are.

My main romantic goal in life is to avoid that type of bullshit. I truly feel that most women look at men like sperm donors and lottery tickets.
posted by autodidact at 1:05 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Having made tentative visits to the world of online dating sites, I can also testify to the fact that 99.9 percent of the men my age absolutely do not want to date women my age. They want to date women 10 to 15 years younger than I am.

Can I just ask -- with, I hope, not falling into that certain faux pas -- approximately how old the women who have this problem are? Because I keep seeing this mentioned a lot (here and elsewhere), and the problem I keep running into is that are no single women my age (mid-thirties). I mean, I realize that literally can't be true, but it seems to be...pretty true. It's like basically the last bunch of single women in my generational bracket all got married in the three or four years in which I was entirely too busy reinventing my life to notice. So now -- dude! Totally awesome, totally situated, totally single. And the only single women I meet all seem to be college aged, which sounds really great I know, but actually is not. My guess is that all these guys who want a woman that much younger than themselves are kinda looking for involvement without involvement, if you see what I mean. Maybe I'm just abnormal in some way, but while I can see the aesthetic appeal of a twenty-year-old, I don't see much relationship potential with a woman who could be my kid (in some states).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:05 PM on March 29, 2009


I truly feel that most women look at men like sperm donors and lottery tickets.

Hoo boy. Sometimes I fear I am spouting this kind of bullshit and don't know it. Perhaps whenever I mention not being happy with being single, people around me are nodding their heads wisely and not even bothering to try to tell me what I'm doing wrong, because I'm plainly (to them) this big of a lost cause.
posted by orange swan at 1:23 PM on March 29, 2009


the problem I keep running into is that are no single women my age (mid-thirties)

Hmm. That's an interesting question. I don't know what the single male:single female ratio is for thirty-somethings. I have to admit, I don't know that many single women my age (35). Almost all my female friends are married. I have a couple of friends who have gotten divorced in the past few years, but they promptly found someone else. I'd say maybe I know five, counting me.
posted by orange swan at 1:28 PM on March 29, 2009


She's just being spiteful in the way that hormonal women often are.

Uh, excuse me, but, she's just being spiteful in the way that horrible, spiteful, disrespectful people are. Being pregnant or hormonal isn't an excuse to treat your life partner like shit, and anyone who does has bigger problems than feeling a little cranky. I can't ever imagining treating my partner with so little respect. If those four guys all have wives like that at home, they'll all get divorced eventually. I would bet money on it.
posted by agregoli at 1:31 PM on March 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


This comment by tits mcgee does a better job of making the argument in the linked article better than the article itself does.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:41 PM on March 29, 2009


Hmm. That's an interesting question. I don't know what the single male:single female ratio is for thirty-somethings. I have to admit, I don't know that many single women my age (35). Almost all my female friends are married. I have a couple of friends who have gotten divorced in the past few years, but they promptly found someone else. I'd say maybe I know five, counting me.

Yeah, and that seems to scan with my perceptions (hell, five sounds pretty high). Not that I'm bitter or anything! Uh...I mean, would that it were not so, but I made the choices I made that got me to this point in life unmarried, and while there are some I might make differently, I don't know that any others would have (a) gotten me this close to where I want to be and (b) would have gotten me here with somebody. Can't have everything, I guess.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:56 PM on March 29, 2009


Google Books has a preview of 50 days of Solitude.

I would argue that that may not be a reaction to what she is saying, but rather a reaction to how she is saying it.

Eh, I see what you're saying, but tend to doubt that thought. From my perspective, there has been a lot condeming of the author for her choices, weak cries of sexism and appalling, though perhaps natural lack of understanding and empathy. Had she written the same thoughts but in a more palatable way, I doubt much would have changed. And why should she water if down for people. Remember why she wrote the article:
People ask me why I'm still alone, and why I don't seek to date much, eight years after my husband died. I thought about it the other day, and came up with a few of the reasons.
She's not asking your or anyone else to like or agree with her reasons, she's not trying to convince anyone, she's telling people why she's still alone.

Check out the comments thread attached to the article. The author has several replies that make things a clearer. Here's one: (note, threaded comments suck, don't do it Matt!):
Here's a random guy's perspective:My first reaction was: "I'm offended! How can this woman (and so many others) feel that men are so undesireable?" In the author's world, men's most notable characteristics are their "strange sounds and smells." The article felt like the final blow in the long history of misandry. I thought: "This is just thinly-veiled male bashing."
Then I calmed down, and tried to see her point of view. I saw the article as an expression of pain. I heard her grief over the loss of her husband (read: anger over abandonment). And I heard her pain over the loss of her former status as a guy magnet, who had all the power and called all the shots. You have to feel compassion for someone who finds men less desireable than salsa and a box of crackers. Like a previous poster said, it really is sad when a woman allows such natural events to deprive her of the benefits of romantic relationships. No more waking up next to a beloved partner, no more sexual expression in a secure, warm, mutually loving relationship. No more getting to express her powerful feminine sexuality in the arms of a man who really loves her. It feels like a stunted life, a capitulation to ego.
Then she replies:
I would LOVE all those things at the end of your comment. I just am waiting for Mr. Right Enough, not Mr. Wrong. And so far, since I haven't found him, I'm making the most of my solitude. I'm not bashing males. I just wish more quality males were interested. I have tried dating. Many, alas, stereotype "older women" as not even worth considering. And so, I react. The fact is, I love good men and appreciate, and am quite good at, a good relationship. But my life is not "stunted." That's the stereotype from people who believe living alone can't be pleasant. Yes, I think a great relationship may be best of all. And I'm holding out for at least a very good one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:12 PM on March 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not bashing males.

Right. These men who belch so loud you jump and have no interest in intelligent women who won't do the dishes for them. You're being so very fair in your depictions of the opposite sex. And really, there's nothing more attractive to men than a woman for whom the last four decades of feminist progress never happened. It's so hot when a woman I've never met tells me I belch too loud and that she's about 30 IQ points too clever for me, because I like 'em stupid and in the kitchen. But yeah, it's way easier for her to assume that I don't like her because she's too old, isn't it?

Brandon, I'd have a much easier time accepting this woman's main thesis that there's nothing wrong with choosing to be single -- which, by itself, is an admirable assertion that needs to be made more often and with greater articulation than is presented here -- if it weren't so clearly mired in her own inability to accept the fact that not all men are sexist jerks.

Now, if she were saying something like, "All the men I've met so far haven't lived up to my admittedly high personal romantic standards, and so I'm giving up the search because it's more trouble than it's worth," well, that would be a reasonable sentiment. But she is so visibly painting herself as a victim here, of boorish cavemen who can't grasp her need to be more than a combination dishwasher/fleshlight. If only we weren't all such jerks, she wouldn't have to watch Keith Olbermann every night with her cream cheese and crackers.
posted by hifiparasol at 2:39 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now, if she were saying something like, "All the men I've met so far haven't lived up to my admittedly high personal romantic standards, and so I'm giving up the search because it's more trouble than it's worth," well, that would be a reasonable sentiment. But she is so visibly painting herself as a victim here, of boorish cavemen who can't grasp her need to be more than a combination dishwasher/fleshlight. If only we weren't all such jerks, she wouldn't have to watch Keith Olbermann every night with her cream cheese and crackers.

Dude, if you feel justified in freaking out about someone you've never met on the basis of a like 200-word article that does nothing except in a totally non-confrontational way expound on her actual experiences, and if you feel somehow personally offended by them even though it seems fairly clear that she is not talking about you, then it's very possible that you are an exemplar of exactly the kind of guy she is actively trying to avoid.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:11 PM on March 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thanks for fighting the good fight here, Brandon.
posted by jokeefe at 3:34 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, okay. I wasn't aware I was "freaking out," but who am I to know where the line is between reasonable discussion and freaking out?
we seem to laugh more than our married friends and we even look happier, even if we aren't, but I suspect we might be, at least more so than many.

I'm independent and outspoken and most men don't much care for women who debate them and who don't hope to get married and cook for them.

I don't want to be a nurse for the men who still run after me, who can't even run.

I won't go out and beat the bushes for some nice-enough fellow who belches so loud I jump and doesn't listen and who doesn't make me smile enough to put up with strange noises and indifference.
I do not think these statements are "totally non-confrontational." I think they are "passive-aggressively confrontational."

If I say something horrible like "women are stuck-up bitches who are only interested in Clooney lookalikes with fat wallets," that is a bad thing. If I say "most women, in my experience, are stuck-up bitches who are only interested in Clooney lookalikes with fat wallets," that is still a bad thing, because (a) I'm being passive-aggressively sexist, and (b) the problem is not with women, but with me.

Look, if this woman wants to be single, good for her. If she chooses to be single because it's easier than looking for a guy who meets her standards, more power to her. And clearly, she's been burned in the past, which sucks, and I feel for her. But I've been burned in the past. Male and female friends of mine have been burned in the past. We've all been burned in the past. Some people respond to that by taking themselves out of the game entirely, which is a reasonable response. But a substantial part of her reasoning for remaining single is to claim that men are just a bunch of pigs. Not all men, of course, but most. Enough to allow her the comfort of broad generalizations. Enough to allow her the luxury of blaming her singledom on us meatheads.

I agree with you that I am exactly the kind of man she's trying to avoid, because I don't fit in with her bullshit notion of how men are. And a guy like me, who dates older women and does housework and appreciates people of all genders who understand that sometimes the human body makes noises and makes it a point to tell his girlfriend every day that he loves her, would probably not reinforce her comfortable idea that men are pigs, so there's no point in even bothering.
posted by hifiparasol at 3:42 PM on March 29, 2009


I do not think these statements are "totally non-confrontational."

I do not think those statements are ridiculous and or made up lies or sexist. If anything they're a bit of humor with reality mixed. They are what she experienced, she's tired of it and she'd rather be solo than put up with it.

Oh wait, that's not what she said, if you'd bother to listen and actually read that last part of that last statement: "...and who doesn't make me smile enough to put up with strange noises and indifference."

She'd be willing to put up with all that if the guy made her laugh enough.

Did you hear anything beyond what you wanted to hear in her statement I put inthis comment? She blatantly said she's open to relationship, that the guy doesn't have to be perfect, that she would LOVE "waking up next to a beloved partner," and having sex, but that she's " waiting for Mr. Right Enough, not Mr. Wrong" and that, in the meantime she's "making the most of my solitude".

Did you catch any of that before singling out her "I'm not bashing men" statement and choosing to argue with it? You act like she's personally offended you even thought you've never gone out on a date with her. Seriously, is really that difficult to understand and believe that older women in American society aren't valued, aren't seen as desirable and worthy of love and sex? Are you seriously going to push that line?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:05 PM on March 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


If I say something horrible like "women are stuck-up bitches who are only interested in Clooney lookalikes with fat wallets," that is a bad thing. If I say "most women, in my experience, are stuck-up bitches who are only interested in Clooney lookalikes with fat wallets," that is still a bad thing, because (a) I'm being passive-aggressively sexist, and (b) the problem is not with women, but with me.

The thing is, I don't think she's saying "men are like this" so much as "there are men like this, and they're what I keep meeting, and that's not what I'm looking for." Obviously, she knows that all men are not like this, because she used to be happily married. Put another way, to say that you keep meeting women who are shallow gold diggers is not the same as saying that all women are shallow gold diggers, though it is very possible that if all the women you meet conform to this description than you may be projecting something unpleasant onto them (and she may be projecting something unpleasant onto these guys).

And a guy like me, who dates older women and does housework and appreciates people of all genders who understand that sometimes the human body makes noises and makes it a point to tell his girlfriend every day that he loves her, would probably not reinforce her comfortable idea that men are pigs, so there's no point in even bothering.

Honestly, man, I'm not sure why you're so torn up about it. You know who you are and that you're not that, evidently your girlfriend knows the same, so who else matters and what is there to prove, you know?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:08 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thoughts from a former member about this thread:

You know, I really gotta object to this practice. If someone gets so miffed that they cancel their account, they should probably stay gone. Either that, or they should have the guts to pay the $5 and stand behind their comment. None of this passive-aggressive proxy commenting.

There's just something creepy about having a thread haunted by Mefi ghosts.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:09 PM on March 29, 2009 [15 favorites]


Afroblanco, that's ghostist.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:18 PM on March 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


I agree with Afroblanco. If you've got something to say, say it yourself.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:38 PM on March 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


You act like she's personally offended you even thought you've never gone out on a date with her.

So wait -- I have to date someone in order to be offended by what they say? I don't get it.

...that last part of that last statement: "...and who doesn't make me smile enough to put up with strange noises and indifference."... She'd be willing to put up with all that if the guy made her laugh enough.

Implicit in her statement is the idea that men are naturally belch machines who don't give a shit about her hopes and dreams. She's saying the best she can hope for is someone who's entertaining enough to make her overlook these things. That's pretty sad.

Seriously, is really that difficult to understand and believe that older women in American society aren't valued, aren't seen as desirable and worthy of love and sex? Are you seriously going to push that line?

Sorry if I wasn't more clear here, but I do understand that older women face a lot of bullshit because of the way western culture works, particularly when it comes to dating. This is not difficult for me to understand. What's difficult for me to understand is how anyone can perceive this first-draft list of random, unprocessed thoughts as a reasoned essay on that topic.

I don't think she's saying "men are like this" so much as "there are men like this, and they're what I keep meeting, and that's not what I'm looking for."

I think you and I just have to agree to disagree here; we're clearly just experiencing what she's saying differently. I think she's been burned over and over in the same way by a string of men, which makes her pretty angry at us as a gender -- which is a reasonable enough way to feel, though I don't know that writing an essay about it is the most constructive way to approach gender relations. As I mentioned, I think that writing an essay outlining your own standards and bemoaning the dearth of men who meet those standards is fine. I don't get that from this essay; you do.

Honestly, man, I'm not sure why you're so torn up about it.

I wouldn't say I'm torn up about it, though I guess I did make it pretty personal in that last comment, so fair enough.

Here's the thing: I consider myself a feminist. I'm definitely not the best feminist, nor always the most committed; nor do I have the capacity to inform my own opinions with the first-hand experience of being a woman. So -- as a caveat -- my feminism will always be flawed. But the reason I'm a feminist isn't flawed: I'm a feminist because I think that cultural and institutional sexism does a lot more than just hurt woman. It hurts all of us. It hurts society as a whole. It holds us back.

And the best way for feminism to help shape a new society is to involve all sexes and genders in the equation. I don't want the world to be the kind of place where an older woman faces heartache after heartache as she searches for someone to share love with. But nor am I sensitive to a woman who assumes I'm a neanderthal just because I'm a man. I want to help the world be a better place, and that's hard to do when someone's making petty complaints about how I'm a loud belcher who's biologically predestined toward not giving a shit about what any woman has to say. I described myself in those terms not to speak glowingly of my enlightenedness -- hardly -- but to illustrate that there are plenty of us men, flawed as we may be, who do not conform to her worldview.

Of course, all of this is contingent on a reading of the essay that's similar to my own. Judging by what some others have said here, I don't think I'm alone.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:41 PM on March 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oh, and agreed re: MeFi ghosts. If someone wants to be a part of the convo, let 'em pony up like the rest of us.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:43 PM on March 29, 2009


If you've got something to say, say it yourself.

Just to be clear, the poster didn't ask that I post it, I just thought it was a good comment and asked her if it was ok that if I post it, to which she obviously agreed. One of the reasons that I wanted to post was because she was specifically explaining behaviors that caused her to leave the site, behavior that was on display in this thread.

Otherwise, I'd consider the "say it yourself" opinion a narrow view and one of the best things about the site is taking things on individual cases as opposed to blanket polices.

If ya'll want to hash this out more, it should probably go to MetaTalk.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:55 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's difficult for me to understand is how anyone can perceive this first-draft list of random, unprocessed thoughts as a reasoned essay on that topic.

I would agree, especially since she made no such claim, so I understand why you're holding the essay to a standard she never claimed. Hell, the first paragraph specifically says she's just making a list and the reasons why.

But nor am I sensitive to a woman who assumes I'm a neanderthal just because I'm a man. I want to help the world be a better place, and that's hard to do when someone's making petty complaints about how I'm a loud belcher who's biologically predestined toward not giving a shit about what any woman has to say.

Stop taking it personally, it's not about you. However, the fact that you insist on taking it personally, even though you admit her experiences are totally believable and her feelings understandable are making you seem like a neanderthal.

there are plenty of us men, flawed as we may be, who do not conform to her worldview.

She's aware of that, she said so repeatedly. She's waiting for one, hasn't found him yet and in the meantime is making do.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:01 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


...you're holding the essay to a standard she never claimed. Hell, the first paragraph specifically says she's just making a list and the reasons why.

Oh, for heaven's sake. Fine; just because someone has gone to the trouble of writing something for the Huffington Post -- something that's meant to be a good example of her writing, so people will visit her website -- doesn't mean I should respond in any way to what it asserts, or you know, judge the writing therein by any set of standards. I should go easy on her, because after all, it's just this random list of things, you know? Oh, wait: It's actually only a random list of things until such time as you need it to be something more, to prove your point. Then it's a Profound Pontification, worthy of the front page of Metafilter. But when someone calls it out as crappy, then, hey, it's just this random list of things, you know?

Stop taking it personally, it's not about you.

I'm not making it personal. I'm using my own point of view to make a broader point about men, and feminism, and why this article is bad.

However, the fact that you insist on taking it personally, even though you admit her experiences are totally believable and her feelings understandable are making you seem like a neanderthal.

Yeah, and this comment makes you seem like a posturing twit who's trying to get some feminist cred so he can get laid with the smart girls.

I'm done having this conversation. I've got cartoons to watch.
posted by hifiparasol at 5:31 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


kittens for breakfast, if you want to meet women, take an art or cooking class, or join a book club. In my experience, of the people who do so, 95% have boobs.
posted by orange swan at 5:41 PM on March 29, 2009


the problem I keep running into is that are no single women my age (mid-thirties)

do you live in NYC? this is where the women that age are married to guys in their 40s and 50s and up and the women in their 40's are bitter. because truthfully, it's not that men in their 40s and 50's marry 20somethings unless they are incredibly wealthy.

it's that successful men in their 40's and 50's marry women in their 30's and do not want women above or even approaching the age when IVF is necessary for baby-making AKA 38 and up. they don't think about it that way, but that's what tends to happen.

i wish this weren't so, but there's abundant evidence that with men, age does not diminish their value on the dating market anything like as steeply as it does for women and career success and money can make up for age in men in a way that it does not for women (unless the women actually seek explicitly paid companionship).

again, would like to believe otherwise... but the statistical and evolutionarily-explicable tendency is clear.
posted by Maias at 6:44 PM on March 29, 2009


the problem I keep running into is that are no single women my age (mid-thirties)

(waves hand) Hi. You're meeting one now. And I can introduce you to rather a few more.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:59 PM on March 29, 2009


kittens for breakfast, if you want to meet women, take an art or cooking class, or join a book club. In my experience, of the people who do so, 95% have boobs.

This seems to be a pretty popular suggestion, which leads me to think there's...something to it? Hmmmmm...

(waves hand) Hi. You're meeting one now. And I can introduce you to rather a few more.

Heh! Well, that was easy.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:07 PM on March 29, 2009


I never noticed this particular gender-oriented double standard. A guy wants to stay single, it's nudge nudge, wink wink, "Why buy the cow, when milk is so cheap?". When a woman wants the same, there is something wrong with her.
Well, as long as the guy doesn't have a van. Or a certain kind of mustache and accouterments. Or a 'companion.'

The comments strike me as odd. The essay, pretty straightforward. Like playing a poker hand. She has options. Those options don't meet a certain threshold. She's not going for them. I suspect she is happier not compromising just in order to be with - someone. And that is doing a courtesy to other people as well. Who with any self-respect would want to be used that way?
posted by Smedleyman at 7:12 PM on March 29, 2009


I should go easy on her, because after all, it's just this random list of things, you know? Oh, wait: It's actually only a random list of things until such time as you need it to be something more, to prove your point.

Well no. I never said it was a random list of things, go back in read my comment.

My point was that you were applying a standard to the article that the author wasn't trying to aspire to. It would like saying Star Wars is a horrible romance comedy. Technically true in a way, but isn't what the movie was trying to do, so why hold it to the standard?

So to repeat, the author was articulating why she's alone, after being consistently asked, "why are you alone?" She made a list of things, so you calling it "reasoned essay on that topic" seems well, silly, 'cause that's not what she was trying to do. And yeah, I do consider the list profound to not only post it to Metafilter, but also to learn from.

I'm using my own point of view to make a broader point about men, and feminism, and why this article is bad.

I'd disagree. You repeatedly used yourself as an example and seem hung on her description of belching and seem to take offense at it: "I want to help the world be a better place, and that's hard to do when someone's making petty complaints about how I'm a loud belcher who's biologically predestined toward not giving a shit about what any woman has to say."

What you wrote seems like a classic example of taking it personal. That struck me, another male, as odd.

Yeah, and this comment makes you seem like a posturing twit who's trying to get some feminist cred so he can get laid with the smart girls.

That's silly, smart women can spot posturing a mile off.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:19 PM on March 29, 2009


One of the reasons that I wanted to post was because she was specifically explaining behaviors that caused her to leave the site, behavior that was on display in this thread.

Yeah, because god knows if there's any perspective we need more of around here, it's that of people who get all worked up in debate threads and then walk off in a tizzy.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:54 PM on March 29, 2009


people who get all worked up in debate threads and then walk off in a tizzy.

Yeah! I can't stand those fuckers. :)
posted by hifiparasol at 7:58 PM on March 29, 2009


Can I just ask -- with, I hope, not falling into that certain faux pas -- approximately how old the women who have this problem are?

I myself am in my forties, and I find that men my age want to date women in their twenties and thirties. It's rather disheartening to see almost every man on a dating site say, for instance, "I'm forty-nine and would like to date women between 25-35."

And, again, that's about 99 percent of the men whose profiles I've looked at.
posted by OolooKitty at 8:40 PM on March 29, 2009


Telling your friends and family that you're okay being alone when the issue comes up...
...you're okay being alone.

Blogging about it on HuffPo for all the world to see...
...desperate plea for attention.
posted by markkraft at 9:00 PM on March 29, 2009


Metatalk.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:03 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, this thread got nuts. To drop another two cents in, I found the essay aggravating and condescending, because it's trying to say "I'm coping, I'm coping" but it keeps boasting about how well and against what odds, with overdone details that really play into the system of anti-single, anti-older women system she seems to want to decry. I just dislike the prescriptive, categorical approach to culture. Men have turned out to be XY and Z for you? That doesn't mean shit. Keep going, maybe the pattern will shift. People's skin crawls when you say you feel lonely? Well, if you say so. Be it so. But mine doesn't, and I think that sucks. Those people suck. Lots of people suck. What's new?

If being on your own is so okay, why write this? Fucking live it, without paying all this lip service to the oppressive hegemony of coupling and gender/age prescribed roles. Stop repeating those stories, it doesn't stop them.

I guess I now what really sucks about being alone. Having nobody to whine to.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:22 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Blogging about it on HuffPo for all the world to see...
...desperate plea for attention.


Nah, it's marketing. 1.5 million plus eyeballs seeing the name of your for-profit website that provides a service to the people your essay is about? That's gold right there.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:25 PM on March 29, 2009


It does make a person feel defensive. There's a subtle moral failing implied in the judgment people make about solitude. The incidents in which people make those judgments are painful, because I was taught right along with everyone else that people are supposed to be with other people. You can't assert that you're happy being alone, because no one believes you. You can't not mention it, because then people assume you're pining for them to help you and then you have to explain. The biggest crime in the world is to be different without an adequate explanation.

Man, I've had to endure quite a spate of this in recent times. People a generation or two older than me have been taking redundancy packages or retiring from work left, right & centre, and every time somebody leaves a big banquet dinner is organised.

The problem is, they're all "plus partner" invitations, and they're all from the times when marriage was de rigeur, so it ends with a whole mass of married colleagues and their spouses - who've all gotten to know each other over the years - offering their advice and comments on how I should go about getting married, which is a topic almost totally & permanently absent from my mind.

So, I have a Vietnamese woman sitting on one side of me, asking if I'm interested in Asian women, telling me how dutiful they are, and what hard-headed bargainers they are when out shopping. Oh, and here's the best astrological way to choose one with the right birth sign.

Meanwhile, there's an Indian woman on the other side, wondering if an arranged marriage wouldn't be the best way to go, and explaining all the mechanics of the deal, including more astrological insights.

Later, a retiring manager in a speech says he'd be overjoyed if & when I and 'John' and 'James' could marry somebody. I thought to myself, "Duh, John's gay, everybody knows that, and James...hang on, he might be gay too, I never thought of that! Wait a minute, what the fuck?!??"
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:56 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


"...desperate plea for attention.

Nah, it's marketing. "


Same difference.

I heard an interview with Arianna Huffington a few days ago about her site, where the interviewer made the point that none of the various "celebrity" bloggers who blog on her site are paid for it... and basically, she seemed came off as very much like the cat that ate the canary.

She has readers, therefore free content comes to her. And readers comes to her, in large part, because she has free content.

Which is fine, so long as you take into account that what you're really reading is oftentimes self-serving, self-aggrandizing, self-important marketing material, designed to establish someone else's opinion as more important than yours... whether they're dead wrong or not.
posted by markkraft at 9:58 PM on March 29, 2009


Just wanted to echo jokeefe's comment and say thanks, Brandon Blatcher.
posted by dolca at 10:31 PM on March 29, 2009


I'll add that her article reads to me as warm and amused with a love for life - the only thing in that list I'm unsure about is "I choose not to get on the Internet because it's humiliating to be turned down by someone I have no interest in when ten years ago I wouldn't have been turned down by that person, or even one I did have interest in", and that seems largely to be (an admittedly unclear sentence) about dealing with being an older woman. She sounds like a nice person, even in her replies to comments. Much of the negative reactions to her writing in this thread feels at best extremely uncharitable.
posted by dolca at 10:58 PM on March 29, 2009


Good thread all around but this: "I don't want my heart broken again. Ever."
that's the clincher.
If you're afraid of that you're afraid of being alive.
If want to make sure your heart wont be broken ever don't:

Vote
Have children
Read novels
Be a fan of tv shows or comic book characters
Believe in a religion
Have close friends
create art and expect people to enjoy it
dance
dream
etc etc etc

Life is a series of heartbreaks, and every attempt to make it better is a multitude of failure spiced up with a single win to make it tempting every now an then. If you don't feel like dating at any age-- cool, good for you...but disavowing an endeavor because of the risk of being devastated is cowardice pure and simple. Our only choice is to try and beat the odds--be the 50 or 20 or 10 % that finds happiness, because 100% of us end up dead anyway.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:03 PM on March 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


that last part of that last statement: "...and who doesn't make me smile enough to put up with strange noises and indifference."... She'd be willing to put up with all that if the guy made her laugh enough.

I know women are empty-headed gold diggers, I'm just looking for one who's pretty enough to make me overlook it.

It's about the same density of sexist stereotyping, but for some strange reason I doubt you'd be as quick to defend it.

But I'm glad to see the lurkers support you in email.
posted by rodgerd at 11:36 PM on March 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


If being on your own is so okay, why write this?

She answered that in the first paragraph:
People ask me why I'm still alone, and why I don't seek to date much, eight years after my husband died. I thought about it the other day, and came up with a few of the reasons.
It's about the same density of sexist stereotyping, but for some strange reason I doubt you'd be as quick to defend it.


Nah, I thought it was pretty basic point that she making: the people we love can do all the annoying things that we would normally find irritating, but because they have that special chemistry that makes us love them, those traits aren't so annoying.

Good thread all around but this: "I don't want my heart broken again. Ever." that's the clincher. If you're afraid of that you're afraid of being alive.

I agree with that in general, but I wonder if that sentiment was echoes of having her second husband die eight years ago and the circumstances of it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:43 AM on March 30, 2009


Good thread all around but this: "I don't want my heart broken again. Ever." that's the clincher. If you're afraid of that you're afraid of being alive.

How many times does someone have to have their heart broken before they're allowed to decide they're over it? We're not talking about a prematurely bitter 23 year old here, we're talking about an older woman who's had a fruitful and eventful life. She's been in love before, but damn, romantic relationships aren't the only thing worth doing in life.
posted by harriet vane at 1:45 AM on March 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


And: you only get one turn at life. Spending all of it pursuing romantic opportunities, especially when you've already had good fun with them before, seems a bit limiting to me. There's a whole world of experience out there, but this woman is supposed to spend her time trying to meet a guy instead of travelling the world or spending time with friends or helping raise her grandkids or learning to abseil or whatever?

If she'd written the opposite article, about how lonely she was, and how she had a busy life but it was worthless without a man to share it with, the same people complaining now would be saying she should get out there and make herself happy instead of chasing a man, she should be grateful she'd had one really great marriage already. Apparently if you're an older woman, you can't win, so don't try. Fuck I hope that changes before I get old.
posted by harriet vane at 1:51 AM on March 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


Can I just say: okay, I am happily, happily, happily engaged, but when I was reading some of these, I was thinking, "Oh yeah, I used to do that when I was single. Man, I miss that."

As much as it sucks to be single, the one advantage is that assuming you do not allow yourself to become encumbered by other considerations (job, family, etc), then you are totally and completely free. You really can drop everything and go off traveling somewhere (I still travel, but now it's with my fiancee and these things have to be planned well in advance to accommodate both schedules).

I think she did better when she stuck to specifics about things she enjoyed and steered away from generics ("I enjoy solitude" as a reason why you like being lonely? That's like giving "I like corn that is popped" in a list of 20 reasons why you like popcorn) and criticisms of potential partners.

I don't care how old, ugly, or whatever this woman is, she is alone because she wants to be. And even if she didn't "want" to be alone, she's still making conscious decisions to stay alone. Pretty much anyone, male or female (but, and maybe this is just a grass-is-greener thing, particularly female) can find a mate if they're determined (step 1: look harder, step 2: lower standards if necessary). She seems to have made the decision that she prefers her quirks to being with someone else. Not everyone works with the whole two souls united thing. Not everyone is lucky enough to find someone that really meshes.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:26 AM on March 30, 2009


The most reassuring thought you can cling to as a window/widower -- for at least some people -- is that you've been through (or are currently dealing with) the single most painful event you could (and will) ever experience*. I honestly don't think being told you have a terminal disease and three excruciatingly painful months to live (and the following 3 months) would even come close to losing your beloved. And obviously the death of other loved ones would hurt like hell, but nothing compares to the unbearable sorrow, guilt, and sense of hopeless longing you have to endure on a daily basis when you've lost the love of your life.

So I think it all boils down to, "Never wanting your heart broken again. Ever".

*I will admit that losing a child an be even worse for most folks, so the above applies to a childless person.
posted by Devils Slide at 4:26 AM on March 30, 2009


I'm one of those people who's content to live alone and am not actively looking for a relationship. While a few of her reasons for being alone are good ones, a lot of it sounds like she's trying to convince herself.
...my Aunt Hilda drove a pink Caddy with fins and carried a pistol and had blonde hair. She lived alone after my Uncle Arty died. She ate out at the Jaeger House in Yorkville and the waiter knew she liked Pinch neat and a veal chop, and she traveled by herself to Bermuda and it all seemed so glamorous.
That's great for her Aunt Hilda. I go to restaurants alone and travel alone, too. But it doesn't sound like Lane is following her Aunt Hilda's example:
I find myself sitting in front of the computer, and three hours later I look up and the sun is down and it's too late to ask someone to go out to dinner, so I spread some cream cheese and mild salsa on wheat crackers and watch Olbermann.
You don't have to ask someone to go out to dinner, as her Aunt Hilda proved. If she doesn't want to go out to dinner at all, that's fine, but her stated reason that she doesn't want to "ask someone" belies that.
I can watch movies at home and don't have to drive to the Multiplex anymore, which I hated to do alone.
Why should she hate to go to the multiplex alone? Does she think her Aunt Hilda would have avoided going to the movies alone?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:13 AM on March 30, 2009


You know, I really gotta object to this practice. If someone gets so miffed that they cancel their account, they should probably stay gone. Either that, or they should have the guts to pay the $5 and stand behind their comment. None of this passive-aggressive proxy commenting.

I entirely disagree, and I think this sentiment is childish, on the order of posting a SEEKRIT DUNGEON sign and talking about how great the clubhouse is and how stupid everybody outside the club is. And what the fuck do you care if someone left the site? Would it have made you happier if Brandon Blatcher hadn't mentioned that fact, but just said "A non-member wrote..."? Me, I welcome all interesting perspectives, and I'm glad Brandon Blatcher chose to post this one. And I'd like to join the crew thanking Brandon Blatcher for fighting the good fight here with such patience and good humor; I don't think I'd be capable of it. The pile-on in this thread is revolting, and some of you people should look in a mirror and ask yourself 1) whether you're really that perfect and 2) what happened to your capacity for empathy.
posted by languagehat at 8:43 AM on March 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


I don't have a roommate because I hate being sodomized.
posted by klangklangston at 9:22 AM on March 30, 2009


The pile-on in this thread is revolting, and some of you people should look in a mirror and ask yourself 1) whether you're really that perfect and 2) what happened to your capacity for empathy.

languagehat, I'm a little curious as to how this is a "pile-on." Many of the people in this thread, myself included, readily admit that there's nothing wrong with embracing the single life, but the writer of this (essay, list of random shit, whatever we're calling it) comes off as defensive and sexist (as someone mentioned upthread, it's less a problem with the subject matter than a problem with the writing). To me at least, it's more sad than anything else. There's some snark here, to be sure, but the number of thoughtful, well-written comments. To refer to more than one person disagreeing with the essay's assertions and writing choices a "pile-on" seems pretty unfair to me.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:55 AM on March 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thanks LH. Between this thread and the newer one about the pilot who sued over porn being left in the cockpit of the planes she was flying, I'm feeling pretty distanced from Mefi at the moment. Where the comments here always so virulent, and at such a high percentage of the entire thread? I seem to remember not, but perhaps I'm wrong.
posted by jokeefe at 9:59 AM on March 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Where the comments here always so virulent, and at such a high percentage of the entire thread? I seem to remember not, but perhaps I'm wrong.

Dare I say it? Confirmation bias.

But for that matter, I don't see these comments as virulent. I think there are good reasons for some people to stay single, and even more so those who are in the situation of this author. She lists a few of these reasons, and a bunch of crappy reasons to pad out this list. It's not surprising that people who disagree with her conclusions are going to focus on the weaker parts of her argument, and there are so many.
posted by grouse at 10:07 AM on March 30, 2009


I entirely disagree, and I think this sentiment is childish, on the order of posting a SEEKRIT DUNGEON sign and talking about how great the clubhouse is and how stupid everybody outside the club is. And what the fuck do you care if someone left the site? Would it have made you happier if Brandon Blatcher hadn't mentioned that fact, but just said "A non-member wrote..."? Me, I welcome all interesting perspectives, and I'm glad Brandon Blatcher chose to post this one. And I'd like to join the crew thanking Brandon Blatcher for fighting the good fight here with such patience and good humor; I don't think I'd be capable of it. The pile-on in this thread is revolting, and some of you people should look in a mirror and ask yourself 1) whether you're really that perfect and 2) what happened to your capacity for empathy.


Totally agree with you...I dont care about who is a member or not...alll I want is as many different points of view as possible (for and against) regardless of who they are from.
posted by The1andonly at 10:17 AM on March 30, 2009


To repeat, the Mysterious Former Member thing has been MeTa'd.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:22 AM on March 30, 2009


To be totally clear, I do agree that there are a lot of situations where Mefites clamor to be the first to claim the wittiest expression of Coolness-Via-This-Sucks-ism. I just don't think that's what's happening here. I think a lot of people are expressing genuine arguments about why this article doesn't cut the expository/persuasive mustard.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:31 AM on March 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread made me hit my favorite limit for the day all over my keyboard.
posted by tehloki at 1:26 AM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


it's astonishing to me that people insist on seeing this article and what it says in such negative light, when it's actually vibrantly full of life.
posted by Brandon Blatcher

It's fully of bitterness. I'm astonished you insist on not seeing this.

It might be wise to note the map she's drawn and remember it, as it might help guide us one day, be it down the same path or a different one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher


No. Even if most commenters are wrong, there's very little there useful as a map.

languagehat, I'm a little curious as to how this is a "pile-on."

That's just languagehat being languagehat.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 11:12 PM on April 1, 2009


It's fully of bitterness. I'm astonished you insist on not seeing this.

It comes down to how you see the world.

It would be easy to continue the "I'm right, you're wrong" line of argument, but that won't get us anywhere or at least hasn't so far. Reading it over again this morning, I can see how some find bitterness, but ultimately I do find it hopeful and life affirming. The author may not completely happy with her situation, but she is choosing to be happy rather than wallow in negative aspects. To me, that's a good thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:36 AM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bitter or not, I just found it trite and full of stereotypes. But to each their own. Obviously some people liked it.
posted by agregoli at 8:08 AM on April 4, 2009


Can you point to examples? I'm genuinely curious.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:50 PM on April 5, 2009


I'll take on your request, Brandon. I haven't read this thread in a bit, so please excuse if I'm repeating what others have said above.

I'm told it's off-putting to be a widow who loved a special man.
That's an especially pessimistic sentiment, as if to say that any man she would marry wouldn't understand she loved her dead husband.

I'm now used to getting up when I want and drinking from the juice bottles and not shaving my legs... and not that many people can deal with that kind of thing.
I think the sense that no one could deal with her peccadilloes is sad, maybe not bitter. There's an underlying stereotype that men are inflexible as well.

who wants to hang out with somebody who might take off at any minute for Zanzibar and leave them to take care of the cat?
Either she's saying that the new guy will run off or she's saying that she'll go to Zanzibar. If you or your significant other wants to go on an exotic vacation alone, this is not the relationship you're looking for. It implies that no relationship can be functional.

my adorable granddaughters provide the passion, and I long for them like I used to long for a lover.
This speaks to a bitterness about passion (and also, uh, maybe a confusion about the definition of passion).

I don't want to be a nurse for the men who still run after me, who can't even run.
This makes my skin crawl. She's basically saying "I don't want to date someone who will get old and whom I might have to take care of." It's selfish and bitter and bratty.

unlike some women my age who settle, I want a bit more than "mammal" on my wish list.
Never mind her completely dismissing women who have married later in life, the bitterness at saying a man who might marry her is indistinguishable from a chimp is overwhelming.

This gem really speaks for itself, and it's the piece de resistance, the crowning glory of stereotyping and bitterness all wrapped up in a nice bow.
I'm independent and outspoken and most men don't much care for women who debate them and who don't hope to get married and cook for them.
posted by incessant at 2:24 PM on April 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thank you, incessant. Yes, that last one makes me about choke, it's so blecch and sexist and stuck in the 50's.
posted by agregoli at 3:39 PM on April 5, 2009


And yet for her age range that last one is pretty spot on for many men out there. You guys gotta remember the thing about generational layers. All you younger liberated men and you early adapter older ones who hang out here...there are a ton of men in my husband's and my dad's generation who seriously will sit at the table and wait for the cup of coffee to be poured for them and never ever think about returning the favor. IT WILL NEVER EVEN OCCUR TO THEM.

Be thankful that you are so insulted. Because for years that was reality, and it has not died out yet in that age range.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:44 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm told it's off-putting to be a widow who loved a special man.
That's an especially pessimistic sentiment, as if to say that any man she would marry wouldn't understand she loved her dead husband.


Judging from her statement on this, that's exactly what's she's saying, based on the experiences she had. So it seems odd to blame her for the situation when it's the crappy males who feel threatened by her dead husband and she'd rather not date anyone who felt so threatened.

I think the sense that no one could deal with her peccadilloes is sad, maybe not bitter. There's an underlying stereotype that men are inflexible as well.

Eh, I've heard this sentiment echoes by several older people, male and female, so it seems more like an age thing, to me. After a certain point, people just get ingrained in their habits and don't want to change or have to deal with the potential of demands of change.

It implies that no relationship can be functional.
Eh, this was the only one that seemed slightly bitter to me, as if someone had run off and left her. I can't tell if that's what really happened or she's still majorly hurt and angry over her husband's death.

This speaks to a bitterness about passion (and also, uh, maybe a confusion about the definition of passion).

See I don't see that at all, it seems like a growth of passion, where it is no longer about the sexual side, but about enjoying life itself. Kids can inspire that, they're so full of life sometimes, it reminds you of what a unique gift that it is is, so I imgaine grandkids (i.e. you can do all the fun stuff with out having to parent them) can really pull all those strings. It's not the same type of love as having a significant other, of course, but it is one of the more purest and unselfish types of love, so I get what she's saying.

She's basically saying "I don't want to date someone who will get old and whom I might have to take care of."

See to me, it sounds like she doesn't want the type of man who comes to her looking for a caretaker. She buried her husband, I imagine she's done quite a lot of care taking and doesn't want to start off a new relationship that way. Seems reasonable, she wants a mate, not a child.

the bitterness at saying a man who might marry her is indistinguishable from a chimp is overwhelming.

Wow, I didn't see it so literally at all. It seems she meant that she didn't want to settle as she's seen some women her age do, just to have someone there.

t's the piece de resistance, the crowning glory of stereotyping and bitterness all wrapped up in a nice bow.

It's odd to me that so many seem bothered by that statement, as it seems like a typical occurrence for a woman of her generation, where women weren't supposed to be outspoken or have their opinions. Her refusal to submit to that strikes me as powerful, as in "I'd rather spend the rest of my day alone than submit or shut up for any potential mate"

Anyway, that's for responding as that clears up a bit of my confusion as to how others were seeing the article.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:23 PM on April 5, 2009


Glad you wanted to hear the other side, Brandon.
posted by agregoli at 2:53 PM on April 6, 2009


St Alia of the Bunnies: You guys gotta remember the thing about generational layers.

I get you, and this is the best argument I've heard here in her defense. My mom married a much older guy, and the sexism in our house was stifling even to me. So I can understand how her opinions have been formed in a very specific context.

But ultimately, her words are still destructive. I can cut her a bit of slack given the place she's coming from, but in the end, the background of the speaker matters about a thousand times less than the impact their words have. Clearly she's speaking out not as a advocate for living single here, but as an advocate for women living single in the midst of a society that expects every woman to have a man by a certain age. So whether she wants to take responsibility for it or not, there's a measure of feminist thought being expressed. And what she's saying about men here -- even if it's true in the case of every man she's ever met since her husband died -- is destructive to the ongoing dialogue on gender relations of which this essay, like it or not, is a part.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:50 PM on April 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


And what she's saying about men here -- even if it's true in the case of every man she's ever met since her husband died -- is destructive to the ongoing dialogue on gender relations of which this essay, like it or not, is a part.

I love this. Her personal experiences don't matter, it's the "ongoing dialogue on gender relations" that is most important, so maybe she should just keep quiet, eh?.

You've come a long way baby.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:03 PM on April 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, my gramma used to say that she wasn't racist, it was just that every black she met was either lazy or a criminal.

It's similar to someone who complains that every relationship they've been in has ended in a similar bad way—the common denominator is you, baby.
posted by klangklangston at 12:12 PM on April 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


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