Hmm… where to begin. It’s not like this is exactly your typical BG-solved sitch, but then again, maybe it’s worthy of your superpowered consideration. File this under “Surviving when single.”
A bit of background. I’m 27 and single, which I’m fine with — or at least trying to be. It’s getting to the point, though, that lots of my friends are no longer single. I’m WAY fine with that. (Gives me hope.) My two friends from college, and my two friends that they’re married to (roommates married roommates — is that cute or what?) have recently moved into my area. The couples have stayed in pretty close touch. Now, I’m DYING to get together to catch up and reminisce, but there are a few problems.
1. Although I’m fine with being the “odd number,” it could make things a bit weird. I’d ask someone to join me, but talk about your “odd numbers” — have you ever gone along as a “second” out with a bunch of old friends? NOT pretty. How to defuse the tension of being “the lone singleton?”
The endless obsession with how women are going to die alone because they have brains and casual sex [and "post-feminist" "freedom" --BG] has truly become the gift that keeps on giving. Mix one part college student sample, a few scattered inconsistent findings based on loosely correlated “evidence,” sweeping generalizations reinforcing female anxiety around mating and some slut-shaming for good measure and voila, you have yourself “relationship advice” from a “doctor.” The CNN health blog writes about a new book, Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying, by none other than “get married early” Mark Regenerus and sociologist Jeremy Ueker.
CNN concludes from a precursory look at the book men have the upper hand in the sexual economy. This is not because women are judged based on their promiscuity or lack thereof in a way that men rarely are or because men face pressure to have casual sex like a stud and deny their romantic feelings for relationships. Or because when you are a woman between 18-23 male attention and the desire to “be in a relaysh” has more impact on your self esteem then say when you are a 30-somethinger like me. Or maybe because by 23, you still don’t know what you want out of a relationship. No, no, men have the upper hand in sex and dating because women have too much freedom, sex and education. [See CNN file photo w/article, left, of young woman relishing her freedom.]
[CNN:] Researchers found that since women in the 18- to 23-year-old group feel they don’t need men for financial dependence, many of them feel they can play around with multiple partners without consequence, and that the early 20s isn’t the time to have a serious relationship. But eventually, they do come to want a real, lasting relationship. The problem is that there will still be women who will have sex readily without commitment, and since men know this, fewer of them are willing to go steady. [Go steady? - BG]
“Women have plenty of freedom, but freedom does not translate easily into getting what you want,” Regnerus said. ["So maybe you don't need it so much. At least not if you want a man." -- BG]
Though it’s not based entirely on fiction, it’s rife with unexamined assumptions. Bottom line, if women no longer need men then why would they be competing for men? Feh.
Bonus: Good stuff on men being humans! With feelings! here.
Filed under: media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 2:15 pm
The above, posted by Gwen at TheSocietyPages.org (and spotted/snapped by one Rachel K. in Toronto), should leave little doubt about how the ringless (and evidently friendless) masses are supposed to feel about themselves. But I’d venture to say it sucks to be the mastermind of an ad campaign that, in addition to being hell on the eyes, makes no sense. So if you buy a ring you’ll meet someone? That seems forward. It also seems capitalistically unwise to be harsh on the unmarried, who might, with another ad on another day, have been encouraged (though there are other reasons I don’t love this gambit) to purchase some sort of splurgy, sparkly single bling.
Anyway, back to Gwen: “…I’d say that what sucks isn’t being “alone,” it’s being told constantly that you must be sad and miserable since you aren’t coupled up.” Rah.
More on the ad, others like it, and “singlism” in general from Bella DePaulo here.
We enjoyed this ruefully sweet essay by Sofi Papamarko in today’s Salon.com, in which she gets sucked into The Sims as an alternative to her — she felt — stalled single universe, which appeared to be late in delivering her standard coupled-up fantasies:
It is impossible to overstate how astonishingly easily my dream life came to me, how addictively its rewards added up. At the beginning of the game, for instance, I was given a charming little house in a nice neighborhood. Given! It was handed to me! I didn’t have to scrimp or save or deal with real estate agents or even apply for a mortgage! Landing a terrific job was as easy as showing up to the town hall in a pair of tight leather pants. I told my boss a couple of jokes and was instantly rewarded with a promotion and a healthy raise. In real life, my neglected tomatoes wither on the vine, despite my best intentions. In the game, I harvested huge, succulent crops after watering them no more than twice. I became a master angler and a gourmet cook, whipping up red snapper and catfish gumbo as if I were the secret love child of Nigella Lawson and Bobby Flay. Everything was easy.
And then I met Walter.
Ooh! Read the rest to find out how virtual Walter — and Bernie, and Jack — help Sofi discover that her reality is pretty fantastic, after all.
Ooh! “Singles for Foursquare builds a dating and messaging service on top of the location-sharing application. The result is a mashup that could match up hip iPhone-using, Foursquare-playing, same-bar-going early adopters.”
ProgrammableWeb also has this keen idea for version 2.0: “The concept could actually be expanded to connect users in a time-shifted manner. Rather than needing to be at the same place at the same time, Singles could recognize two of its users that frequent a particular restaurant and suggest they go at the same time. With dating sites based on even more tangential commonalities, it seems like a reasonable service to give to Foursquare users who tend to love their local businesses.” Plus, no LDRs.
Lauren Graham in More Magazine: “I’ve only connected with people I met by accident,” she says. “My first boyfriend in high school was the guy who sat in front of me, because, you know, alphabetically we were soul mates. I looked at the back of his head long enough that I was like, ‘I think I’m in love with you.’ ” Any pressure she might feel about settling down is external, not internal. “What is so funny to me is I’m in a profession where two percent of people are working, yet there’s still this implication that you’re not completely successful if you’re single and in your forties,” she says. “Well, why not? I wanted a horse when I was growing up too. Does that mean I’m not successful, because I don’t have a horse?”
Author (and FOBG) Lori Gottlieb appeared on the Today Show this morning to discuss her — to me, bizarrely — inflammatory book, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, which basically urges women to be picky about the important stuff (kindness) and not picky about the not-important stuff (height), and which Lemondrop summarizes rather equitably here. What it’s left in its wake is a lot of women feeling very rankled and defensive about being told they should “settle,” which is not really what Lori is saying. That said, I understand the defensiveness. Women, rightly, do not like to hear, which they often do, over and over, that they are “too picky.” (Yes, picky. About the person you are going to spend your life with. Urr?) Not that there aren’t women (and men) who are indeed “too picky.” But to be told that, or to get that message from our culture, which single women do, over and over, can be insulting, dismissive, unsympathetic. For one thing among many, it puts the dating onus squarely and only on the woman, whereas it’s not like every still-single woman is surrounded by terrific uncomplicated men on bended knee, just waiting for her to get over her thing about bowties or “no lawyers” or whatever. Women who have gone on a million dates with and given a million chances to a million perfectly nice guys who for whatever legitimate reason leave them lukewarm do not want to hear that they are “just being picky.” They are tired. They are trying. Go away. That’s part of my theory, anyway, for why Lori’s message, fairly or not, has left so many women so totally steamed.
I also wonder this: to the degree that men are paying attention to this tempest in a coffee-date, how does this message make you feel? If I may render it in the shorthand of stereotype, it’s basically “give the short bald poor guy a chance.” Do you feel that Lori’s advice, for those who follow it, could spell triumph for the common man? Let us know in comments!