But I wondered: As marriage inches toward the take-it-or-leave-it category — for both sexes — and there are more never-married men between the ages of 40 and 44 than ever before (20.4 percent at last census count), is being a perpetual (hetero) bachelor still considered a little … “You can always judge a guy by what’s in his refrigerator,” she says.
“Literally all he had in his was a pint of vanilla Häagen-Daz.
When Beth, one of my better researchers, said that men who were averse to commitment were drawn to her like bees to honey, I gave her a copy of the summary report of my research on “why men marry.” The report showed that the primary reason a man asks one woman to marry and not another is that each woman treats him differently.
After looking it over for about fifteen minutes, Beth returned the report to my desk and told me I was a male chauvinist. I was fond of Beth and trying to help her, so after I recovered, I asked her what made her think that.
You can be legally single, socially single, or personally single. Maybe you have been part of a committed couple for decades, but unless you made your union official and legal, you still count as legally single. In our article, "The unrecognized stereotyping and discrimination against singles," Wendy Morris and I noted that "impressions of seriousness are shaped by factors such as the length of time the twosome has been together, the regularity and exclusivity with which they see each other, whether they seem to intend to stay together, and whether they live together." Whether other people see you as part of a couple (your social status) can be even more significant to your everyday life, and how other people treat you, than your legal status. Jaclyn: Bella, I respect your work tremendously, and I know you use the word "single," as many people do.
I myself have trouble with that term, and I don't use it anymore. It implies that any unmarried person is a fragmentary half-self awaiting completion in a spouse.
In many ways, he’s right: Never-married heterosexual men over the age of 40 have always had a stigma. (A lot of gay men, yes, but also a lot of straight dudes who care more about their triathlon training than tying the knot.) “The guys over 40 I’ve dated all have the Peter Pan complex,” she says. Worse: Many still have roommates and wear backpacks. “There are always exceptions.”Even, apparently, in New York City, another hub of never-marrieds.
My Three Senses of Single I think of 'single' in three different ways, which often overlap. (That's one of the reasons why same-sex marriage is pursued with such intensity.) Also, some of the people in your life might think it matters whether you are legally married. This is a much more slippery matter than the legal definition. Usually, if other people see you as coupled, you do, too. Sometimes other people think you are Jack And Jill but you see yourself as Jack. Maybe there were two people out to fetch a pail of water, but you climbed that damned hill yourself! Here's an excerpt from our conversation: Bella: I think I first learned that "spinster" once had a positive meaning from reading Here Comes the Bride. Is that the word you think we should use to refer to single women?
Put the coconut water on the top shelf by mistake and thought he was going to collapse in his granite perfection of a kitchen in a full on seizure. Being married before means you are brave enough to make a commitment. Don’t believe their professions that they just haven’t found “someone”. Leave these men to embarrass themselves and date cocktail waitresses who are 22.
His entire refrigerator was categorized by shelves with its own Excel spreadsheet. I dated one man who whined about how women didn’t understand him, that everyone he cared for left him. All the women with any intelligence and self worth did leave when they figured out he was a narcissistic asswipe with the emotional maturity of a five year old.
First, Beth reviewed the literature and research we had on file.
With this in mind, I reviewed our interviews with men and women who were planning to marry and videos of two focus groups we had run with single men.