Menstuff® has compiled information on the issue of the single
A record number of women are choosing
not to have children
Louis CK - Single People
Are You Better Off Single?
When it pays to stay single
Dear Rest of the World, I'm Perfectly Happy (Choosing) to Be Single
Single in the Suburbs
Single on Valentines? Hooray! Single and Loving It
The single folks Hall of Fame
Top 10 Date Movies
Top 10 Signs It's Over
Top 10 Signs You're Whipped
Top 10 Signs Your First Date Was A Success
Top 10 Ways To Make Her Approach You
Top 40 Best Places to Be Single
A record number of women are choosing
not to have children
But the expectation to have kids is still there. Women who make
the choice to forgo motherhood are slammed as selfish or immature.
Entire articles are dedicated to the plethora of reasons women choose
not to have kids, as if their decision warrants a longer explanation
than "works for her, not for me."
The single folks Hall of Fame
Your own firsthand experience has undoubtedly acquainted you with some of the benefits of flying solo. When you dont have that automatic Friday night date, its a push to go out and figure out what gets you excited, explains Sasha Cagen, author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics. Its good to have the time to figure out what you love to do outside of work and romantic relationships.
But if youre not a believer yet, then look at these seven amazing singles. From celebrities you may not have guessed were unattached to ordinary people doing extraordinary things, our Single Hall of Famers prove that you dont have to be hitched to have a happy ending.
There was a time when Diane Keaton felt she had to find a man. The Oscar-winning actress, who leapt to stardom as the charmingly neurotic Annie Hall in the 70s, has said that theres a certain point in all our lives when were biologically driven toward the opposite sex: You dream about men, you love them, youre excited by it, and I dont feel that way now.
Why the change of heart? With a relationship record that has included the notoriously high-maintenance Woody Allen and Warren Beatty, Keaton, 60, says it was a combination of age and experience. Her true loves now, she says, are adopted children Duke and Dexter, and she considers mother the greatest role of her life.
With 40 films already under her belt and several comedies in the works, her acting career usually centered on playing strong, quirky women is showing no sign of slowing down. When shes not acting, Keaton serves on the board of the Los Angeles Conservatory, a group dedicated to making sure the citys architectural gems grow old gracefullymuch as shes doing.
Bill Hemmer has never been content to settlewhen it comes to his love life or his career. His decade of reporting, first for CNN and now for Fox News, has included memorable stints in Kuwait and Afghanistan. But its not just his reportorial skills that have earned him all his fans... hes easy on the eyes, too. When asked about his leading-man good looks, he jokes that his ears and his listening skills are his best features.
Hemmer, 41, doesnt ever seem to sit still, filling his downtime with skydiving, bungee jumping and other extreme sports. Hes said that hed love to get married and have kidsbut he isnt rushing love. If it happens, great, hes said. If it doesnt happen, Im not going to force it. And newsflash it certainly seems that more and more other single people have adopted that same attitude in recent years.
If you think journalism and politics are still a mans world, dont tell that to Maureen Dowd. The only female columnist at The New York Times, the 54-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner has tackled every topic, from former President Bill Clintons presidential scandal to the evolution of the gender wars, in the process earning the nickname The Cobra from Dubya. Even those on the receiving end of her barbs cant help but acknowledge the charm and Hollywood-style sex appeal of the feisty redhead. Former boyfriend and West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin called her a dream girl... like she stepped out of a movie from the 40s.
Though she earns praise from presidential press secretaries and ex-boyfriends, two groups you might not expect to have anything nice to say, Dowd holds fast to the belief that she doesnt need a man in her life. Men used to be necessary in terms of reproduction and refinance, she said when promoting her book Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide, but we dont need them for that anymore. Theyll be necessary like ice cream is necessary. Which isnt to say that love and relationships shouldnt be enjoyedjust that this is one woman, like many other single people, whom youll never find sitting home by the phone.
Even when his only acting credits were cheesy sitcoms and B-movies, George Clooney turned heads. These days, though, he also makes people sit up and listen. Over the past decade, Clooney has evolved from sexy actor to sexy and powerful actor, producer and director, not to mention Oscar winner. Between making movies that make people think to his political activism in troubled regions such as Darfur, he has become one of the leading liberal voices in Hollywood. You may love it or you may hate it, but you have to admire a man who stands up for what he believesand actually manages to effect change.
But one role he swears that hell never reprise is that of a husband. His four-year marriage to Talia Balsam ended in 1993, and he famously told Barbara Walters that hed never marry again. I love women, I love their company, hes said. But after going through a marriage which turned out to be a disaster and some other relationships which I thought would turn out but didnt, obviously you begin to doubt whether youre really cut out for long-term commitment. But while the world may see him as an eternal bachelor, Clooney, 45, says hes been in a serious relationship for 15 yearswith his Vietnamese pot-bellied pig named Max.
San Francisco Chronicle writer Jane Ganahl is not only a keen observer of single lifeshes also a champion of it. In her critically acclaimed column, Single-Minded, the 40-something Ganahl sings the praises of flying solo by reminding readers that their unmarried status allows them to have more room in the tub during bubble baths, buy the flowers they really like and do exactly what they want to do, when they want to do it.
Should I be down in the dumps, lonely or ashamed on V-Day? she mused recently about the holiday that single people are supposed to dread. Nah, it takes too much effort. Id rather do what Ive done in other boyfriend-free years: have lunch with girlfriends and have a really nice spa treatment.
Other issues she explores in her column range from the political impact of the growing numbers of unmarried voters to the dating guides that make being unattached sound like a disease. Yes, the world is finally catching on to the fact that middle-aged doesnt mean dead or even dormant, she writes in a recent piece. I think for many, what comes next is a more fulfilling lifewhere being single is not considered a problem to be fixed.
Tall, blonde and beautiful, actress Charlize Theron is known as much for her glamour as for her willingness to discard it for choice movie roles. Conventional wisdom would say that she could have her pick of husbands... but walking down the aisle isnt a goal of hers. The 30-year-old Oscar winner says you dont need a marriage ceremony or certificate to have a great relationship. Im happy for people who want to be married, but its not my thing, Theron said recently. I dont need to wear a white dress and throw a big party. To me, thats like a premiere.
Theron, whos been in a serious relationship with actor Stuart Townsend, says she would like to have a family someday. But weary of media speculation over whether she and Townsend will tie the knot, she told Extra that they would marry only when the U.S. government grants gay and lesbian couples the right to wed as well. Weve decided that were going to use that in a positive way, she said. So the day that law gets passed, then well get married.
Possibly the best-known woman in America, Oprah Winfrey embraces her single status. While marketing consultant Stedman Graham has been her steady for 20 years, Oprah says marrying him would jeopardize the relationship. Stedmans a traditional black man, she told the Chicago Sun-Times recently, but Im in no way a traditional woman. With a daytime talk show thats topped the ratings for two decades, O magazine, cables Oxygen Network, an impressive acting and producing résumé, a charitable foundation that has channeled millions into social causes and her status as the first female African-American billionaire in the U.S., thats an understatement, to say the least.
Questions about whether she will ever get married have, at times,
become a national obsession. But Winfrey says that people dont
actually care about her relationship; they just want to see an
extravagant wedding. They want to see doves fly, she has
said. They want to know what you wore, how much you spent on
the cake, who came. But she says the world is catching on
to what I already know: a piece of paper does not define a
life. One look at her intelligence, creativity and generosity
shows what does.
Source: By Sue McHugh, msn.match.com/msn/article.aspx?articleid=6728&TrackingID=516311&BannerID=544657&menuid=6>1=8535
Are you better off single?
Not only do you have the freedom to do anything you wantits also the best time in history to be flying solo. The marriage rate has declined nearly 50 percent since 1970, according to the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, and right now, there are approximately 100 million singles in the U.S. And theres strength in those numbers: Todays choose-to-be singles differ from the poor-me singles of past generations; theres less of a stigma attached to being single, says Jerusha Stewart, author of The Single Girls Manifesta. Singles are traveling, buying homes and doing everything they want toyou dont have to get married anymore to live your life with style.
Want more specifics on why you should celebrate being single? Here, 10 fascinating benefits to being single rather than un-single:
Reason #1: You have a better body.
Weve all been thereyou get into a relationship, and suddenly youre trying out new recipes all the time and cuddling instead of exercising. Well, things tend to get worse when you become un-single. A recent Cornell University study found that women generally gain five to eight pounds in the first few years of unsingleness and unhappily unsingle women gain an average of 54 pounds in the first 10 years.
For the single, though, the motivation to stay slim remains: Singles look at themselves through the eyes of others and want to be attractive to potential partners, says Susan Davis, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in New York City, so theyre still working on themselves. In short, being single is way better than any New Years resolution or exercise DVD to motivate you to stay in shape.
Reason #2: Youre more likely to achieve great things.
Its amazing what you can accomplish when you have the time, the quiet and the lack of familial responsibilities. In fact, your premarital motivation to excel in life may be biologically programmed. According to a study conducted at the London School of Economics and Political Scientists, male scientists who stay single longer peak in their careers later in life and tend to be more productive than their un-single counterparts. Researchers theorize that men, in general, may show off their talents to win the interest of women and then, once theyve won a wife, get comfortable and do less. In fact, studies have shown that testosterone levels, which boost action, decrease after a man becomes un-single and has children. So single folk should know they are primed to achieve whether that means turbo-charging their careers or honing their rock-climbing skills and get out there and work it!
Reason #3: You do less housework.
You know that saying about a tree falling in a forest and theres no one there to hear it? Well, if you leave a sock on the floor but theres no one else there to see it, does it really need to be picked up? If youre a single woman, you can contemplate deep questions like this one because you have more free time. According to one study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, women do less housework when single than when unsingle. Men, on the other hand, do more housework when single (thats probably because theres someone picking up after them once theyre wed ). So the message here is for single women to enjoy their less chore-filled life; fill those free hours with classes, good books, blabbing with friendswhatever makes you happy.
Reason #4: You can do what you want with your moneyincluding keep it.
Go ahead: Splurge on that pricey moisturizer or that obscenely large plasma TV youve been lusting after. You dont have to justify your purchase to anyone but yourself. Once you mix money with the un-single life, though, things changeand fast. According to a survey by SmartMoney magazine, 40 percent of women and 36 percent of men have lied to their spouses about a purchase. When youre single, your finances are your own, explains Phyllis Chase, a Los Angelesbased psychologist and co-host of the radio show Shrink Rap. When youre unsingle, you have to deal with different styles of spending and saving, and you may take on your partners debt. And an un-single life that doesnt make it for the long haul can also have a major negative effect on ones wealth. According to researchers at Ohio State Universitys Center for Human Resource Research, during a divorce, men and women generally lose three-fourths of their personal net worth. Double ouch.
Reason #5: You have better sex.
Un-single couples may have more sex (approximately 98 times a year vs. singles 49), but singles have better sex. According to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, un-single women are significantly more likely to report problems with their sex lives than single women. People who are dating have better sex because its novel, says Davis. Un-single people have to relearn how to play. Its natural for singles because thats the nature of a courting relationshipthey tease, they experiment, they explore. Nature lends a helping hand, too. According to researchers at the University of Pisa in Italy, raging testosterone levels in both men and women makes the sex hotter during the first two years of a relationship. After that, other hormones take overmost notably, oxytocin, a bonding chemical, kicks in. While getting connected and comfortable is a positive step in a relationship, long-term lovers have to work harder to keep things hot in the bedroom. Singles, however, sizzle just the way they are.
Reason #6: Youre better rested and smarter.
While snuggling up next to a warm body can be pretty fantastic, according to a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, your bedmate can cause you to lose an average of 49 minutes of sleep per night. Sleeping two-to-a-bed just isnt as restful as snoozing solo. Other studies confirm that singles generally get more rest seven to eight hours of sleep a night than un-singles, which enhances memory, mood and concentration, as well as allows your immune system to recharge. And, according to scientists at the University of Luebeck in Germany, creativity and problem-solving may directly correlate with getting enough sleep. In the study, participants were given a math puzzle; those whod had eight hours of sleep or more before tackling it were three times more likely to get the right answer than those who slept less. So, singles, revel in the fact that youre alert, rested and have that extra brain-power edge.
Reason #7: Youre less depressed.
Although the media often perpetuates the image of single people being down in the dumps, overall single people tend to be happier than their un-single counterpartsif youre a woman, that is. One report by the World Health Organization indicated that un-single women, especially ones with children, have a higher risk for depression than single women, and researchers at the University of London found that single women generally have fewer mental-health issues. An un-single life, in many ways, seems to benefit men more than women, says Davis. For women, theres more of a loss of self. And, of course, todays women often feel like they need to do it allhave a career, take care of the kids and perform other traditionally female responsibilities. People who are single are still investing in themselves, says Davis. Its not selfishits giving to yourself, and thats something un-single people can learn from single people.
Reason #8: You have better friendships.
Significant others are a wonderful thing, no doubt, but friends count, too. And on that front, one study found that, when women become un-single and have children, they spend much less time with their friendsless than five hours a week, down from 14 hours. Singles, however, often have the greatest sense of friendship and communitywhich can actually decrease stress levels, according to researchers at UCLA.
Here's another way to look at this: Singles dont rely on just one person to meet their needs. You dont automatically know who youre going to spend Friday night with, says Sasha Cagen, author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics. The plus side is that you have a lot of different people in your life and potentially a greater sense of social possibilities.
Reason #9: Your travel tales are enviable.
Un-singles take the most vacations, dominating the market with 62 percent of all trips taken, but singles arguably go on more interesting trips. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, singles corner the adventure-travel market, engaging in activities like whitewater rafting, scuba diving and mountain biking. Being single and relatively footloose certainly allows you to expand your geographical and personal borders. I have lived abroad, backpacked for close to a year, have been in love three times and much more, says Courtney Davis, 27, a media-relations manager in Boston. With every place and every person, my world has expanded.
Reason #10: You know yourselfand what you want out of a relationship.
Youre a better catch now than you were at 20. You may have signs of, ahem, experience etched on your face, but thats OK because youre more interesting and more self-aware. Not only have you grown as a person, but youve probably been through the ringer a few times in matters of love and now know what you wantand what you dont. Experts say that bodes well for future un-single success and may actually decrease the likelihood of divorce. When people become un-single young, they often feel like the other person will complete them, and they have trouble moving past that Hollywood myth, explains Chase. But maturity brings so much, because if youre able to communicate who you are and what you want, the better your chances of having a successful life as un-single. And thats a wonderful message: Your single self is great... and should you find the right person and decide to become un-single, youre more likely to thrive in that stage of your life, too.
Source: Dawn Yanek is the author of How to Find
the Right Person in 90 Days and Womens Best-Kept
Secrets. She frequently appears on VH-1, MSNBC, and other
networks as a commentator on relationships, celebrities and lifestyle
When it pays to stay single
Every married person who has argued with a spouse about money has longed to be single again and in total financial control.
That wish usually subsides -- how quickly depends in part on the dollar amount in dispute. But that fleeting thought raises an interesting question.
Is there a time when being single is more financially desirable?
Sure, marriage has many economic advantages, such as pooled income, shared health-insurance coverage, although more companies now also offer this benefit to unmarried couples, and Social Security survivor benefits. Even the marriage tax penalty has been eased in recent years.
But in some instances, it's more practical to remain unhitched.
"One thing to keep in mind is that it's always a mix of financial and emotional decisions," says Scott Farber, a wealth management adviser based in Natick, Mass. "It's difficult to look at a relationship from a strictly financial standpoint."
"However, there are some general instances when it might be better not to be married."
That's how Sheryl Garrett, a certified financial planner with Garrett Planning Network in Shawnee Mission, Kan., sees it, too.
"There are definitely way more advantages on (the married) side of the fence," says Garrett. "But there are some clear ones on the unmarried side, too."
While there's no "typical couple" that should consider living together without official legal status, there are some typical issues. Basically, says Garrett, staying legally unattached could be financially beneficial for one or both partners when these five issues come into play:
Credit and debt concerns
Liability for married and unmarried
One of the great things about marriage is you get to share everything. That's also one of the worst things about marriage, especially when it comes to liability issues. You could be financially responsible for judgments against your spouse, such as personal lawsuits or Internal Revenue Service liens and all types of legal actions in between.
Janice K. Hobbs, owner of Jan Hobbs Financial Group in Orange, Calif., says this is a concern of many of her clients who primarily are high-income individuals.
"We have a lot of doctors as clients, both partners are physicians, which is a high-liability profession," says Hobbs. If one of the doctors is sued, the other person's assets are just as liable -- if they are married. By staying single, Hobbs says, only the one physician's income and assets would be at risk.
The liability issue doesn't just worry still-working people who are making a good living.
Garrett says a book buyer raised similar concerns at a signing for her book, "Money without Matrimony," that she co-wrote with Debra Neiman.
The woman, in her late 50s, had a new man in her life and they were considering another go at marriage. She was in a good financial position, but a combination of previous marital and business problems had left him dealing with the aftermath of a divorce, bankruptcy and some lingering financial issues.
"He hadn't had much of a chance to recover financially, although he had moved on emotionally, and he had a terrible credit score. He was a great guy with completely understandable credit problems," says Garrett.
"Her question was, 'If we did get married, would that be a bad idea?' My answer was that if they keep things separately, depending on the state (of residence), his debts in his name and her assets in her name, you're fine. But if he gets sued. ...
"She said, 'Stop. I think we're going to wait.'"
Commingled credit and debt
That cautious woman's remarriage query also raised the issue of shared credit, which Garrett says can go hand in hand with liability worries.
The credit-reporting business has evolved so now each person has an individual credit score. So unless you borrow money together, getting married doesn't automatically hurt you from a credit standpoint, says Garrett.
Debt is a slightly different matter. That's because in some states, when you marry you also marry your spouse's debt, especially if post-marriage payments come out of a joint account.
"If you have a situation where one partner is heavily in debt, especially if the one in debt has fewer assets, marriage could potentially expose the nondebtor's assets," says Farber.
Where you live also could affect your debt status. In community-property jurisdictions -- Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin or Puerto Rico -- community property includes the earnings of both partners while married, as well as everything purchased with that money. If separate property is commingled with community property during a marriage, it could be viewed as community property. Similarly, all debts incurred during marriage, unless specifically noted as separate, become community-property debts.
It's easier to avoid responsibility for a spendthrift partner's debts when you simply live together. Just be sure you don't inadvertently invalidate this unmarried advantage. Don't take on joint transactions, such as helping your financially struggling partner pay an overdue loan, or it could show up on your record, too.
Securing survivor's benefits
When it comes to federal retirement benefits, marriage is advantageous for many couples. A surviving spouse gets to choose between his or her own benefits or those of the deceased spouse, whichever is greater. (This usually happens more often with women, says Garrett, though some men receive such benefits.)
There's no comparable survivorship payment for partners who just live together. But this benefit could interfere with the decision of a widow or widower who wants to remarry.
"Say there's a woman who's a widow and involved with another man," says Garrett. "She has her deceased husband's benefits and the man has his own. Together they have enough to live on comfortably.
"But if they get married, her Social Security goes away and she would qualify for half of her new husband's benefits. That could be several hundred dollars less a month, and that amount could make a big difference."
Hobbs agrees. "If your new spouse doesn't have the same work history as your old spouse, you may have traded off a good benefit," she says.
Contact your local Social Security Administration office and have them run some numbers for your personal situation. The calculations could help you decide whether you want to walk down the aisle.
Garrett also warns couples not to forget about how tying the knot could affect private-sector benefits.
"Fewer people get traditional pensions nowadays, but folks who are now retired historically had a pension. There are a lot of widows out there who have their husbands' pensions. If they remarry, they would lose that pension income. Most seniors know this, but what they don't think about is health coverage, a big issue now. If you're getting health benefits from a deceased spouse's coverage, you could lose that, too.
"I really hate that people would choose not to get married if they really want to because of financial issues," says Garrett, "but at least know what you're getting into."
Older couples, who are depending primarily on federal medical coverage, also need to assess their marital or nonmarital situation carefully.
"One of the reasons to get married is to share benefits if you're older," says Farber. "But the flip side is that you'll then be subject to the Medicare claims thereafter."
For example, say you have a house in your name only. If you're married and your spouse goes into a nursing home, Medicare will want to tap your home, assuming there are no other assets to pay for nursing-home costs, to recoup its expenses, says Farber. "If you're not married, you remove the house from that exposure.
"When you have one spouse that's going to be on Medicare and the non-Medicare spouse is the homeowner, it makes sense to not be married at that point," she says. "I've heard of situations where people even get divorced to prevent exposure of assets they acquired together as a married couple from being subject to claims in this situation."
Taxes and the unmarried couple
By now, almost every taxpayer knows about the marriage tax penalty. This tax-rate quirk generally affects a couple when both earn roughly the same amount.
"The marriage penalty has been minimized greatly from what it used to be," says Garrett, "but it still exists, especially for people who both make a lot of money."
And unless Congress takes action to extend the marriage tax relief, the penalty will return in full force in 2011. Meanwhile, even with the temporary tax relief for married couples, there are other tax situations where being single is more fiscally rewarding.
The tax code is fraught with phase-outs and restrictions. "For example, the Roth IRA contribution limit for married couples is higher but not double that of two singles," says Farber. "If you're single and make between $95,000 and $110,000, you can contribute to an account. If you're married, you can contribute if you make between $150,000 and $160,000.
"If each individual earns $90,000, each can contribute up to the limit unless they are married. By being married, their joint income will be taken into account and neither can contribute to a Roth because it exceeds the limit."
Married couples also could face higher tax costs than living-together counterparts if they own rental real estate.
"Write-offs from rental real estate can be used to offset ordinary income unless your adjusted gross income exceeds $150,000," says Hobbs. "And that limit is the same, whether you're married or single.
"Say you had an unmarried couple and each partner kept an old condo and rented it out. They each would have a $3,000 to $4,000 write-off each year. But a married couple with $200,000 adjusted gross income cannot take any of those losses against ordinary income."
A $100,000-per-year income level is not that unusual for investors looking to get into today's escalating real-estate market, says Hobbs. That means married rental-unit owners in her Southern California location often lose out on expected tax benefits.
Taking care of the kids
Then there are the kids. Both minor children living at home and adult offspring who are long gone can muddle the married-versus-living-together equation.
When it comes to obtaining federal financial aid for college, being unmarried offers an advantage, albeit one that many parents might not be comfortable taking.
"If there's a child where one adult is the legal parent and the other isn't, by law you don't have to report the income of the nonparent, but there are ethical considerations," says Garrett. "The FAFSA form literally asks for the information on the father and mother. If there's no legal mother or father, you're answering it correctly. But if the partner is helping or will help pay for the schooling, that's something you probably should consider in answering." (For more on college funding, read "How to find free money for college." )
A more emotional issue for many unmarried couples is grown kids from previous relationships.
"One of the biggest reasons that some older people choose not to remarry is because of the family dynamics, whiplash or backlash from adult children," says Garrett. "This new person in a parent's life might be really charming and attentive, but might just be after Mom or Dad's money, 'our inheritance.'"
In such cases, Garrett has some unequivocal advice for the kids: "Get your noses out of your parents' business and let them get on with their lives."
Farber agrees that emotional issues "are almost always going to take the front seat." But, he says, "financial issues you can deal with; you can come up with solutions." One of the easiest solutions: basic estate planning.
"You have to have a will or trust in place to direct where your assets will go, regardless of whether you're married or just living together," says Garrett. "If you're married, you can say where you don't want them to go. If you're not married, you can determine where they will go."
This explicit distribution direction is necessary because without it, the state decides. If you stay unmarried and have no will or trust, all your assets will go by default to your next of kin, your children. Your partner will get nothing. Conversely, if you marry and don't have a will or trust, your new spouse will get it all, leaving your kids without an inheritance. (For articles on wills and estate planning, see "Estate planning for everyone." )
"Put in place a living trust that spells out that my partner will
get this and my kids will get this," says Garrett. "Put all that in
print so that it's not left open."
Source: Kay Bell, articles.moneycentral.msn.com/CollegeAndFamily/SuddenlySingle/WhenItPaysToStaySingle.aspx?GT1=8690
Dear Rest of the World, I'm Perfectly Happy
(Choosing) to Be Single
Guess what? Some of us are single by design. Some of us like it.
I'm not trying to be an ingrate -- I get that some people are inquisitive about my relationship status because they care and they want to see me happy. But what if I already am happy? It's like crawling ashore after a shipwreck and having someone smash one of those life-saver donuts over your head. I'm OK, jackass!
Most people don't go out of their way to make you feel bad when you're single -- they just make you feel bad by being themselves. To a lot of people, being "normal" means coupling off, sandbagging yourself against the onslaught of existence by finding somebody to bitch to about your boss and the line at Trader Joe's, somebody who also lets you squeeze their breasts. But life has become this ridiculous "single/not single" binary divide in which the uncoupled are treated as incomplete, awaiting further instructions.
Maybe we don't want them.
Maybe I Don't Want Somebody Special
I know that most of these people mean well and aren't trying to annoy me, yet it annoys me to no end to have someone validate my singlehood ("Good for you!" -- What?) or assume that finding someone is the most important thing to me. (I also hope to read "Moby Dick" and "Ulysses" some day!) The worst is being assured that one day, one glorious day, I'll meet that Special Someone. Apparently, when you become part of a couple, you're granted the powers of clairvoyance -- "I just know it's going to happen for you!" Well thank you, Cassandra!
What is with this "special" sh**, by the way? Everyone's always telling me that I'm "special," and there's "someone special" out there for me, and we'll find something "special." I'd be happy with someone who was cool and funny and likes reverse cowgirl, thank you very much. She doesn't need to be able to play the ocarina while bare-backing atop a galloping mule.
What's with the equestrian theme, you ask? I have no idea!
Maybe I Don't Want Somebody, Period
Also, what if I don't want to be in a relationship? Why must everyone eventually be in a relationship? The world is trending toward later marriages, and fewer of them per capita than there used to be. Ever stop to think that I'm just ahead of my time? Or -- not even -- I'm just of my time? You don't see me badgering you to have your fifth child to help out around the farm, do you?
It's ridiculous that "being in a relationship" is the barometer for a healthy adulthood. Isn't it enough that I'm able to hold down a job (sorta), pay my rent (landlord: just don't cash April's rent check just yet!), and I'm reasonably happy? You know, most motorcycles don't come with sidecars for a reason, people! I am a lone motorcyclist! If I want sidecar attachment, I'll join the circus like a normal person
Maybe I Like Drinking Being Alone
Listen, Otherwise Pleasant Gal Who's Waiting on Me, I don't need the sad face when you clear the extra table setting away. I'm just happy for the space to put my book down. And yes, I realize it's not "normal" for a single diner to order an entire bottle, but maybe I'm not into your so-called normalcy. Bring on that $26 Malbec and, yes, I would like to hear the specials. Haven't you heard? I'm special myself!
And it's not just waitstaff; it's the goddamn government, too! Yes, State of New York, I live alone! I'll be sure to answer that question a half dozen more times on my tax forms, and then again in the census forms you've been sending me nonstop for three months. I LIVE ALONE. THERE IS NO ONE ELSE LIVING HERE. YES, ALONE IS HOW I LIVE. IN THIS APARTMENT WHERE I RESIDE, THERE IS ME AND ONLY ME. I AM A SOLO RESIDER. IF I WERE A STAR WARS CHARACTER I WOULD BE HAN SOLO -- UNTIL HE STARTS DATING LEIA, AT WHICH POINT I'LL BE BOBA FETT, WHO MOST CERTAINLY LIVES ALONE.
Maybe I Don't Want to Make Your Grandchildren/Nieces/Nephews
When I had a roommate, my dad took to telling me he'd love me just as much if I were gay. I started wishing I were gay so he'd stop with the promises and get down to the being fine with me part. How about feeling good about me despite the fact that no one stores an extra toothbrush at my apartment?
My sisters alternate between quiet suspicion of my protracted singlehood and asking if I've ever considered online dating. This is when I tell them -- again -- that I'm not interested in posting misleading photographs of myself onto Match.com and "winking" at random women who may or may not divest me of my spleen if we meet. (Not surprisingly, my brothers-in-law seem to want me to stay single. This is instructive! When I mention a date or a hook-up, they get that psycho-married-dude look in their eyes -- "Hold on, hold back up, just back up -- exactly how long was her finger ...? Also, show me on your finger how far. Point to a knuckle.")
Maybe I Don't Want to Round Out Your Dinner Party / Wedding
Married friends try very hard to be self-aware and not make you feel as if your sex life is somehow lesser than theirs. Mine love to bring up a "great girl" who works in the marketing department who'd be "perfect for you," but never procure a number or email address because they realize they don't want you dating her. (Partially because they don't want you dating somebody they have to see every day, but mostly because the last time they used the laptop at your apartment, they couldn't type a single letter into the search bar without four dozen porn sites springing up. Sue me for not erasing my search history, married friends. I live alone!)
And please, for the love of God, don't call or email me to explain your policy on "plus-ones." I get it, I'm perpetually alone and forever making the seating arrangements impossible to figure out. ("Do we stick him with the cousins? We can't put him with the Bernards and the Felsteins -- he'll make the numbers odd, and there's no way he's getting within nine tables of my sister.") Jesus, please, spare me. I get it. In your world of "serious commitments," I'm always going to be checking off the fish entree and RSVPing for one. Can't wait to celebrate your loving union, though.
Maybe I'm Alone, but I'm Not Lonely
Look, if I want to be set up with somebody, I'll ask to be set up with somebody. If I want to Internet date, I will steal some Wi-Fi and post that one photo of me (taken seven years ago) in which I'm finally caught at a flattering angle (and with a tan). If you deign me worthy of a plus-one, despite my as-far-as-you're-concerned "unhealthy" love life, I can decide for myself whether to bring a date or a hooker or a cat in baby clothes. Or maybe I'll just save you the $200-a-plate you assume will be wasted on a girl who will be very sweet but ultimately unable to deal with my night terrors, pot dependence and refusal to eat portabella mushrooms and come alone. If I want to complain and be morose about not having a girlfriend or a wife or an adorable little mixed race baby to cart around, I will do so. Vocally. Probably after that bottle of wine. Where are you going, waitress, I'm talking to you!
You may assume single people are lonely and unhappy, but if that's the case, why am I smiling and why is your tip so big?
Because I'm happy. And single. And drunk. So there.
[Redacted] Guy is the resident Single Guy writer for Lemondrop. As a teenager, he invented a brilliant new grope called "The Short-Stop" (halfway between second and third base) that made him more popular than DVR, chai and Genesis combined. He sleeps diagonally in bed, because he can.
You can send him hate mail and love letters here.
Top 40 Best Places to Be Single
To put together our first annual guide to the best places for the single life, we looked at each of the most populous 40 metropolitan areas as defined by the U.S. Census. (Although we're sure it's a great place to be single, we weren't able to rank San Juan, the 20th biggest metro area, because it was so difficult to collect good data on it. So we replaced it with Raleigh-Durham.) We took a data-driven approach, gathering stats on the number of other singles, nightclubs, job growth and cost of living. After tallying up all the figures and throwing in our own (lightly weighted), subjective buzz factor--voilà: The Washington, D.C.-Baltimore metroplex came out on top, thanks to the area's multitude of museums, hordes of recent grads and booming night life.
Being single means going out a lot--both to eat and to drink--so we got our friends over at AOL Digital City to count the number of nightclubs, bars and restaurants in each metro area. But the solo life is about more than burgers and hangovers. So Digital City and Montreal's McGill University helped us add up the number of museums, sports teams, university population and theaters (of the live actor variety). Keep in mind, New Orleans and Austin, Tex., funksters--these rankings are based on quantity, not quality, which is why your hip cities rank relatively low on the social scale. That may prompt a sneer, but we needed a standard measure.
Fun doesn't pay for itself, so the folks at Woods & Poole Economics, headquartered in Washington, D.C., projected job growth for all 40 places over the next five years. Economic researchers at Arlington, Va.-based ACCRA gave us an estimate of how expensive it is to be single in all of these spots--based on apartment rents, the cost of pizza, movie tickets and a six-pack of Heineken. Last of all, we added a Forbes buzz factor to account for public perception. Sorry, Cincinnati.
1. Washington, D.C.-Baltimore
4. Los Angeles
6. San Francisco-Oakland
8. New York
9. Dallas-Fort Worth
11. San Diego
13. Minneapolis-St. Paul
14. St. Louis
18. New Orleans
25. San Antonio
26. Las Vegas
35. Kansas City
36. Salt Lake City
Sources: Davide Dukcevich, AOL Digital City;
ACCRA; Forbes; McGill University Planning Office; Woods & Poole;
Top 10 Ways To Make Her Approach
10. Do not be too friendly So many men ask why their female friends choose to remain only friends. Well, if you discuss topics that friends discuss, then she will classify you as a friend. Yes, relationships should blossom into full-fledged partnerships, but this is not so at the beginning. And if this isn't enough, she will tell you sordid stories about all the other men she likes and is pursuing. Act chummy and that is what you become -- a chump.
9. Keep her guessing Women like mystery. Now, I'm not implying that you should lie to them, nor am I saying that you should play games, but you should leave something hidden. Put your life story in a press release and send it to her, and I guarantee that you will be flying solo for a while.
Feed her a bit but always keep her curiosity growing, and her interest in you will do the same. If a woman thinks she has you figured out, she will get bored, but if she wishes to determine what else lies between your two extremes (this last word of wisdom comes from a special young woman, so take her word for it), she will look forward to seeing you again and again.
8. Do not make the first move I usually think that in some situations, being straightforward is the only way to go, but you know what? Relationships are, for the most part, about games. And whether you wish to admit or deny it, you must agree that the second you find out someone is interested, your level of interest craters. It's almost like having already added another notch to your belt. Except of course, if this involves the one person that you feel you were destined to meet, in which case you just keep on smiling.
So show some interest -- this is the bait after all -- but keep your cards to your chest instead of slamming your two-of-a-kind on the table. Who knows? You may end up with a full house if you're patient.
7. Play hard to get This one is an extension of the "do not make the first move" advice. The difference is simple; even if she knows you are interested, do not throw yourself at her disposal. If she knows that you would walk over water and swallow fire to be with her, then she will rain on your parade and pitch a lit match on your dreams, so let her know that you have places to go and people to see.
6. Be the best you can be No, do not join the army, even though women like men in uniform. Rather, make sure you smell good, have fresh breath, are well-groomed, and look your best. Yes, some women do not care about looks, especially when your bank account swells to the 7-digits. But the same way that men demand their women be good-looking, women demand and deserve the same. You have been warned.
She has bitten the bait, now it's time to pull your fish out of the water... Next >>
5. Smile It's very important to smile and present yourself in a positive manner. More importantly, make her laugh, make her friends crack up, and if you can, make her parents smile. That way, you'll be laughing to the altar (well, more like crying). Ask 9 out of 10 women, and they will tell you the importance of a sense of humor, so leave the Dylan McKay (from everyone's favorite zip code, Beverly Hills, 90210) look at home and crack a smile.
4. Make her the center of your universe Okay, before the Men's Liberation movement gets upset, allow me to simply add this: make your woman think that all you like her for is the BLT (no, we do not mean bacon, lettuce and tomatoes), and she will not care to keep you around for long. But please her mind by showing an interest (a genuine one) in her family, friends, work, interests, hobbies, and dreams, and she will fall for you. But make sure you let her answer you instead of shooting off a session of 20 questions.
3. Live and let live You may like her and want her to like you, but unless you give her space and do not crowd her, she will never be interested. You know the expression about absence making the heart grow fonder? Well, it's true. So let her wonder where you are, whom you're with and where you're going, and she will hope to cross paths with you more often than you think.
2. Do not prejudge her This is key, even before you get to the dating stage. Men (and women too) are bad in one way: we meet a young woman we like and we attribute her with the qualities and traits of our dream woman. Then we wonder why we cannot do squat at work as we daydream of her.
Then when push comes to shove, we realize that she is a fraction of our image of her and that she is in fact nothing like what we believed her to be. This said, have absolutely no expectations of her character and she will not disappoint; she may even want you to get to know her better, at which point you can send me a thank-you note.
1. Manage her expectations Making her come to you is the
easy part, keeping her is the real challenge. When you meet your
dream woman, be honest with yourself and her: do not portray yourself
in a different light. Call it like it is and you will avoid headaches
and misery down the road. Most importantly, she will see that you are
being genuine, sincere and honest, and she will therefore want you by
her side forever.
Source: By Shawn Croft, askmen.com/dating/dating_top_ten/16_dating_list.html
Top 10 Signs You're Whipped
10. She does not stop trying to reach you You gave her your phone number, now she calls you 5 times a day at work; pages you until you get wet; spams your inbox; and even tries to track you down at your folks' place. You can't run, you can't hide... but once you begin to carry your cell phone into the bathroom to avoid missing her call, the time has come for your friends to intervene.
9. You're not the same person I know, people change when they are committed, some for the better. It's all about compromise after all, but then why is it that some dudes turn into a chameleon and totally change? Well, once you become a diluted version of your old self (i.e. you phase out the beer and chips and replace it with wine and cheese or you stop thinking with your penis), your buds know that you're anwering to someone else.
8. You don't go out with the boys anymore Your friends... remember them? Well, they remember you. The old you, not the one who no longer speaks his mind, and answers "how high?" when the ball and chain yells "jump!" You never go out with your friends anymore and they hardly call you, since they know the outcome.
7. You use terms that should be barred Terms like "smoochie", "angel", "buddy", "muffin", "bunny", and "pumpkin" suddenly sneak their way into your vocabulary. Colleagues and friends look forward to making fun of you when you use these words.
6. Your taste for the "arts" changes Whether you're always listening to Sarah McLachlan or you're suddenly passing up the R-rated movies for the CF ones (Chick Flicks), your taste has begun its transformation process. Before you know it, you start to replace Ozzy concerts with trips to the opera
5. She has veto power Any matters pertaining to scratching your head, going to see a movie, or buying something for your bachelor pad require her approval. Don't you miss the days when you could make a decision without having to call the wife? All of a sudden, your opinion never counts and you're nothing more than a messenger boy.
4. You have a curfew You used to come home at sunrise, but now you must be tucked into bed by sunset. If you do go out with the boys, your curfew is suddenly 5 hours earlier and the 3rd degree awaits upon your return.
3. You're the houseman Your mom is impressed with your sudden ability to wash dishes and do the laundry... and your girlfriend's mom is even more pleased. You "volunteer" to go lingerie shopping (and know the difference between Wonderbra and Victoria's Secret), shoe shopping, make-up shopping, and purse shopping with your girl.
2. Your girl friends are history Once upon a time, you would stroll into bars with a harem of women and all the ladies would ask, "who is that guy?" But now, you're committed and the wife gives you the death stare whenever one of your old lady friends calls.
1. You don't deliver the punchline -- you're the joke
Bye-bye humor. You used to crack jokes and make everyone laugh. But
with her around, you know that she will either get up in the middle
of whatever you say, or start to walk away. But you aren't this
lucky, you know that she will simply sit there and mope, raining on
Source: By Shawn Croft, askmen.com/dating/dating_top_ten/15_dating_list.html
Top 10 Signs It's Over
10. She got a new phone number "(out of service dial tone) You have reached 555-O-V-E-R, the girl you are trying to reach is making it painfully clear that things are finished, so please stop calling before she releases the hounds on you."
If she suddenly changes her number and never forwards you the new one, then maybe, just maybe, she has moved on and prefers leaving you where you are. And if she forwards you to her voice mail after answering the call, then you should take the sign and run.
9. She's chemically imbalanced She used to rave about the chemistry that you two shared. But now, you are out of sync and out of touch. It's like you are having different conversations with one another. Restaurants are devoid of chitchat, and dates are spent in movie theaters so you don't have to speak to one another (unless it's to pass the popcorn).
8. She now plays for the other team It's not your fault... of course not. Regardless, she now plays in the other team's lineup and has become your competition and you didn't even see it coming. All of a sudden, she is checking out the women more than the men. To make matters worse, you could have lived out your fantasy before she left, had you picked up on it earlier.
7. She moved... without telling you You show up at her place only to realize that she no longer resides there. Apparently, she moved and "forgot" to let you know where she was going. Like the phone number example above, this is probably one of the most blatant signs that you too should move on. Do not stalk her and do not pursue her, set your sights on new fish. If you lived with her and she moved out without telling you, well...
6. Dawn of a new era Whether it's because she no longer finds those annoying habits of yours cute, doesn't care when you screw up, doesn't care about what you like, or gives the flowers you bought to her mother, you know that things have changed. And to top it all off, she religiously begins going to the gym all of a sudden.
5. Your pictures disappear from her room In the final days, you notice that your shrine has been losing some luster; the picture frames in her room are gathering dust. With time, you realize that the frames are gone and the pictures have been put to rest. You are nothing but a distant memory in her shoebox.
4. She prefers hanging out with others Although you used to hang out, eat together and live as one, she now opts to hang out with someone else. You have moved from priority numero uno to a has-been. It may hurt, but it's time to realize that your services are no longer required.
3. She told you so If the girl explicitly tells you that she no longer wants you, do not try to decipher it any other way. It doesn't mean she's tired, hormonal or unsure. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and tastes like a duck...
2. She "forgot" your birthday Whether or not you have forgotten her birthday in the past, this year she forgot yours. Two things are possible: either you messed up so bad in her eyes that she could not bring herself to saying "happy birthday," or she is sending the loudest message that she is now dancing to another tune, which sounds more like "I Will Survive".
1. She has a new guy You notice that she frequently talks
about other men; she calls you "Tom" when your name is "Joseph"; she
starts referring to your best friend "Mike" as "Big Mike". Bottom
line: you know something is up. The jig is over, she has found
herself a new man and his name doesn't rhyme with yours. Just
consider yourself lucky that you did not walk in and witness the new
dashing duo going at it (and you know what I mean by "it").
Source: By Shawn Croft, askmen.com/dating/dating_top_ten/13_dating_list.html
Top 10 Signs Your First Date Was A
10. Never-ending evening You decide to walk her all the way home even though she lives across town. Once there, she suddenly does not need to be home. You then decide that you want to have a cup of coffee (even though you both hate caffeine). You chitchat over cake (that you do not touch) until the wee hours of the morning only to circle around town until sunrise. Too bad you've got to be at work in 1 hour.
9. When can I see you again? She already decides on the next place she wants to go to with you and wants to plan the next date before the first one is over. A second date booking during the first one is usually a sure sign that she had too much fun for her own good.
8. Hook, line and sinker She's already memorized your phone number, your family members' names and your favorite everything. In fact, when you meet her roommate as you walk her to her door, you overhear your date saying, "You're going to be seeing a lot of him, so remember his name." This is not so bad; just consider yourself lucky that you don't wake up and find a wedding ring on your finger.
7. Schmoopy... You finish each other's sentences. When you toast, she utters, "To the first of many dates." To top it all off, this does not make you nauseous... (give it some time, it will). Once you get home, you decide to put your little black book to rest (temporarily, of course).
6. Don't worry, be happy She laughs during most of the date because you're hilarious; your sense of humor and charm (not to mention rugged good looks -- yeah right) have won her over. Ask any woman what they look for in a guy, and a sense of humor usually comes out on top.
5. Let's get physical She lets her hair down, runs her fingers through yours, hugs you before you part ways, and even slips you the tongue.
4. She invites you over to her place If that kiss wasn't enough, she resists letting your hand go and devilishly invites you into her apartment for a drink. Being the gentleman that you are, you want to refuse, but how could you be rude and decline?
3. You have one new message When you get back to your place, you find a message on your answering machine from your date, saying how much she enjoyed herself and how badly she is looking forward to the next sensuous evening.
2. Envious friends You run into some of her friends a couple of days later and while they are happy for their friend, they all smile at you and wish you were theirs. A sign that you enjoyed yourself too: you actually don't want any of her friends and only think about your date.
1. The Ultimate I personally would say that you cook
breakfast for her. The Player might add that you run out of condoms
and notice wrappers all around you when you awake. Mr. Mafioso would
interject that you wake up with her serving you breakfast in bed (and
she didn't even sleep over). Any way you slice it, if she wakes up in
your arms, chances are that you will be begging for seconds...
Source: By Shawn Croft, askmen.com/dating/dating_top_ten/10_dating_list.html
Top 10 Date Movies
In typical AskMen style, I have decided to break these up and bring you the best of each category in installments. Without further ado, I present to you the first one, which consists of cheesy movies that are great for couples. Various writers will be bringing you the best classics, as well as the best movies to get her in the mood for some "snuggling" -- obviously saving the best for last.
10. Ghost This film may have overkilled the whole "ditto" appeal, but it was a nice, sweet, mushy-as-hell movie. Perhaps Whoopi Goldberg at her best, Demi Moore at her most innocent, and Patrick Swayze in an emotional and compassionate role (at least one where he doesn't dance). The many satirical takes on this movie are deserved (pottery class anyone?), but so were the tears that flowed. This movie will make you and your loved one(s) get close and embrace one another as you realize how precious life is.
9. Sleepless in Seattle Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks... moviegoers have learned that this is pretty much the formula for a great date flick. Whether it was Tom Hanks' emotional role, Meg Ryan's naiveté, or the maybe it was the Seattle backdrop, whatever it is, Sleepless in Seattle will probably make everyone's "top date movies" list. Rent it as soon as you can.
8. Reality Bites While the movie does not help in killing the "Generation X" stereotypes, it is a catchy and interesting take on post-college life, and about how different people's paths can easily cross. Ethan Hawke is likeable and Winona Ryder is downright adorable. Chain smokers unite in this movie. Another Ethan Hawke movie, Before Sunrise, could have also made the cut. While less popular, Sunrise describes the one-night journey of a couple in Vienna.
7. Cocktail Tom Cruise has played so many roles in so many movies, that picking only one is a challenge. Ultimately, there is something about him ripping up a check that girls find sexy and guys find cool. The fact that you get to see a movie about late-night partying and big-league bartending does not hurt. Oh yeah, a sexy female lead always does the trick too.
6. Titanic It may be long, drawn-out and very cheesy, but it definitely provides one of the best action scenes, as a huge mock up of the ill-fated boat goes down. I have seen this with three different girls, which suggests how successful this movie was at the box office (what, you think I change girlfriends as often as I change socks?). Leonardo DiCaprio plays the hero, while we come to really like Kate Winslet. This movie is also long enough to increase your chances of getting "closer" throughout the movie.
5. Swingers This is more of a lad movie than a date movie, but it's just so damn good that you cannot resist renting it. It would also be a great date movie because it provides a glimpse into men, so women may not find us so crazy after all. This movie was on at a party once, so I was watching bits and pieces (the rest of the time, I had my eyes on other things...), but I was so curious to see the whole thing that I rented it at 4am, when I got home.
4. Say Anything A classic date movie, somewhat cheesy thanks to the geek meets girl storyline, but funny nonetheless thanks to John Cusack. Somewhat utopian? Perhaps, but with a great romantic climax, Say Anything is a great classic and a good benchmark for what a great date movie should be about. It will also inspire you and your date to make "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel your song.
3. Pretty Woman What do you get when you cast Julia Roberts as a naïve but daring prostitute, Richard Gere as a successful but shrewd businessman, and Jason Alexander as the evil business associate in a rather unrealistic movie about a businessman who meets his trophy gal on Hollywood Blvd. and tries to convert her into a good girl while the business associate tries to... you know what, this is not what's important. What's important is that in a strange way, the female viewer wishes to be Julia and the guy wishes he were Richard -- don't deny it.
2. Four Weddings and a Funeral Now, there is something about this movie, starring Andie MacDowell and Hugh Grant, that will make every couple love this classic. We might, to this day, ask what the hell Mr. Grant was thinking when he picked up some skanky prostitute (on the topic of Pretty Woman) when he had British bombshell Liz Hurley at home, but there is nothing we can reproach about his performance in this movie.
1. There's Something About Mary This is perhaps the only
movie in the list where the guy will not want to stop watching.
Cameron Diaz is probably the ultimate girlfriend, Ben Stiller is
hilarious as ever, Chris Elliott is scary, and Matt Dillon is
downright creepy. One of the best guy movies to come out, and a
perfect date movie because it broaches various topics that are bound
to come up (or stick up) down the road.
Source: By Shawn Croft, askmen.com/dating/dating_top_ten/12_dating_list.html