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CALLING ALL SINGLE MEN! August 28, 2009

Posted by Onely in Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts.
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Ok, well not ALL single men. We want to hear from single-and-fine-with-it men. Please tell us: Why do you like being single (or why do you not dislike it)? How do people react to your single status? What difficulties do you have being a single man in a couple’s world (if any)? And most important–where do you go for information about being Onely and male? I ask because Lisa and I received an astute email from a male reader, who said:

I came across your website recently, and while I do find what you have written to be quite interesting it seems to be written by women for women.  I was wondering if you know of any blogs that take a similar intellectual tone, like the one found in your blog but focus on both a man and a woman’s perspective on being single.  Any links you could send me would be greatly appreciated.

Yay, he called us intellectual! (Obviously he has not been reading our series of nutsucking posts.) 

Onely does try to write about issues affecting both sexes–usually in the form of gripes about legal discrimination against unmarried people. We would love to cover more single men’s issues, but unfortunately Lisa and I just don’t know what it’s like to be a single man, and we haven’t been able to find a lot of (non-heteronormative) information on the topic. As our regular readers are no doubt aware, there is a dearth of writings by empowered, Onely single males–not only on this site, but throughout media and literature. A recent search on Amazon.com for [happy single men] returned:

Violent Land: Single Men and Social Disorder from the Frontier to the Inner City

Wow–single women in general have a harder time than single men, but at least we’re generally not accused of inciting violent social disorder. 

That was actually number 7 in the results list, but I flagged it first for dramatic purposes (blogger’s license). The top six hits on [happy single men] were: 

The Single Woman’s Guide to a Happy Pregnancy

The Five Love Languages for Singles

Rich Men, Single Women

Gay and Single. . . Forever? 

The Rough Guide to Men’s Health 1

Male Impersonators: Men Performing Masculinity

As you can see, dear Copious Readers of all sexes, we are in sore need of information about Onely men. Please email us or post a comment below:

–to suggest sources of reporting about single men’s issues

–to suggest topics pertaining to single men

–to contribute a guest post about single men, or about being a single man

–to encourage any single male readers out there to  start their own blogs (like Bobby’s, for instance)

Thanks!

Christina

P.S. Yes, I know the image I chose is kind of random, but *you* trying google-imaging “single men” and see what *you* get!

Comments»

1. Alan - August 28, 2009

I think it’d be interesting to compare how single men are perceived vs. how single women are perceived. I know many single women who insist it’s “way cooler” to be a batchelor, but is it really true? Dr. DePaulo’s research suggest single men are paid considerably less than married men, so there must be at least some discrimination.

Onely - August 29, 2009

Does anyone know if single women are paid less than married women? CC

2. Laurence - August 28, 2009

While people may think single men have it easier than single women, I think we face most, if not all, of the same obstacles: discrimination in the workplace, misunderstanding and pity from friends and family, disapproval from society, etc. In fact, men may have it harder in some ways. One, a single male is not simply regarded as less fortunate or less valuable to society in the way single women are; he is often seen as unstable or dangerous too. The worst examples of single men are always in the news for committing mass shootings, carrying out suicide bombings, and other antisocial behaviour. This is not reflective of all the male singles who live happy and fulfilled lives, and who certainly are not angry loners living on the fringes of society. If a male commits a horrible crime and happens to be single, people tend to connect the two. But when a married man commits a horrible crime, no one makes a similar connection to his married status.

Another way it is harder for guys is, as you pointed out, the fact that most books, support groups and websites in support of single people are geared towards women. I have read both “Quirkyalone” and “Singled Out” cover to cover, as well as countless magazine and Internet articles. They almost always approach issues of single life from a female perspective — a perspective I have found insightful and relevant to my own experience. However, I am aware of the apparent lack of effort to reach out to the single male audience. Maybe most bachelors don’t spend as much time ruminating on their single status and seeking articles about it. But it still would be nice if singles resources became more inclusive of both genders in the future.

It is also seemingly harder for a man who’s been single a long time to change his status (if he so chooses) than it is for a single female because a guy’s single status will be held against him. From what I’ve read and witnessed, no one looks down on single men more than women do. In fact, a divorced man in his 40s would be seen as more desirable than a man in his 40s who’s always been single. (Even George Clooney, who’s always held up as a symbol of cool bachelorhood, is actually divorced.) Single women face no such discrimination from men. Dating dynamics being what they are, it is easier for a guy to end up single (whether he wants to or not) and harder for him to get out once he has. You might say older single guys have as much of a stigma in the dating scene as divorced women.

But overall, the challenges for single women and men are very similar. In this society, I doubt anyone who’s single over the age of 30 has it easy.

Lauri - August 29, 2009

Laurence, I definitely think I disagree with your final thought that it’s easier for women to change their single status and that women are less interested in single men. Since there are simply more women in the population than there are men, it seems that most men would be able to find *someone* if they really wanted to. Also, I don’t believe this new idea that women want men who have been married (for whatever reasons people have been coming up with). I don’t really discount divorced men from the dating pool per se, but I’ve noticed, that to me, I think of divorced men as over-valuing marriage so much that they jumped into prematurely. I know it’s probably not good to make assumptions about people, but I’d rather a guy who has just been living his life and letting things happen.

Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles - September 1, 2009

Thanks for weighing in on this. I’m sorry you haven’t been able to find more out there for single men. Like Onely, I try to write about research and news regarding single men whenever I see it, but it’s tough to write about issues from a man’s perspective since, well, I’m not a man! 🙂 As women, no matter how much we try to write to a gender-neutral audience, we can’t divorce ourselves from our own female identity.

I’ve heard that most authors don’t write for single men because those books don’t sell. Perhaps relationships are less central to masculine identity, or maybe men associate some stigma with reading about the topic. Sometimes I think it’s because historically a man was the “default” person, complete in himself, while a wo-man was his add-on, not a whole individual, so men tend to feel more comfortable with singleness. Whatever it is, there sadly doesn’t seem to be a market for material for single men unless it’s geared toward the pick-up or “gaming” scene.

I’d have to disagree that it’s harder to be a single man than a single woman. Like being single versus married, the two states are different, not better or worse. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Actually, I think this focus on who has it worse, whether single or married, male or female, divides us in a way that’s counterproductive. Case in point: I’ve met men who were uncomfortable with the fact that I haven’t had more long-term or cohabiting relationships by now, so I know that kind of prejudice isn’t limited to men. I’m more aware of the discrimination I face as a woman, and you’re more aware of the discrimination you face as a man, but that doesn’t mean that either sex is bearing the brunt of it alone.

3. Special K - August 29, 2009

I agree! I don’t think that single men are more content with the social pressure…I just don’t think that they verbalize or soak in the pressure to conform as much.

4. Onely - August 29, 2009

I found a book on amazon written BY a man:

The Art of Living Single, by Michael Broder

Learning, growing, pursuing new ideas, developingnew relationships — your options are endless!As an unattached person, you have the freedomto make your life anything you want it to be — when you discover THE ART OF LIVING SINGLE.Michael Broder, Ph.D., a psychologist who has helpedthousands of singles develop a positiveapproach to living on their own, will tell you:

How to find and keep a wide variety of friends a Why no one has to be lonely
How you can make social invitations come your way
How you can initiate the good times How volunteer work can broaden your horizons
How you can put more fun in your weekends and holidays
Where you’re likely to find romance
How to handle the safe sex question
What you can do to nurture a relationship
How you can enjoy the time you have to yourself Tips for planning a secure future and much more

Lauri - August 29, 2009

that book looks pretty good! Although I don’t think I care to read that first chapter- I don’t quite know what “lonely” means, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt it (and I’m alone a lot).

Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles - September 1, 2009

I wonder if that book is geared toward women, though? There are guys (Greg Behrendt comes to mind) who write books for singles but aim for the female market. Nevertheless, I’m already on my way to Amazon to order a copy!

5. Dear Quirkyalone: Where are all the Quirkyalone men? « Onely: Single and Happy - September 14, 2009

[…] We welcome comments from our readers about good sources of the male Quirkyalone voice. I know there are blogs by single male parents out there. What about single male non-parents? We’d love to hear from any male Quirkyalones or Quirkytogethers. What has the single life been like for you? For more on this topic, please see Calling All Men!. […]

6. Matt - September 15, 2009

Single, 29-year-old man from Ohio here. I appreciate the consideration in asking for our input. Like many here, I’ve long found being single the most natural state for me, despite social pressures otherwise. I think part of it is that I’m very independent, and I find it hard to really be my own person in a committed, monogamous relationship. Trying to squeeze myself into the mold of 1/2-of-a-couple has always made me feel quite claustrophobic and contorted. Not that I don’t respect those who enjoy it… in fact I’ve spent most of my life trying to force myself to want that coupled state which society considers ‘healthy,’ despite the fact that it’s never felt right. Rather than initiating relationships and then dealing with drama, I generally just remain single.

I get mixed reactions. I face a lot of pressure from my family, as I am the youngest of 5 children, and all of the rest are married. No matter how clear I try to make it that I’m happy as I am, they seem to see it as simply a matter of time (and by now, I’m very tardy!) My good guy-friends, though relationship-cravers themselves, seem to be fairly accepting. For the most part I don’t really know what others think, because I generally don’t bring it up!

I’ve consulted most of the sources as the rest… Quirkyalone, this site, Singled Out… while they may be written somewhat to a female perspective, I still have found them valuable, as I think many of the issues are the same. Some things which can also be helpful are ‘spiritual’ resources such as Buddhist readings, the Bhagavad-Gita, or whatever floats your boat… while they may not directly deal with singledom, the lessons they teach about happiness independent from external circumstances, trusting you inner self, etc., have a certain relevance. After all, if you can find a peaceful mindset and be content with yourself and your life, your relationship status and how others view it isn’t something you’re going to be preoccupied with. Easier said than done, of course =)

In terms of difficulties, I think that many of them are the same as those facing women. I agree with Laurence that there are various stereotypes that people make about single men. Are you a serial killer? Gay? Just extremely selfish? Perhaps that’s one difference… while people may see a single woman as unlucky, just not having found the one, they may be more likely to see a single guy as selfish and even predatory for wanting to take part in society without making the sacrifice of committing himself to a woman, 2.5 children, a dog and a minivan. Another issue is one that I suppose women also have to deal with, which is that for most people there is, well… a sexual imperative. And in men this is actually a physical necessity. Regardless of how you handle this, obviously there is somewhat of an internal conflict, as most heterosexual men can’t simply ignore their attraction to females, regardless of whether or not they actually want to permanently couple… reconciling this and how to deal with it is part of the confusion of being a (happily) single man.

Here’s an interesting scientific observation — Married men tend to have significantly lower testosterone levels than unmarried men: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2002/09.19/01-testosterone.html

Anyhow, thanks for remembering us Onely guys and asking for our input.

7. Here Are The All Single Men! « Onely: Single and Happy - September 16, 2009

[…] Ok, well *one* single man, anyway. Onely received the following thoughts from Matt when we called for input from single men. I am reposting Matt’s comments here because they segue nicely with our preceding QuirkyAlone […]

8. RB - September 19, 2009

Oh cool I love this!
Men are happy because
hot guys can get what they want from women without marriage (ie pain).
loser guys are happy because they can marry and or date hot chics. The hot chics hope that this loser guy will marry her because she feels that the loser guy will feel he cant do any better.
Both hot and loser guys benefit when women overestimate their abilities and worth to society and conversly underestimate the worth of men.

9. David - October 12, 2009

RB, is that sarcasm I see or is that meant for real?

Jokingly to say, if that were true, I’d be one loser guy who would have dated many hot chics.

Also, in regards to the discussion, no one’s mentioned this, so has being a single man (or woman) also typecasts one as being a loser (can’t get any dates) or a workaholic?

And also, regarding Lauri’s comment on men being able to find a woman if they really wanted to because there are more women than men, I think that’s only the case when the women would accept such a man, unconditionally or with simple expectations. After all, not all women are “needy” for a man that badly.

I haven’t researched this myself, but something interesting to inquire about is how many QA men and women end up being QA more because they couldn’t find anyone or the right one rather than because they just really felt better being single and free.

Onely - October 12, 2009

David, unfortunately many singlists do ask, “Are you happy single just because you can’t get coupled?” which is kind of like saying, “Are you just happy in California because you can’t move to Nevada?” It’s interesting to note that far fewer people ask, “Are you happy coupled just because you can’t get along single?” That said, I’m sure that many people DO start out being QA because they “couldn’t” find anyone, and then ended up discovering that they *liked* being QA-which they might never have known if they hadn’t been *forced* into it. I was *somewhat* in this circumstance myself.

Christina

10. Ash - November 4, 2009

Having stumbled across this post, I thought I’d throw my input in.

As a single guy, and have been for years, I have been out with women, had my fair share of flings, short-term relationships (a month here or there), but ultimately always end up single, mainly because I get bored, the girls I’ve met simply haven’t held my attention (before you ask yes I have had long term relationships when I was younger). My most natural state at this point in my life (I’m 28) is to be single, when I sit down and seriously think about what I want I realise, that despite the pressure to find someone I’m actually very happy being single at this stage.

Every now and then I get that itch and I’ll go out, meet a few girls, but it often reminds me why I’m actually happy alone rather than as half of a couple. I have good friends, a good family and while, quite often in fact, the conversation turns to why I’m still single the answer is the same “I’m happy where I am, I’m not in any rush to accept any old woman in to my life simply to be in a relationship, and should someone come along who can hold my attention then great, until then this is where I am”.

So to answer the various stereotypes:
1 – I am definitely NOT a workaholic, I do my hours (9>>5.30) and I go home, in fact I explicitly stated in my interview that unless I screw up, or they pay me overtime, I’m not putting in extra hours. I don’t often screw up and they don’t like paying overtime, so that’s that.
2 – I have an active social life, I see friends a couple of times a week and am part of a sports club where I train at least twice a week.
3 – I can get dates when I go out to get them
4 – I’m not a loner psychopath (I would say that…)

I’m just happy being able to go home, shut the door, and if I want to be an anti-social mardy git then I can be, on the other hand if I want to go out I can, I don’t have to worry about another person.

I wasn’t forced into this situation, at the end of my last relationship I decided to focus on my career and build that up, after a couple of years I looked up and realised, actually I quite like this place.

Onely - November 5, 2009

Ash, this is a great synopsis of your current “place”, and very Onely. It could also just as easily have been written by a woman, which speaks to the point that the single experience probably doesn’t vary that much across sexes. Thanks so much for your feedback. Although I am not entirely sure what a “mardy git” is, I’m going to be incorporating it into my conversations from now on.
Christina

11. Tim - January 13, 2010

Maybe some men are actually just intelligent enough these days to realize that there is nothing “holy” about matrimony. Maybe more men when they realize that there is no actual god then do the next logical thing and dismiss matrimony along with sexisim, imperialism, slavery, and the many multitudes that follow religion and it’s mythlogical lie! We are just getting more intelligent, it’s not a bad thing at all, think about it, do some research.

Onely - January 13, 2010

I kind of don’t understand this comment in relation to the post. Anyone else who wants to answer it is welcome. I’m going to bed.
Christina

12. BOBBYF - April 14, 2010

this sums it all up
http://hubpages.com/hub/101-reasons-to-stay-single
its 101 reasons to stay single.
and rather true

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