Office Diaries

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In Fairness to Single Men Everywhere

Do single guys get a bad rap?

They say that at the base of every rumor, there is a kernel of truth. I also suspect that a similar psychology is what supports the maintenance (and perpetuation) of most stereotypes. One that gets less attention, but that is as unforgiving as the rest, is the assumption that something is "wrong" with single men. Especially as they get older, God forbid they are without a woman, all kinds of judgments are made. How unfair. Everyone is quick to classify these men as flawed or inadequate in "some department," with a mentality that assumes love will find them and implies that it if doesn't, they should fake it. It's crazy. Plus, it serves no one.

So let's first get the issue of emotional maturity out of the way. There are indeed men who can't handle a relationship, but that also holds true for women.  That being said, men are actually smarter and more intuitive in the relationship department than we give them credit for. Yet, they are notoriously teased about getting cold feet, ridiculed for being commitment-phobes, or even looked down upon for serial dating.  But these guys aren't wrong. Their instincts are right.  It makes sense to be cautious. Society does not make for an easy way out anymore than it creates space for alternatives.  It's black or white, attached or not. There are no other options.  Worse, there are no other "acceptable" ways for men to show and/or express their feelings outside of the norm.  That, in the end, also does not serve anyone well. 

Let's think about it logically for a second. It really is quite insane to make a promise to someone and commit your entire life without having a crystal ball in hand.  We can't forecast how one day will go, let alone the rest of our lives.  I mean how risky is it to assume that two people will either a) never change or grow, or b) change at exactly the same rate and pace over the course of their lifetimes? So, to question an arrangement that forces one to vow certain things like how he will feel, think and act -- forever -- is in truth a sound and rational mind at work, not a defect..

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Also, perfectly reasonable, not to mention astute, is the observation that many a relationship does not work, let alone bring with it happiness. All we have to do is look around to see that. Or, maybe there are those who simply do not want all of the rules that come with relatiosnhips and perfer to be free instead.  It's a curious thing for sure; only when it comes to relationships do we turn freedom into something so sinful.  I'm with the guys on this one.

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Donna Flagg is the author of Surviving Dreaded Conversations and a New York City-based dancer.

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