Just Another Blog
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Male Spinsterhood

I've got mixed feelings about these articles (short teaser and brief article) on male spinsterhood. I certainly fit the criteria, but I'm not sure that all of the generalizations or the presumed causes of action are spot on.

When I was younger, fitter, and living with another guy, I used to worry about being perceived as gay. Now, older, living alone, and ever so slightly more financially stable, I worry more about being taken as that weird, old guy: the very worry these articles set out to promote.

Certainly having spent several prime dating years outside of any intimate relationship hurt my odds of finding a long term mate and effected my outlook on pairing up generally. But I'm not sure I'm so worried about others' perceptions as to want to do anything about it. And to some degree, I recognize that I probably am that crazy, old guy at least a little bit. I guess a big part of the question becomes how I evolve from here.

A number of the commenters in both articles hit on some good points. The economics of relationships really scare me. For a single male who is approaching financial stability with a decent paying job and a home nearly paid for, marriage is a HUGE financial gamble. After saying I do, a wife need wait only a day, say I don't, and walk away with half. It seems very risky. She has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Economically, he has nothing to gain and everything to lose. Throw kids into the mix and her economic leverage and his economic risk increase even further.

Marriage is certainly intriguing. My parents are just months away from their 40th anniversary, and I can certainly recognize that they have both accomplished things as husband and wife that they never would have alone. But I can't say for certain that they're really truly happy. Perhaps they're happier together than they would be alone even if they don't meet my definition of happy - a definition that I continue to struggle to define in my own life.

Seeing good friends of my own age as well as my sisters get married has been interesting too. I can see how it can be a good fit in some situations. By and large, marriage seems fine for the first few years. Hopefully for my family and good friends, it will be as successful and pleasant in the years to follow.

I don't really have any idea what the future holds for me. A happy spinsterhood would be preferrable to a miserable marriage, but I'm not quite so cynical as to believe those are the only options remaining.