Making The Case For The Single Guy

How could Rob Gordon say no to Caroline Fortis?

The running joke amongst my friends is that people who are married (or hell, even people in a committed monogamous relationship) absolutely hate their single male friends. I know this is true because they are always trying to set me up on dates with their co-worker, or college friend, or sister’s ex-roommate’s cousin, in the hopes that I will find true love and therefore no longer be single.

It comes across as sweet enough—they want me to feel the same level of spiritual and emotional connection with another person that they share. But there’s a part of me that distrusts their innocent intentions. Like Tom Sawyer convincing his cronies to whitewash the fence, my well-meaning buddies are trying to get me to share their burden and pick up the chore that they’ve decided to tackle.

Misery loves company, after all. But I’m not buying what they’re selling.

I love being single. The freedom, the autonomy, the control I have are irreplaceable. I’m never more than two hours away from a spontaneous road trip or weekend away. When friends have an extra ticket to a show, sporting event, or theater production, I’m always the first one they call because I always say YES. If I see an attractive girl, I don’t have to pretend not to notice her. I walk right up and introduce myself. Unlike my romantically involved friends, I never have to check my schedule with anybody else. I never have to refuse a social invitation because I am obligated to spend more one-on-one time with somebody I already live with. I know there are definitely perks to having someone you love share your day-to-day life and responsibilities, but I’m just not convinced that they are more valuable than the perks I already have now.

According to my mother, I’m just “finding my way.”  My uncle says I’m sowing my wild oats before “some gal slaps the chains” on me, and my brother believes that I’ll “just never grow up.” But I’m not so sure.

There will always be overgrown man-children with Peter-Pan complexes who are too afraid to settle down, but I assure you, I’m not one of them. I am not scared of romantic commitment. I am simply averse to the concept. My life is full and ebullient. I share it with friends and family, whom I love dearly. I’m not lacking in affection or emotionally meaningful bonds. I have no parental issues to speak of—I meet my mother every Sunday morning for church. Children love me, and I love my little cousins more than anything in the world. I do not fear change, I actively embrace it.

Instead of defining who I am by being the “other half” of a couple, I am able to adapt and change to each new casual partner I see, date, or sleep with, according to her needs. I am whoever she wants or needs me to be. Until I want to be something else.

The stereotype of the 30-year old frat-boy prolonging his adolescence by bedding as many women as he can before one of them ropes him into marriage will always persist. In truth, I never lie to get laid. I never deceive my partners, and I’m very upfront about my decision to remain unattached. I’ve never cheated on any girl in my life, and I don’t plan to. I’m not notching numbers on a bedpost to brag to my friends. I’m making connections with as many interesting and attractive people I can. Sometimes, that connection is physical. Sometimes, it isn’t.

To be honest, it’s just easier for people to think that men like me are simply overgrown 15-year-olds without the spine to make a strong and lasting commitment to anybody but themselves. While I’m sure the criticism fits a certain percentage of single dudes, there are also a growing number of intelligent and thoughtful men (and women) who are simply enjoying the fact that men and women are on a much more level playing field these days.

We’re finally reaping the benefits of sexual liberation and the closing of the wage gap. When women set their own sexual standards and earn their own money, everybody wins. We no longer “need” to marry one another for sexual or financial security. And that’s a great thing.

A woman will not date me for my car, my apartment, or my job because I never use them as sexual marketing tools. If a girl likes me, she likes me for the way I make her smile, for my laugh, for the feeling she has in her stomach when we part company for the first time—not for any superficial bullshit that other guys have used to “sell” themselves to her in the past.

Women who are just as smart, successful, and sexual as I am don’t fall for tricks, pick-up lines, or insincere posturing. These women don’t intimidate me. They turn me on. And meeting as many of these women as possible and establishing connections with them—be it intellectual, spiritual, or physical—is my favorite thing to do. And my favorite reason for remaining single.

Because how could I marry just one? Each person I meet brings out a new and exciting aspect of my own personality, challenging me to broaden my definition of myself to create more common ground with people who fascinate me. Sipping dollar beers at an open mic in Brooklyn can be twice or half as much fun as a “Fashion and Finance” mixer at Tavern on the Green. The crowds are polar opposites, but I’ve met charming and challenging women at both venues who have brought out the best in me.

I can’t say for certain that I’ll ever find one woman who will be everything I need her to be (it’s unfair to ask that of anyone), so I’ll continue living the single life and simply hope that my married friends don’t hate me too much.

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Danny Braciole

Danny Braciole is a New Jersey based writer whose interests include women, music, girls, and ladies. His mother says he's a catch, and wishes he'd stop screwing around and settle down with a nice girl so that she'd have somebody to hang out with.

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46 comments

  • Meg, you’re questioning why I would be whoever the girl I’m seeing needs me to be- that’s a valid question. I won’t delve into the discussion that you and Dennis are having, because I don’t know the whole back story, but I thanks for pointing out that you aren’t necessarily talking about me when you talk about all the nasty things guys have done to mess with girl’s heads…

    Anyway, to answer your question, I believe everybody becomes who their partner needs them to be. Who I am when I hang out with my best friend over beers is the same person who goes to church with my mom on Sunday mornings- but they’re both different parts of my personality. With girls it’s the same way. If she’s been hurt recently and needs a guy who will listen and console her, I’m going to be that guy. If she’s just loving life and wants a little male attention to make her night complete, I’ll be that guy too. It’s nothing that I actively do, it’s just reacting to the situations that arise. And this doesn’t compromise who I am or my sense of self- everybody is looking for someone who will empathize and identify his/her wants and needs without asking. And that’s who I am.

  • Well said Danny!! I don’t see this as “just another guy thing” either. All relationships, however brief or whatev… require a nature of compromise or adaptation…even most friendships…I have friends I party like a rockstar with…and friends I go to church with and discuss God and religion, etc… I’m not faking either of these aspects of me..it all depends on the nature of the association itself and what traits serve to bond that specific association. It’s a point of compromise or commonality that is natural IMO… It’s only “negative” if we do this while purposely hiding who we really are, along with the intent to prey upon vulnerabilities and deceive and mislead another…now *that* has some sociopathic tendencies;-p

  • You know what I see here? A LOT of defense mechanisms. We all have them, they are what keep us sane, from feeling pain and anxiety, but they also keep us from really knowing ourselves, from growing. Denial, suppression, regression, displacement, sublimation, projection, intellectualization, rationalization, avoidance, compensation, and even reaction formation are all being used by every one of us in how we deal with relationships and failures of them. Some more healthy than others.

    Danny, you say you feel being single is what allows you to continue to grow as a person. What I see from this post and your replies is someone who is trying to grow, trying to know himself, but hasn’t moved past his own defense mechanisms. I understand better than anyone the pain associated with allowing love into your life and losing it, and if you ever read my blog, you’d also see I’m the queen of defense mechanisms and putting up walls. It’s the easier way to do things. I’m not putting you down, please don’t take this as an attack, it’s really not. What I see through your defenses is that when it happens for you, when you lose the defenses and fall in love, it’s going to be HUGE. You are starting to look inward at yourself, but you have just hit the tip of the iceberg with this post.

    It is natural to use defenses to keep ourselves safe, and denial is a powerful bitch, the most powerful defense you can use is to deny, deny, deny. I also can’t help snicker at the differences between men and women in these replies. It fascinates me and yet frustrates me, so much of it is cultural, taught with out us even knowing we learned a lesson. But the honest openness here among all the responders is refreshing, especially if anyone learned anything about themselves. After all, isn’t that what life is about?

  • Wow… I didn’t realize I was performing so many -ations with this post!

    I didn’t read this as an attack, V- I’m really not that sensitive on internet blog posts. What I DID read this as was an awful lot of assumptions about me, my past, and my state of mind. You’ve equated my lack of romantic commitment with a lack of introspection and (at best) a purely superficial grasp of my “true self.” That’s a fairly bold and borderline offensive comparison, but like I said, I’m not overly sensitive about this stuff- all you know about me as a man and as a human being is what’s been written above, so you’re entitled to draw your own conclusions.

    What I find funny is that everybody responding to this (both men and women) are so utterly convinced that I’m somehow missing a piece of myself because I’m single. Which side is using more defense mechanisms- the crowd who believes that their own personal development necessarily hinges on finding one person to “complete” them, or the guy on the outside who doesn’t quite buy it? Is a committed monogamous relationship really the key to self-actualization and personal self-awareness? Somehow I missed this memo. If I believed for one second that waking up next to the same woman for the next 45 years would truly make me a more complete and self-aware man, I’d marry the next cute blond who smiled at me. I’m just not as convinced as some of you are that this is a realistic expectation.

    I might be in denial about a lot of things, V, but not about who I am. I’ve loved and lost; I’ve spent days at a time alone and in tears, looking into all the nasty places in my heart that scare and frighten me; I’ve pushed myself into and out of the darkness at the center of me- and I came out a stronger, better man. I’m not denying anything, and I’m not in denial about my strengths, my weaknesses, or my defense mechanisms. For you, and really for every reader here, this post is just “the tip of the iceberg”- but believe me, I’m very familiar with the bottom of this particular block of ice.

  • Sorry if I wasn’t clear in my comment or if it came off wrong. You are right, I don’t know you, you could be a great guy, you could be some jerk that kicks puppies, idk. I am not making assumptions about who you are as a person, and I never made assumptions about your past, your romantic life is only one aspect of who you are as a whole. I’m just some random stranger that stumbled on your blog. I found it thought provoking, so I replied with some insight for you to ponder.

    You said you can’t figure out why people feel this way about what you wrote, I think you misunderstand what I and other people on here have said to you. No one is saying you are incomplete, or they were incomplete with out a mate. What they are saying is it’s okay to want it, it’s perfectly normal, it is considered one of humans basic fundamental needs in this life. Right after physiological needs and safety are love and belonging. Keeping the wall up and denying it is what it is, well, this (the above responses) is what the rest of the world thinks about it. But who am I? who are they to judge? I mean, everyone else is wrong, not you right?

    I wasn’t just commenting on your defenses in my comment, I was speaking of all of the replies. But I can see how I wasn’t clear about that. Your post really evoked some interesting conversation on here, clearly it brought up some painful things for people. I think the skepticism by me, and other commentators, is that you don’t seem to fully believe what you are saying, there are contradictions in what you write. Maybe they are also picking up on this. Or, idk, maybe they just like to see you squirm because it’s fun? 😉

    I hope this clears up what I said earlier, unless of course, you are a puppy kicking jerkface, in which case I’ll come back and tell you off when I have more time. 😉

  • I appreciate the insight, V- I really do. This is my first real “blog post,” so I’m honestly very touched when random strangers are actually interested enough in my ramblings to comment on them. Thanks again!

    This is the only part of your response that I take issue with:

    Vendetta :
    What I see through your defenses is that when it happens for you, when you lose the defenses and fall in love, it’s going to be HUGE. You are starting to look inward at yourself, but you have just hit the tip of the iceberg with this post.

    You’re assuming I haven’t ever lowered my defenses. You’re assuming it’s never “happened” for me. You’re assuming I’ve never fallen in love. You’re also assuming that I’m “just starting to look inward” at myself. Maybe, possibly, almost, kinda-sorta, I might be able to see how somebody could make those assumptions based solely on the blog and the comments above. But honestly, you couldn’t be more wrong.

    What it really boils down to is this: I really believe that most people form relationships just for safety and comfort rather than any real love. It becomes its own defense mechanism. Who has time to think about and improve their own shortcomings when they’re too busy “fixing” their partner’s? Who has time to ponder the existential mysteries of his or her life when they’re tripping over somebody else’s dirty socks? Filling your life with the petty minutia of another person’s day-to-day idiosyncrasies is the perfect way to wall yourself off from ever having to think uncomfortable thoughts. How many personal, individual problems do your friends blame on their significant other? How about your parents? There are very few couples that I know who truly have a healthy and sincere relationship with mutual love and respect. The rest of them are just going along with the crowd and doing what they’re “supposed” to do. For me? No. Not this pig.

    As far as the love and acceptance bit, I agree with you that people should want that. But I’ll also tell you that love and acceptance doesn’t always have to look like the husband and wife on top of a wedding cake. My very large, very tight-knit family are the most important thing in the world to me- and to them, I am the most important thing in their world. If it sounds like I’m bragging, it’s because I am.

    (And just so you know, the background on my phone is a picture of my puppy, Indy. Tomorrow will be three years since he died at age 11. I don’t kick puppies, V- I love them way more than I probably should.)

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