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

  • Oh, and great article, DB 🙂

  • @DB: Great article!

    @Dennis: Totally agree with you on “those are *her* issues to deal with, not his.” bit. We are each responsible for our own feelings. If you still decide to be with the guy/gal after his/her “honest” speech, then, any feelings you develop for him/her, and any heartbreak that _you_ feel when things don’t go the way you wanted, these feelings are _your responsibility_, not his/her.

  • Whoa, Max. I mean, that first post was cool and all. But to come right back 12 hours later and say THAT?!?

    What the hell is wrong with you? :-p

  • It’s not that I don’t believe in monogamy- I’ve been in some great relationships during my life- it’s just that I don’t believe I’ll ever get suckered into it again. I really think that you have to be kind of young and/or naive to fall in love. The idea that your “one and only” is out there waiting for you (or is sitting next to you on the couch) is much easier and safer to believe at 19 years old than it is at 30. Regardless, I’ve learned enough about men and women during my dating lifetime to know that it’s all about choice and compromise. I can choose to be with any woman who chooses to be with me, as long as I can compromise for her- but then again, I choose not to compromise any part of myself for the sake of a woman.

    Dennis, Meg is right to project her personal experiences onto me. I’m sure I deserve it! I don’t think of it as playing with people though, Meg. I don’t think that the desire for monogamy should be a prerequisite for physical intimacy with the opposite sex. I understand that I will hurt some women along the way. It’s a mistake, however, to think that I don’t get hurt, either by the women I date or my own mistakes. I’m hardly advocating my lifestyle as the “right way” to do things- sure I have some good stories to tell, but I wouldn’t wish some of them on my worst enemy. I don’t think I’m any happier or any more depressed than the average person in a relationship- the only difference is that I can’t place the blame for my well-being on any other person besides myself.

    In a way, I think that being in a monogamous relationship is the end of personal development for both parties. In the beginning it’s all milk and honey- you try the things she’s into, she tries the things you’re into, you broaden each other’s horizons- then eventually you stop. You stop trying new things after a while. You settle into patterns. You settle into modes. You pick up the slack in the areas where your partner is lacking (planning ahead, finances, housekeeping, etc.) and he/she ends up enabling you to be even more lazy in the area(s) that you’re lacking. And that’s what being committed looks like to me- laziness. Rather than seeing all there is to see and having new adventures and meeting new exciting people, you finally just decide “ok, this is as good as I’m going to be,” and drive the last nail home.

    This isn’t to say that every person in a committed relationship is “lazy”- maybe that’s not the right word… but there’s a reason it’s called “settling down,” isn’t there? There’s a lot to be said for the comfort and familiarity of a long-term partner. The best sex I’ve ever had was with my ex-girlfriend whom I dated for 4 years. I can picture now how my life would be had I chose to stay with her and make the babies we often talked about- I’d be lying if I said a part of me doesn’t regret letting her go. But I love who I am- and I wouldn’t be who I am today by compromising and subjugating myself to suit her needs. And she wouldn’t be who she is today by doing the same things for me.

    I’m honest to a fault. It gets me in more trouble than I care to repeat here. As a result, I am very honest with my own shortcomings- I know that this attitude may look like a guise or a slick way to deflect responsibility for being flippant with another human being’s feelings- but I’m also a romantic. I could imagine a woman might one day turn my world over and make me eat every single one of these words. But that doesn’t stop me from doubting even the happiest daydream. If Salma Hayek knocks on my door tomorrow, I can’t honestly promise myself that I won’t think back on these days when life was simpler and more fun without her.

  • Dennis, saying that people can still get hurt isn’t generalizing, it’s inductive (or is it deductivve?) logic based on the fact that i am a person and i got attached, therefore some people get attached. i’m not saying all people will or do, or that it’s anyone’s faullt. but if someone were to act like prince charming and fit my ideal of the perfect guy, i’m much more likely to fall for him then if he’s a slam bam thank you ma’am sort of guy. sorry my phone doesn’t like capital letters. this site is about sharing the lessons we’ve learned. that’s the lesson I’ve learned from the other side.
    dan, don’t you think that every time you become a perfect person for some new girl, that’s compromising who you are? relationships are far from lazy, they take a lot of work to maintain. one could equally argue that being single there’s no point really in growing if you intend always to be single. why get rid of the beer gut or find new hobbies or have a real personality or clean your house? if someone doesn’t like it, they will be gone soon anyways. Women are replacable after all.

  • Meg, you’re absolutely right. This site is about sharing the lessons we’ve learned. However, this is the problem I have with your argument:

    You’re saying that, even if the guy is upfront about not wanting the relationship, the girl can still get hurt. Therefore, the guy has to be careful not to hurt her.

    That’s bullshit.

    If you want to share a lesson that you learned after getting hurt by a guy who was “too perfect,” it should be, “I (Meg) have to be careful and not let myself fall for the guy,” not, “this guy needs to stop playing me.”

    If you want to say, “watch out, ladies, you can still get attached even if the guy is upfront,” that’s fine. THAT’s a lesson.

    But to say, and I quote you:

    Meg Pierce :

    Just because you are honest and upfront about the fact that you are going to run away and be out of someone’s life by breakfast doesn’t mean that we have any control over whether or not we get attached…. “Honesty” is not a free pass to play with someone’s emotions.

    That’s not sharing a lesson you learned. That’s forcing the guy to take responsibility for your inability to keep your emotions in check. In fact, in this case, you haven’t learned anything. You’re actually shirking your own responsibility and trying to force a lesson that you should’ve learned on someone else.

    The bottom line is, he hasn’t played you. Therefore, the lesson is not his to learn. It’s yours. So don’t lecture the guy. Lecture yourself.

  • meg :

    dan, don’t you think that every time you become a perfect person for some new girl, that’s compromising who you are? relationships are far from lazy, they take a lot of work to maintain. one could equally argue that being single there’s no point really in growing if you intend always to be single. why get rid of the beer gut or find new hobbies or have a real personality or clean your house? if someone doesn’t like it, they will be gone soon anyways. Women are replacable after all.

    Meg, I feel like I’ve given you the wrong impression. I definitely play a role in these girls’ lives, but not through any pretense or deception. I know exactly who I am, and I’m proud of the man I’ve become. When I meet someone new, I don’t pretend to like the things she likes just to get her into bed. I’d rather be honest and let her explain to me what she likes and dislikes, what she values, and what makes her tick. Everybody’s favorite subject to talk about is themselves- if being a good listener compromises who I am, then I guess I do compromise myself quite a bit.

    Again, perhaps “lazy” was the wrong word. Complacent is probably more like it. It’s a scientific fact that people gain weight when they’ve pair-bonded, and in my personal experience people in a relationship eventually become much more comfortable revealing (most of) their faults to the person they’ve chosen to be with. When I’m single I am always on my best behavior- I always put my best foot forward. When it comes down to it, men are just as replaceable as women are- so I work hard to be in great shape, my place is (almost) always spotless, and despite the insinuation, I have a pretty well-rounded and authentic personality. I don’t “act like Prince Charming” as you put it- I just think that women are attracted to any good listener with an open, positive attitude and an uncompromising sense of self. And I’m not about to apologize for that.

  • So Dan, what you’re saying is that you don’t act like Prince Charming. You are Prince Charming.” Right? 😉

  • “Honesty” is not a free pass to play with someone’s emotions….Dennis, you know those friends of yours who say they are just friends and don’t want anything more and then they make out with you when they are drunk. Well, weren’t they being honest with you when they said they didn’t want anything more than friends? But it is still messing with your head isn’t it? They didn’t lie, but their actions said something different than their words. I think it works the same way when a guy says he doesn’t want a relationship and then he introduces you to his friends and his mother and acts like Prince Charming and calls you on the phone every day. We are trained to recognize the booty call and the guy who just wants to get laid, but it is very confusing when a guy is everything we want him to be in a relationship, but then says he doesn’t want a relationship.

    Dan, I thought your article was well written and I’m a firm believer in singlehood and not committing to someone you don’t want to commit to. I quite believe in staying single as long as you desire to.

    What I thought was weird about your article was this: “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.”

    Instead of defining who you are by being the other half of a couple, it sounds like you redefine yourself every time you meet someone new, which doesn’t really sound like an uncompromising sense of self.

  • Far from making us lazy, I think that one’s ideal partner is someone who pushes you to be your best self and holds you up to your own highest standards.

  • Dennis: Why would I ever advise someone not to fall for the perfect guy? Do you really think that a girl doesn’t know who she shouldn’t fall for? Logically, you can tell yourself not to get hurt, or not to let your emotions get control of you or not to get attached, but no matter how much you know, no matter how many defenses one puts up, no matter our efforts to avoid falling for the person who is not available, it still happens.I’m not saying anyone is to blame for it happening. But I am saying, if you don’t want a girl to fall for you, if you don’t want to be in a relationship, then don’t be a relationship guy. I believe though you are the one who wrote the article about how you can’t expect your friends to feel sorry for you the second time you get burnt. Having all the information, knowing what to expect, doesn’t stop the burn, does it?
    I’m not blaming the writer here for my past experiences, I’m not even blaming the guy who hurt me for me getting hurt, but should we actually care about the feelings of the people we are dating, which I assume that we all do, because we aren’t cads, it’s important to realize that words and actions often send mixed messages. DON’T TELL ME WHAT LESSONS I HAVE AND HAVEN’T LEARNED.
    I was not saying that the author doesn’t have a personality. I was just giving an example that it really doesn’t matter if a single person does. Which of course I don’t believe, I was just pointing out that all of the arguments for people in relationships being lazy could equally be turned around on people that are single.
    Hello, I’m the person who just wrote the article on why I love being single! But whether I’m single or in a relationship I don’t decide to be someone for someone else and then suddenly decide to stop being that person. I don’t think that people should ever or do ever stop striving to better themselves whether they are in a relationship or not. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean that life becomes stagnant and we’ve reached some definitive end.

  • Now we’re arguing semantics again, Meg.

    The two examples you give (my female friends who get drunk and make out with me, and the guy who introduces you to his mother)… that, to me, is not being “honest.” That’s giving mixed signals, and no, I would not condone that.

    But that’s not what Dan is talking about. So, again, you’re transferring your own experiences and judging Dan’s behavior based on these assumptions you’re making about him.

  • I didn’t see your last post when I posted mine.

    Yes, it sucked to get burned a second time, but did I ever blame the girl? Or tell her that she needs to stop playing with my emotions? No. Because that’s not my call.

    I know you’re trying to make this a lesson for the guys out there who would allegedly toy with women’s emotions. But, you’re sounding like a victim here.

    I have serious problems with statements like this:

    “But I am saying, if you don’t want a girl to fall for you, if you don’t want to be in a relationship, then don’t be a relationship guy.”

    Bullshit, Meg. Stop blaming the guy and take freaking responsibility for you own actions. You can’t *make* a guy treat you a certain way. You can only be responsible for your own actions.

    So, stop transferring your issues and making assumptions about Dan.

  • I’m not judging! I’m questioning why he would be whoever the girl would want him to be. I think that’s a legitimate question since he is suggesting that people in relationships compromise and settle.

    I have been the honest girl. I have told a guy I didn’t want to be his girlfriend, but I would sleep with him. Unfortunately, this was after he already had feelings for me. So when he asked me if I wanted to get coffee the next day and I said no I don’t think we should hang out for awhile, he was more than just a little upset. Understandably so. Dennis, when I say, being honest doesn’t mean you have a right to go messing with people’s heads and hearts, this is a lesson I have learned from my own experiences being the “honest” one.

  • Okay, Meg, I’m gonna try not to let this devolve into another argument.

    You make a legitimate point that toying with other people’s emotions is messed up. I can’t disagree with that. However, look at the context that you brought up your argument:

    You took Dan’s article about why he loves being single and turned it into fodder for your argument about why you shouldn’t mess with someone’s emotions, in the process making some HUGE assumptions about what he does and questioning his behavior.

    THAT’s messed up.

  • Fine. If you don’t want a guy to fall for you, if you don’t want to be in a relationship, then don’t be the relationship girl. I’m not speaking to Dan, I’m speaking in general, Dennis. It’s not blaming the guy or the girl. People get hurt, no one has control over people getting hurt. It happens, it’s a part of life. But I do have control over my own actions and I know that if I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone, then I shouldn’t play the relationship role. Again, I have done this. I have had that guy friend who liked me, who I dated a bit, then didn’t and I have continued to be the relationship girl for him and it’s was very confusing. You are assuming I’m speaking specifically or out of bitterness, I’m not at all. This is a point about relationships and the conversation has gone way away from the original article to another realm. It’s not about Dan or what he does or doesn’t do in relationships. To be quite honest, whatever injury I got was a mere scrape on the knee. I don’t really have any issues to be transferring here. You make it sound like I’m some gravely injured victim who is lashing out from pain or hurt or something. I’m not suggesting any victimization. I’m not even suggesting that Dan acts like the relationship guy, how would I know?

    As far as Dan’s article however, let me ask your opinion Dennis. Do you or have you ever been whatever the girl wants you to be?

  • For that matter, you don’t have total control over hurting someone or not. You can’t stop others from getting hurt anymore than you can stop yourself from getting hurt.

  • Nobody’s assuming anything about DAN! Sorry Dan if you thought that’s what I was suggesting. I wasn’t suggesting anything about the way you date or suggesting that you were going around hurting people right and left. I thought this was a forum for talking about relationships and other thoughts that your article generated.

  • Meg Pierce :

    Nobody’s assuming anything about DAN! Sorry Dan if you thought that’s what I was suggesting.

    I don’t know if Dan thought it, but *I* did. Go back and reread your first series of posts. They come across as very… well, antagonizing and lecture-ish.

    As far as Dan’s article however, let me ask your opinion Dennis. Do you or have you ever been whatever the girl wants you to be?

    My “Love’s Greatest Irony” article addresses that. But, in a word, yes.

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