DEAR SUSAN: I’ve been divorced for nearly 20 years. I’ve had a few longer-term relationships during that time, but none evolved into marriage. (I know many unhappily married people and never again want to be one of them.) I’ve met men online, at church, via mutual friends and at social events; I’ve dated never-married, separated, divorced and widowed men. In the end, I find that those men are only looking for someone to pick up after them or satisfy their sexual needs. (By the way, I agree with your ideology that casual sex is an oxymoron. Someone always gets hurt.) So after years of being single, I find I am quite content with the status. I take myself on dates, travel when and where I want, and get full access to the remote. My question to you, Susan: Is there something wrong with my enjoying life in this manner? Because it seems to make others uncomfortable. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who can’t understand why I’m still single. Why can’t they just accept me for who I am? Don’t they see I’m happy flying solo? From the “Single File” blog
DEAR BLOGGER: We tend to feel more comfortable around people who think as we do, who live as we do, whose values we can agree with. Why, you ask? Well, for one thing, it’s reassuring; we feel validated because they made the same choices we did. So being with them feels more comfortable. We can sit back and relax, certain there’s no freethinker around. We’re certain we won’t be prodded to re-examine the choices we have already made and are living with/by. (It would be a major shake-up to our tidy little lives to rethink those choices, because re-examination might threaten the status quo.) Life is a series of choices; not everyone fits into the same mold. Marriage isn’t for everyone, as parenthood isn’t. Yes, our society breathes easier seeing couples in lockstep. But each individual must find his comfort level. We’re not exactly encouraged to do so — and it’s slow going — but the joy of finding (and living by) your own is life’s jackpot. Need I say more?
DEAR SUSAN: Not every slender, attractive woman is already with someone. I know plenty of women who fit that description but who can’t find anybody — because the men I know appreciate a kind heart and self-confidence more than they do someone who’s afraid to take a morsel of food for fear she’d gain an ounce. From the “Single File” blog
DEAR BLOGGER: As chief interlocutor (and the final wordsmith, with the keyboard), I need to say that you are right — and wrong. Being slender and attractive doesn’t consign you to one small peanut per day and visible terror if you consume more. (And it doesn’t necessarily give you confidence; that comes from within.) But on the other hand, kindness and a warm heart can abide within an attractive or a slightly overweight woman. Weight has nothing to do with it. Yet I feel
compelled to add: Besides being a major health danger, fat is a turnoff for most of us, men especially. Enough said.