Skip to main content


We live in a sexually liberated age. Porn is free. Prostitution is (largely) legal. And the way we define sexuality and gender roles is changing rapidly. There are now more than just gays and straights. There are transgenders, cross-dressers, a name for every mood and varying fetish. There's even a Gender X. Did you hear about this? It's big in Germany. These "intersex" individuals no longer have to fit in the traditional gender framework, as the current two options of "M" for male or "F" for female in a passport gender field are now joined by a third option. That's right, X.

I've officially seen it all.

But it wasn't until I came across a review for the book Spinster that I read about a group that I for a long time have identified with, a group that before seeing the review I thought was made up of only me.

The book's author (Kate Bolick) celebrates the fact that she is a spinster, which for those too far removed from SAT days to remember means an older unmarried female. And indeed she is a minority (in 2012 the Pew Research Center showed that only 17% of women have never been married).
Rising Share of Never-Married Adults, Growing Gender Gap
Most heterosexual people in their 40s or older of either sex either are married or have been married (or are in a long-term committed relationship involving cohabitation and therefore simulating marriage, only without the paperwork - but remember, people, after 7 years you're considered married in many states!) and most have kids.

Of course gays don't fit this description. Recently gay marriage was outlawed, and outside artificial insemination and surrogation the prospect of two partners of the same sex having a child is anatomically impossible, and these medical advancements are cost prohibitive restricting their availability to the well-to-do. Something similar could be said about adoption. But that's beside the point. I always thought one of the perks about being gay was not feeling pressured to marry. Sort of having your cake and eating it too. Being perpetually engaged. A recipe to maintain the freshness and zest that quickly fade after holy matrimony. I mean right? But all the lobbying for gay rights has shown that the straight guy's nightmare is the gay person's dream. Hopefully the divorce rate among homosexuals will be less that what it is for heteros.

Now I am not a spinster. Only women can be spinsters, and there isn't a name for older unmarried guys. I could use the term committed bachelor, I suppose. But even that doesn't quite work. Since the whole point of being a bachelor is to remain noncommittal! But of the heterosexuals (that's me), I've looked around more than once to count the single, straight, never-wed and child-free adult aged over 4 decades, the (committed) bachelors of the room, and wound up holding up one little finger - that's me. A minority of one. Making me scarcer than virtually any other minority in history, and I hope less persecuted.

But life has not been easy. My circumstances (single, mostly independent, rather care-free) are similar to one who is half my age, but life experience, maturity and wisdom (they are inevitable attendants of time) make hanging out with 20-year-olds seem like babysitting. And spending time with guys my own age (think old friends from high school) feels like babysitting too, only in this case it's my friends babies and they're sitting on my knees.

But though life for a forty-something who is single by choice, never been married and doesn't have kids (such a long description: too bad Gender X is already taken) may not be run-of-the-mill, when I think of all the trips to Disneyland I'm missing (I never liked amusement parks, even as a kid!) I find I'd have it no other way. It's lonely at the top, they say. I may not be at the top of anything, but the saying offers relief, and even the occasional lonely moment is worth it, since it's better than being continuously aggravated - which happens to me if I spend too much time with anyone, man woman or child.

But now that there's my Spinster friend (who like me is in her early 40s) I don't feel so lonely any more. Maybe she and I will get together and go bowling, and pins falling as they may maybe we'll even make babies. I jest. Bringing new life into this world will mean the death of our select group at a time that I am, thanks in part to her book (or at least the summary of it I read on Amazon), just beginning to understand the many benefits of, as she puts it, living authentically at any age.

Or as I chose to say, being single and loving it. So what if about half of Americans consider getting married or having children necessary for being an adult (according to the Network on Transitions to Adulthood). Dare to break the mold!


Popular posts from this blog


I was watching the TV show Naked and Afraid last night as I sometimes do. The show teams together two strangers, a man and a woman, who attempt to survive on their own for a period of 21 days in some remote and isolated region. Some of the locales featured include the Australian Outback, the Amazonian rainforest and the African Savanna. The man may have a military background, or be an adventurist or deep sea fisherman. Sometimes he's an ordinary dude who lives with mom. The woman is a park ranger or extreme fitness enthusiast or "just a mom" herself. Sometimes the couple quarrel, sometimes one or both "tap out" (quit) in a fit of anger or illness. It is satisfying to see them actually make it through the challenge and reach their extraction point. The victors are usually exhausted, emaciated, begrimed and bare ass naked. 

Even more satisfying, at least for me, is the occasional ass shot, snuck in at strategic intervals to boost viewership, of course. It's co…


There is no such thing as screw-ups.

Case in point. My excellent friend Deej comes over to help me beautify the garden. He immediately dives in, crouching down on his knees and weed whacking with his bare hands. Before I can say yay or nay, he proceeds to remove a huge clump of daisy greens from the oblong patch of Earth adjacent to the driveway. The area instantly looks bare. Like the back of Woody Allen's head. Smoothing out the soil and shaking his head Deej mutters to himself "I fucked it up!" over and over again. We try everything. Planting succulents in the daisy's place. Covering it with rocks. But still the area looks barren. And every time you water it the water trickles down onto the sidewalk in the absence of roots to hold it in place. It's getting dark so we go back inside. The next day I return to the spot with a clear perspective and remove all the other daisies, leaving only rose bushes and the succulents that DJ planted, and depositing 10 bags of m…


This is not a commentary on the latest fitness fad. Because if it were, the little I'd have to say on the subject would be largely derogatory. I simply cannot see see how crouching in a stuffy, dark, cramped room surrounded by sweat-drenched strangers while expending a lot of energy and going nowhere deserves to be called fun, though aficionados tell me it is (fun). I tell these aficionados that if no pain no gain is your thing, discomfort can be had for a lot cheaper than $50 an hour. Try plucking your nose hairs. What we don't do for the sake of beauty. This endurance heir to the Stairmaster and elliptical is all hype. There's a name for the type who likes to run (or otherwise move) in place. It's called a hamster. 

This reminds me of a joke my father likes to tell, about what living with a woman turns a guy into. You go from a wolf to a sheep to a hamster. After nearly 40 years of married life, my dad has added cockroach to the zoological lineage. Which I'm sure …