Last Single Guy Standing?
Think all men revel in their bachelorhood? Hardly—here, one writer reveals how he really feels about his unattached status and how he copes.
t’s most obvious at weddings: I look around the room at all the couples. I take a quick glance at every ring finger. I brace for that first dance where everyone reaches for a partner. And I realize that I’m at an age where there’s no guarantee of a singles table anymore. Or at the holidays, when everyone sitting around the table is coupled up… except me.
Welcome to the world of a 34-year-old single guy.
However, I’m not just a single guy. I’m a dating coach who’s helped thousands of clients find love and the author of two books about dating, including Why You’re Still Single. As a result, I’ve had no choice but to closely consider my own plight: OK, Evan, why are you still single?
|When I reached my mid-thirties, a real sense of urgency about settling down hit. |
I’m ultimately left with some combination of…
But that’s all about the present. A bigger question is, how did I get here? Is there anything I can learn from my past? Let’s evaluate:
- I just haven’t met the right person. I know… weak.
- I’m a bit picky. But aren’t we all?
- The only two women I’d have married both dumped me. Yeah, that’s a biggie.
Upper-middle class family. Parents who were married for thirty-plus years. My folks were my best friends growing up, and all I ever wanted to do was emulate them. Weird, I know. I might have been the only 10-year-old kid who couldn’t wait for the day he’d have his very own house and family.
In my junior year of high school, my Dad asked me if I was getting any “action” from girls at school. I wasn’t, but I distinctly remember telling him that part of the reason was that I wanted to find someone I cared about first. In true male fashion, he told me to have fun now and worry about caring later. But the die had been cast. At that time I was a lovesick puppy, doomed to earnestly roam the earth in pursuit of my soul mate.
In college, I discovered the joys of the random, drunken hookup. Boy, did I discover the joys. While I was still hoping to find love, I sure wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to have a good time. That perpetual-bachelor worldview carried into my twenties and early thirties. I’d date a lot but remained single. Some might call me a player. I considered it a form of integrity: Where others would have one-year relationships that should have ended after three months, I had three-month relationships that ended right on time. My feeling was that every second I spent with the wrong woman was a second I wasn’t out looking for the right one. This may not have been a typically male philosophy, but it was one that worked well for me at the time.
Then I hit my mid-thirties. I started to take stock of my methods and was forced to wonder whether I was my own worst enemy. I suddenly felt something beyond longing for connection… I found myself with a real sense of urgency about settling down. A strange, deeply buried ticking clock of sorts.
I actually found myself thinking things like, “If I fell in love tomorrow, got engaged in six months, got married in a year and had a child a year later, I’d still be in my late fifties by the time my kid graduated college.”
|Being one of the last single guys is difficult.|
I know. It’s nuts.
But whether anybody admits it, being one of the last single guys is difficult. And not just at family functions, where, at the very least, I’m surrounded by loved ones and eating copious amounts of food. I’m talking about those nights where I turn on the TV and want someone to share a laugh. I’m talking about shopping for one at the grocery store. I’m talking about the immense value of having a woman around to help me pick out new shoes. I think of my friends with wives and children that they adore more than life itself. I stop and watch fathers and sons at baseball games, in the park, in temple. I think of my
own Dad, now gone eight years, and bet he’s undoubtedly curious as to when I’m going to get my act together. I’m working on it. Taking classes? Doing volunteer work? Open to set-ups? Check, check and check.
I think of the tried and true advice I routinely give my clients as a dating coach:
They’re all true, but still it’s hard to keep getting out there. I’ve already turned myself into a caricature of a bachelor: the one who brings a new date to every dinner party. The one whose friends can’t keep track of his girlfriends. The one who thinks he’s serious about love but is maybe just afraid of commitment. I start to despair, wondering if I’m living in some sort of delusional state about my innermost desires.
- It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
- The only people who guarantee failure are the ones who quit.
- The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
And then I get the call. It’s from a client of mine. Forty-one-years old, smart, successful, and intensely skeptical about her chances to find love. I’d made it clear to her from the outset that she can’t give up hope, that everything we do together could make the difference. We got her new photos and a new essay for her online profile—and a new approach to dating.
And it worked. That’s what she’s called to tell me. She’s in love. He declared it to her at the end of a glorious weekend trip. She attributes it all to me—all because I believed that anything was possible, all because I refused to let her fail.
It’s obvious what I have to do. I’ve said the same thing to thousands of others.
I have to keep on going.
Online dating coach Evan Marc Katz is the founder of profile writing service E-Cyrano.com and the author of the new book Why You’re Still Single: Things Your Friends Would Tell You If You Promised Not to Get Mad. You can reach him directly at evanmarckatz.com.