This past month I was at a small party with a handful of men and women who were over forty and single. Someone at the party read a piece in which the narrator mentioned having gone without sex “for a whole six months.” There was a collective groan in the room; both the men and women indicated that six months was nothing. It was heartening for me to realize that men can go through dry spells too.
I was listening to a podcast today in which two male comics in their thirties bemoaned their recent single status, saying that they hadn’t been alone in a long time and that looking for women was detrimental to their ability to focus and be productive in their careers. They likened being single to being hungry and thus unable to concentrate on anything. They also questioned whether it was possible to be happy alone.
It was enlightening to hear men talk about such issues, but it also reminded me of how frequently I’ve been admonished that I don’t need a partner to be happy. I’ve struggled with my ambivalence over that concept for years.
The comics also discussed the flip side, which is that being single allows you to be selfish and to concentrate on your own projects. I’ve benefitted from that too, but at the same time, I wonder if I could have accomplished more if I hadn’t spent so much time dating and looking for the “one.”