never married, over forty, a little bitter

Category: podcasts


For the most part, I found Bryan Callan’s interview of Kristin Newman to be sensitive, supportive, and astute (I could only get it to play in iTunes):

At about the 19 minute mark, however, his co-host says something to the effect that we all know “the conclusion is a family and kids” and then goes on to say that she can appreciate those things more for having taken a detour. He probably didn’t intend it this way, but again it makes it seem that it’s okay to take a detour, even a lengthy one, as long as one comes back to marriage and kids. But what if one doesn’t?

What if the story has no conclusion?

globe trotters

The idea that everything should be goal-oriented – with the goal for women so often being that we’re all supposed to get married and have babies, and if you’re doing something that’s not taking you toward that goal, that you’re somehow off-track or wasting time – I wasn’t ready for that when everyone said I was supposed to be. I worried, but that was the truth, and I hope that honoring that and not forcing myself to do something I wasn’t ready to do helps me have a happy marriage now. A lot of people get divorced because they feel that it’s time before they’re ready, and then they implode. I didn’t want that to happen to me. I watched it happen to my mother and some of my friends. Being single for a long time is like getting on a plane by yourself, which is absolutely terrifying: You’re alone, and you don’t know where you’re going. In life, we never know where paths are going to lead, but that’s the only way to happiness, right?

Interview here:

Her sentiments are nice, but as I’ve written before, she ends up getting married, and in the podcast interview discusses how she and her husband plan to have a baby someday (which is optimistic considering she didn’t marry until forty). I also couldn’t relate to her thirtysomething single life: the money she must have been making, the three to six months off a year for travel, the large group of globetrotting single/celebrity friends she was able to bond with when her other friends got married.

I did have a lot of fun going out dancing in my early thirties and then exploring L.A. in my late thirties, but friendships with people my age were few and far between and I was working like a dog through the economic downtown. I don’t know many single people who have had her type of life.

dudes on dating

Two male comics discuss dating and the pressure to get married here:

I have a friend who had been divorced when she started dating again and she looked for (and found) a man who had also been divorced. To her being divorced means that you’ve been through a trial by fire and would know better next time how to make a marriage work.

I’m the opposite. I’m very attracted to that rare species of man who is over forty and has never been married or had kids. It’s a factor of similar lifestyles. If he’s sane and smart and sensitive… ooh la la.

I’m unfamiliar with the other comic but am very surprised that someone like Neal Brennan would use online dating. Maybe guys have it harder than I thought. I’m tempted to assume it’s because they are searching for someone young and extraordinarily good-looking, but it sounds like they just want to find that good match.


I sometimes wonder how long it will be before all this intimacy and authenticity attracts stalkers:

When he first started recording, he told me, “Really being authentic and sincere for an hour was kind of a struggle. There was an initial desire to be distant, cool. I saw myself grappling with: How do I present myself?” Eventually, he realized: “You don’t [present yourself]. You just do it. And to me that’s very post-Empire.” Authenticity, for Ellis, means expressing strong opinions, even if they’re unpopular. A recurring theme is Ellis’s distaste for both Fruitvale Station and 12 Years a Slave, a film he says has been “overly rewarded for its slavery narrative.” Such an opinion might spark a mini whirlwind if floated on Twitter or elsewhere online, but the podcast insulates. “I’m just not interested in tweeting that kind of stuff anymore—the contrarian opinion,” he explains. A controversial topic can languish, or achieve more nuance, when spoken out loud with someone else without the possibility of an instant reaction from those who disagree. The podcast is a safe bet for anyone who feels they’ve been burned by the media—a quiet stronghold for unmediated conversation.

open books

I was listening to, yes, a podcast the other day, and the woman being interviewed said she never listens to music or watches TV anymore– all she does is listen to podcasts.

I can relate in that I have no idea why I’m paying for cable. I rarely turn on the TV anymore. I still listen to a lot of podcasts, although I’ve cut my listening down from what it once was.

One of the reasons I like podcasts so much is, like everyone else, I’m stressed out and busy and podcasts allow me to multitask. Along those same lines, I, like most people these days, have little time for long, intimate conversations either in person or on the phone, so podcasts fill that hole.

The other thing I’ve realized, though, is that podcasters (and celebrities in general) are rewarded for an honesty and an airing of dirty laundry that the rest of us can only dream about. As the competition for jobs becomes ever fiercer, the average citizen must build a carefully crafted image that allows for no vulnerability, no strong opinions, and no mistakes.

Podcasts allow us to vicariously experience humanity in all its messy complexity, a messy complexity that, in our personal lives, we must keep under wraps.


I enjoyed the honesty of this interview; once again, it’s nice to hear a dude’s perspective on coming to terms with the single and childless life:

ranty women

“How angry am I? You don’t want to know. Nobody wants to know.” Those are the opening lines of Claire Messud’s new novel, The Woman Upstairs. The novel is about a single woman, Nora, who hasn’t fulfilled her dreams of being an artist and having children. Nora’s plight is complicated when she befriends a woman who has done both.

The book explores deeper themes about what it means to sacrifice everything for one’s art and the inner life of a person whose dreams have been thwarted in relation to external realities. Part of that inner life, says Messud, is anger and she has long been interested in how anger manifests itself in the form of a rant.

“As a reader since very early I have found myself drawn to rants,” she tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “I was in my senior year of high school when I read Notes From Underground by Dostoyevksy and it was an exhilarating discovery. I hadn’t known up until that moment that fiction could be like that. Fiction could say these things, could be unseemly, could be unsettling and distressing in that particular way, that immediate and urgent way. And in the many years since I have read and loved a number of ranting narrators, and it struck me eventually that they were all men and that I didn’t know of a book in which a woman expressed her anger and I thought perhaps I should write one.”


A little after the thirty-minute mark, the interviewee, a mom, tells people not to have kids, calling motherhood the “ultimate bait and switch.” Kinda nice to have yet another perspective:

Although she seems to go back and forth on the issue here:

taking stock

On some days life is full of meaning and purpose and I am thrilled to be part of the living. On some level, I am 50, twice divorced, childless and living alone. It is amazing. I may have won. I just have to accept that certain things may not happen for me and which of those things are actually things that I want or things that I have been lead to believe I should want.

Family propaganda is very powerful and is supported by the biological fact that we are here to make more people. It is also disseminated by people who are in the thick of it and, in a lot of cases, trying to make themselves believe that they have done the right thing. We are animals able to ask questions and make choices. Maybe there are plenty of people already here and it’s okay to sit this one out and think about why some days my life lacks meaning and purpose. It’s because some days, it does.

More here at the five-minute mark:

the details

I was listening to a podcast this morning in which two men discuss feelings of loneliness and how it is difficult to find people who really listen to you or notice things about your personality.

At least one has a partner, and both appear to have more exciting lives than I do, so it was one of those nice reality checks for me. It was also nice to hear a guy talk about his worries that perhaps he is too accepting of and accommodating of his friends’ faults and that maybe he should call them out on stuff more often. I definitely relate to that: