Discrimination of a Singular Kind: A Rant

As I boarded the vessel, I came under immediate attack.

But, unlike that suffered by IDF naval commandos a couple of months ago, this assault was both innocent and purely verbal. It was, however, no less unwelcome.

“This is Mike. He is 42, and looking for a wife.”

This is how my (with) friend(s like these), Donna, introduced me to the several middle-aged women seated with her at the rear of the boat, in Herzliya Pituach marina, last Tuesday afternoon.

And stern (back of a boat, geddit?!) was what I was. Indeed, if I was not so used to the way that so many married people relate to us single folk, a second flotilla incident may have been unavoidable. But shrugging off, rather than reacting to, Donna’s introduction (she is, after all, an ex-Hasmo girl), I extended a cheery greeting to my fellow sailors and thanked Donna for prompting me to turn my attention to a matter to which I had alluded in an earlier post to melchett mike, i.e., the very different treatment given by certain married people to their single friends, and especially the seeming assumption that the love and private lives of those friends (and not just those who write about them on their blogs!) are fair and public game.

I mean, it is hard to imagine a reaction as restrained as mine, above, were we singles to give our married friends a taste of their own medicine and to start introducing them in an equally uninhibited and intrusive manner:

“This is Josh and Becky. Don’t be fooled by the show – they are utterly miserable. Josh is looking for fun with a woman for whom rigor mortis has not yet set in . . . while Becky is just longing to be touched by any woman.”

Why is it that those married people (and it is not all of them) seem to forget everything that they know about you, their single friend – what you are like, what you do, what you have achieved . . . in short, who you are – but, instead, reduce you to the fact that you have, as yet, always opted for “I won’t”?

Even ignoring the occasional (and always hilarious) gay jibes, such marrieds seem to have all kinds of misconceptions about their single friends: That you somehow won’t be able to cope at a meal out or dinner party with their other, married friends. And, if you do receive an invitation, it will usually be as an afterthought, rather than the advance one received by the other, ‘normal’ guests (so a fellow ex-Hasmo would, at the end of Saturday morning synagogue, invariably invite me back for lunch with other, married ex-classmates who had had the date in their diaries for weeks; I never went). Then, of course, there are the weddings and bar mitzvahs where you get seated at the “sad singles” (with whom you have nothing else in common) table, rather than with your married friends.

But, then, it is not unusual for those same married couples – especially, the male halves – to show inordinate interest in all the gory details of your love life . . . which causes me to wonder whether they actually live vicariously through us.

I mean, of course, most of us singles would love to find our soul mate, procreate (as opposed to merely copulate), and live happily ever after. But, believe it or not, many of us are also pretty complete individuals, who – until we find that person – are quite content with the advantages, and they are not negligible (see previous brackets), that we currently enjoy.

Indeed, if there is a Gay Pride Parade, then why not a Single one?!

Towards the end of our sail, I asked Donna (whom, incidentally, I love dearly) about a guy on the catamaran whom I had not yet met (though I was determined to introduce myself, this time). And I soon got talking to Paul – “Divorced. Looking.” was Donna’s complete profile of him – who told me that the next time he starts thinking about marriage, he will instead (to save on lawyers’ fees) just find someone he dislikes and buy her a house . . .

Which guaranteed that if I was “looking for a wife” when I got on the boat, I certainly was not as I got off.

http://www.justgiving.com/melchettmike

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17 responses to “Discrimination of a Singular Kind: A Rant

  1. A little bitter and twisted, this one (on a reread) . . . but it is (as always) honest, and obviously “came from somewhere” . . . so I’m gonna leave it up! 😉

  2. how true… people will sit around a shabbos table discussing “who do we know for s?”… when you’re single you become public property… and it seems that it is viewed as a terminal illness…

  3. galacticlucy

    touchy, touchy.. Donna’s shorthand was saying ‘here’s my friend Mike and he’s not gay’ (even though you do have the dogs…) and you can all envy him his freedom.

    PS I was on the boat.

  4. In everything that a terminal disease comprises being single is only different in that you won’t die as a result of it. Although you will die anyway…

  5. “. . . while Becky is just longing to be touched by any woman.”

    In your dreams, dude.

    I hate to burst your bubble, but gay jibes are NOT hysterical.

  6. And who said Americans don’t get sarcasm?! 😉

  7. May I infer that the hot phone number I gave you last week was a dud?

  8. well… imagine how awful you would feel if noone introduced you as single.. ie no one would be interested anyway if you were!

  9. A few salient points:

    1. You casually raise the possibility:
    “But, then, it is not unusual for the same married couples – especially, the male halves – to show inordinate interest in all the gory details of your love life . . . which causes me to wonder whether they actually live vicariously through us.”

    Are you mad? Of course we live vicariously through you. It’s a simple as that.

    It’s not your techniques or positions interest us. Nor are we usually jealous. It’s much deeper than that.

    You are our last remaining life-line to our youth. We look at you and we see a fascinating creature – a cross between us when we were 18 and us today. You look like us, in many cases better and we share the collective history of our generation.

    You were our path not taken, and we are yours. You were what we might have been. Can anything be more fascinating at a time machine?

    It’s not the sex we’re interested in. Most of us occasionally indulge in the act ourselves in a way not wholly different than yours. It’s everything that comes before and after. It’s the chase and the hunt, the seduction. It’s the day after too.

    When you score we assure ourselves that it could have been us. When you wallow in self pity we feel good about ourselves. What could be finer?

    That is what we miss, if we miss anything. We feed singles and let them pretend to adore our children. They remind of what we are and what we might have been, or what we might not have been. That is the contract. You must ask us nothing about that area of our lives. We will ask you everything. Learn to live with it.

    2. When people are on ships that they suspect are sinking, nothing gives them more self-confidence than the ability to persuade others to hop on board. If they can’t find you a match, the very fact that you are interested shows that the ship can’t be that bad.

    Beware of those who are forever trying to pair off their friends, and let their spouses beware.

    3. Point 2 notwithstanding, nothing would hurt you more than if we made no attempt to marry you off, by which you would infer that we believe all hope is lost. I often suggest people to people, especially women, knowing full well nothing will come of it, just to show them that I believe that they are attractive people that others are likely to want.

    4. I’m sure that being a Jewish single is not easy, but judging by divorce figures, the alternative isn’t always a bowl of cherries either.

    5. This posting is not about Mike or Daniel, but about people. Take nothing I said personally, and read nothing into anything.

  10. Not a “dud”, Yosef, no. We spoke, and plan to meet. Wanna be my chaperone? I know there’s not much you’d stop me doing! 😉

    Excellent comment, Daniel. And very perceptive . . . especially “You must ask us nothing about that area of our lives. We will ask you everything.” and “When people are on ships that they suspect are sinking, nothing gives them more self-confidence than the ability to persuade others to hop on board.”

    That’s two consecutive (substantive) comments now where I agree with almost every word you write . . . have you fallen for one of those German tourists?!

  11. Daniel Marks

    Yup, his name is Frederick.

  12. Mike oh Mike,

    I remember what it was like all too well and I still have issues with (in general) attitudes of the marrieds to set ups for singles, ie they’re breathing, so enjoy and be thankful, or don’t enjoy, but still be thankful. Sitting on the singles table at a wedding was enough to make you want to find the nearest door, whether or not the canapes were coming out of it.

    Yes a person is more than their marital or relationship status. No, you shouldn’t have to settle (hold out until you’re as happy as I was when I met your friend!!). And if a Smug Married wants to introduce you to someone then think carefully; if it’s someone who likes you it’s because they want you to be as happy as they are, but if it’s someone who doesn’t then they want you to be as miserable as they are!

    So, should I start scouring my phone book for dates during your visit? 🙂

  13. Tamar Meijers

    Hilarious. Of course you do exaggerate on some fronts (I can say that as a single woman). Very insightful – Daniel Marks – though your comment “knowing full well nothing will come of it, just to show them that I believe that they are attractive people that others are likely to want.” I find that rather degrading and wonder if it is helpful in any way……………

  14. So why are they after you to get married?

    Because if you don’t get married and procreate the haredim will take over Israel within twenty years, and half-assimilated, European-culture-identifying, English-speaking maskilim will have a choice to either turn frum or return to Europe, Australia and the United States (assuming they will take you back, that is).

  15. I have been placed at equally crappy tables when turning up at a function, married but without husband, whilst all friends who have come in couples are sitting with friends, have found myself sitting with absolutely no one I know… the only time I have made a simcha with a table plan, I spent hours trying to work out where everyone would, so everyone would know someone and no one would feel alienated, left out etc, and integrating singles with marrieds… and then the Israeli’s who had failed to RSVP turned up and wrecked my plans by sitting at places allocated for them… it turns out they didn’t realize the RSVP request was meant for them.. of course I should have known they were coming.

  16. Actually Mike – I think you’re on to something. A Single’s Pride march in Tel Aviv. Will you lead?

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