DEAR SUSAN: This is for the man who complains that women want men in order to live the good life without working: Excuse me. I'm sure you're speaking about some of us, but there are lots of other lives out there. I happen to be slim, so I can't quarrel with your comment that normal weight is a good thing. But I didn't marry my husband for his ability to support me! I went to college, studied a field that would lead to a good career, worked hard and made my own money. In fact, one of the things his family liked about me was that I obviously wasn't after his money. So this is to warn the gold diggers out there that men can spot it right away. And they should! Ticks and bedbugs are parasites. Pinworms and hookworms are parasites. Is that really a group you'd like to join? — From the "Single File" blog
DEAR BLOGGER: Well said. Terse, poetic (in a way) and to the point. But from what I know, the "take care of me" parfum is fading fast, faint residue of a bygone era, and as useful as the appendix. From my perch overlooking Singleworld, I can hear women celebrating their newfound skills to earn their own money. (Some men may not understand their glee, being born of the gender that inherits it naturally, without fuss.) Sometimes they crow too loudly, forgetting that their men weren't part of the oppression. But it's always good to restate the condition of the genders, making sure that past grudges don't burst into open warfare.
What needs to be restated is that men also can benefit from our newfound earning power. It gives them the chance to work in lower-paying jobs that truly fulfill them, because their mate is contributing to the income. (Interested to know more? Find any book by Warren Farrell, and enjoy the read.) You were clever to plan your career and not give it up for marriage. Smart cookie, you. What tickles this columnist is the possibility that your words may well help someone — younger or older, male or female — do the same. Inspiration should be shared. Here's to independence at any age. (Curious to read my Declaration of Undependence, on parchment suitable for framing? Send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope. No charge.)
DEAR SUSAN: Your column on room rates for singles surprised me. Business, which is indeed interested in making the most money possible, is no longer a freewheeling arena. Many are regulated for a degree of equity and public protection, including banks, airlines, railroads and so on. Otherwise, couples would pay less for seats (no twofers on airlines, railroads or buses). Let's be serious here. The real reason hotels charge more for a single person is because they can. All the unmarried people I know resent being charged more than couples for the same services. It really restricts our travel budgets. And the idea that the odds of changing the established order are small seems to be an odd statement. In a democracy, lobbyists — as well as citizens — achieve changes every day. — From the "Single File" blog
DEAR BLOGGER: Agreed, the unmarried have many well-founded gripes — about hotels, airfare, entertainment. We live in a society structured for the couple. It's a mindset bordering on dogma, and I, for one, rise up against it in my exercises in singleness, particularly "Going to a Party Alone." Think about it. When was the last time you escorted yourself to a social gathering? Men can get away with it more than we fair ones, a delicious man being harder to find these days. (That reminds me of the uproar over my words "a good man nowadays is hard to find." It is an innocuous song lyric, but in these incendiary times, even the most innocent statement is fuel for torching. Wow!) I believe that the fundamental unease of being solo is the powerful push that has driven the unpartnered to find new forms of relating, new ways to couple. After all, answers don't come from those who are comfortable; they're too snug in the status quo to wander into the unusual, the untried, the novel. No, it's the single person, made to feel different, who is prodded to find new answers. And what have they come up with? Cohabitation — coupled but unmarried, single but part of a committed relationship. I rest my case. This is a long-winded discourse inspired by your rant on unfair charges by hotels and such. Thanks for the spur. Now do something creative with your angst!
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