When I started high school in 1967, the principal was a no-nonsense woman named Eugenia DeFazio. Mrs. DeFazio, as we all called her, had already been the principal for 7 years at that point. I think she knew every last student who walked the Dunmore High School hallways until the day she retired at age 67. She had high standards and she enforced them. I admired that, and I admired her.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, my inbox is filling up with the usual pitches from people who think that since I write about single life, what I and my readers must really crave is a marriage partner. I’ve written posts mocking them before, but they don’t read, they just try to sell.
Amidst the offers of access to an interview with some king or queen of sugar babies, and the pitches illustrated by condoms arranged in the shape of a heart, was something a little different, with no accompanying obnoxious illustrations. The email began like this:
Over at Living Single, I wrote an in-depth critique of a recent study about single men and their purportedly more anti-social behavior than married men. In the first post, Actual Newspaper Headline: ‘Married Men Better Men,’ I worked through the details of the study, including the actual items used to measure anti-social behavior and the point-by-point results of the research. In the second post, Naughty or Nice? Single Men and Married Men, I explained what I thought the results really did mean.
Just posted in the New York Times is an essay in Pamela Paul’s “Studied” column called, The Marrying Kind: Born or Made? She includes my point that the difference in scores on the anti-social behavior scale between the single and married men was underwhelming. (Specifically, on a 10-point scale, the single men report an average of just over 1 “symptom,” and the married men report an average of just under 1.)
I love the story of the singles’ cooking club that has lasted 39 years and counting. That’s the one that was told by the distinguished historian Mary Beth Norton, that I posted on Living Single here, here, and here. I like the idea of a group of singles coming together, fairly routinely, in a social gathering that feels familiar and comfortable and is not about coupling. I was in a cooking club for 10 years when I lived in Charlottesville, but for most of those years, I was the only single person in groups that typically included three or four couples.