While writing his personal profile for an online dating service, Mike reminisces his love life. So dismal, he deletes all references to it, but comes to a startling realization about love after canceling the service.
The opening to “Girls:”
Joyce, my stepmother, occasionally popped the question: “You’re such a good man – why aren’t you married yet?” as if I wasn’t truly a whole person unless part of a twosome.
I hated this question. When she asked it the first time, I had no clue why I hadn’t married but, of course, implied I’d been a bachelor by choice all of my thirty-five years.
What I did know a lot about was the feeling of being an outsider. That’s what it felt like to be unmarried in America. My lone consolation (more a booby prize) came in the fact I wasn’t the only unhitched member in the family – none of my siblings had married, and they were even older than I. Regardless, deep down, I hurt. Being unmarried certainly wasn’t a choice. What had Mom and Dad done – or didn’t do – to us kids growing up? Were there secrets we should try to uncover now? And if Mom and Dad were bad models for marriage, why would any one of us want to marry, let alone be anything like our parents in regard to matrimony?
Regardless, I took one trait from Dad into adult life. Just like him, my approach to getting hitched was, and always had been, to take my time. After all, he waited until he was thirty before marrying Mom. And with Joyce, he went through six years of singles clubs and Bowling for Mates leagues before finally meeting the kind and warm woman he was looking for. My stepmother – so lighthearted, so different from the tighter-lipped Andberg clan she married into – was well worth the wait for Dad. So, I, too, would wait for as long as it took.
But singles clubs and bowling leagues weren’t my style. Why do them when so many exciting bars were waiting to be hung out in?
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