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The "being single" Tribe

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by Guest, Jan 30, 2002.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Ok, Metal Morphosis just sent me this in an email, but I thought it was well written, and I know I can identify in a big way. I have a feeling some of you will too.

    For all my single friends

    In My Tribe


    It may be true that 'never marrieds' are saving themselves for something better. They may also be saving the institution of marriage while they're at it. You may be like me: between the ages of 25 and 39, single, a college-educated city dweller. If so, you may have also had the unpleasant experience of discovering that you have been identified (by the U.S. Census Bureau, no less) as one of the fastest-growing groups in America the ''never marrieds.''

    In less than 30 years, the number of never-marrieds has more than doubled, apparently pushing back the median age of marriage to the oldest it has been in our country's history -- about 25 years for women and 27 for men. As if the connotation of ''never married'' weren't negative enough, the vilification of our group has been swift and shrill. These statistics prove a ''titanic loss of family values,'' according to The Washington Times. An article in Time magazine asked whether ''picky'' women were ''denying themselves and society the benefits of marriage'' and in the process kicking off ''an outbreak of 'Sex and the City' promiscuity.''

    In a study on marriage conducted at Rutgers University, researchers say the ''social glue'' of the family is at stake, adding ominously that ''crime rates . . . are highly correlated with a large percentage of unmarried young males.'' Although I never planned it, I can tell you how I became a never-married. Thirteen years ago, I moved to San Francisco for what I assumed was a brief transition period between college and marriage. The problem was, I wasn't just looking for an appropriate spouse. To use the language of the Rutgers researchers, I was ''soul-mate searching.'' Like 94 percent of never-marrieds from 20 to 29, I, too, agree with the statement ‘‘when you marry, you want your spouse to be your soul mate first and foremost.'' This über-romantic view is something new. In a 1965 survey, fully three out of four college women said they'd marry a man they didn't love if he fit their criteria in every other way.

    I discovered along with my friends that finding that soul mate wasn't easy. Girlfriends came and went, as did jobs and apartments. The constant in my life -- by default, not by plan -- became a loose group of friends. After a few years, that group's membership and routines began to solidify. We met weekly for dinner at a neighbourhood restaurant. We traveled together, moved one another's furniture, painted one another's apartments, and cheered one another on at sporting events and open-mike nights.

    One day I discovered that the transition period I thought I was living wasn't a transition period at all. Something real and important had grown there. I belonged to an urban tribe. I use the word ''tribe'' quite literally here: this is a tight group, with unspoken roles and hierarchies, whose members think of each other as ''us'' and the rest of the world as ''them.'' This bond is clearest in times of trouble. After earthquakes (or the recent terrorist strikes), my instinct to huddle with and protect my group is no different from what I'd feel for my family.

    Once I identified this in my own life, I began to see tribes everywhere I looked: a house of ex-sorority women in Philadelphia, a team of ultimate-frisbee players in Boston and groups of musicians in Austin, Tex. Cities, I've come to believe, aren't emotional wastelands where fragile individuals with arrested development mope around self-indulgently searching for true love. There are rich landscapes filled with urban tribes.

    So what does it mean that we've quietly added the tribe years as a developmental stage to adulthood? Because our friends in the tribe hold us responsible for our actions, I doubt it will mean a wild swing toward promiscuity or crime. Tribal behaviour does not prove a loss of ''family values.'' It is a fresh expression of them. It is true, though, that marriage and the tribe are at odds. As many ex-girlfriends will ruefully tell you, loyalty to the tribe can wreak havoc on romantic relationships. Not surprisingly, marriage usually signals the beginning of the end of tribal membership.

    From inside the group, marriage can seem like a risky gambit. When members of our tribe choose to get married, the rest of us talk about them with grave concern, as if they've joined a religion that requires them to live in a guarded compound. But we also know that the urban tribe can't exist forever. Those of us who have entered our mid-30's find ourselves feeling vaguely as if we're living in the latter episodes of ''Seinfeld'' or ''Friends,'' as if the plot lines of our lives have begun to wear thin.

    So, although tribe membership may delay marriage, that is where most of us are still heading. And it turns out there may be some good news when we get there. Divorce rates have levelled off. Tim Heaton, a sociologist at Brigham Young University, says he believes he knows why. In a paper to be published next year, he argues that it is because people are getting married later. Could it be that we who have been biding our time in happy tribes are now actually grown up enough to understand what we need in a mate?

    What a fantastic twist -- we ''never marrieds'' may end up revitalizing the very institution we've supposedly been undermining. And there's another dynamic worth considering. Those of us who find it so hard to leave our tribes will not choose marriage blithely; as if it is the inevitable next step in our lives, the way middle-class high school kids choose college. When we go to the altar, we will be sacrificing something precious. In that sacrifice, we may begin to learn to treat our marriages with the reverence they need to survive.

    Ethan Watters is a writer living in San Francisco.
  2. TheVibe

    TheVibe TRIBE Member


    Being single IS cool.
  3. RJ45

    RJ45 TRIBE Member

    Being single is great, but so is being in the right relationship. It all depends on what you want and what makes you happy at the current point in your life.

    - Sam
  4. Tonedeff

    Tonedeff TRIBE Member

    I don't like to be touched by other people.
  5. TheLiquidFairy

    TheLiquidFairy TRIBE Member

    *poke* *poke* *poke*...

    Being single is fun... but being in a meaningful relationship is better.

  6. Adam Duke

    Adam Duke TRIBE Member

    Even though I'm not currently single, that was a great article. Thanks for posting that!

  7. pr0nstar

    pr0nstar TRIBE Member

    I've been single for almost half a year now.
    And it is fun.

    But it's nothing compared to a great loving relationship with a great friend.

  8. pr0nstar

    pr0nstar TRIBE Member

    I've been single for almost half a year now.
    And it is fun.

    But it's nothing compared to a great loving relationship with a great friend.

  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    good article.

    I'm single and I like it, but I'm young and if I'm single 20 years from now it might not be so great.

    I also think being in a relationship is great.
  10. MoFo

    MoFo TRIBE Member

    Ah, the single life...
  11. Soundstream

    Soundstream TRIBE Member

    Being single sucks. Seriously. I don't know why people like it.

    I personally like having someone that is always around telling me what to do. It allows me to think less.

    Cheers ... Ian [​IMG]
  12. mingster

    mingster TRIBE Member

    Been there. Done that.
    I lprefer the person that I am, now that I'm thinking for myself.

    Biggups the Single Crew Massive Inside!

  13. MoFo

    MoFo TRIBE Member

    Come to think of it, I've only been single and nothing else...

    So it's just life for me.

    It's like french fries in France are just fries.
  14. djcheezwhiz

    djcheezwhiz TRIBE Member

    i wonder if my plot is beginning to run thin...perhaps it's time for some new writers cause i don't see any spinoffs anytime soon [​IMG]

  15. DJAlchemy

    DJAlchemy TRIBE Promoter

    Been sinlge for too long. It has its perks, but really don't you get tired of the same old shit? For once I'd like to meet someone amazing. Check that, someone amazing WITHOUT a boyfriend cause it never seems to fail.

    Peace & love. D <- no longer 'on the prowl' more like 'sitting in idle.'
  16. caits

    caits TRIBE Member

    i am all about being single about 85% of the time. sometimes i wish though i could just have someone with me to lie in their arms. ew gag puke. I LIKE being single
  17. Sassy

    Sassy TRIBE Member

    Good article. It's nice to be assured that being single and not married or attached at 25 is no longer faux pas. I have an amazing group of friends who I love and completely support me. I am enjoying being single right now but I agree with the majority that in the end there would be nothing more satifying than being in a healthy, loving and meaningful relationship.

    In the mean time I will enjoy my singledom and make the most of my freedom and 'cougar cub' days [​IMG]
  18. skyparty

    skyparty TRIBE Member

    singleness CAN be fun.

    but honestly, i'm ready to be in a relationship again...

    this 3 month each guy thing has gotta go

    i always get dumped around the 3 month mark!
    or they cheat on me by then...

    i swear to god it's not me.
    i keep telling myself that...

    i just want a hot, sweet, tell me what i want/love to hear and MEAN it, thoughtful, fun and loves me for me kinda guy

    but most guys i find that i think are sweet,
    turn out to be complete players!

    BOo to them.
    i'm not slut of the month thanks.

    narissa [​IMG]
  19. Soundstream

    Soundstream TRIBE Member

    So, just find a guy that isn't sweet, and chances are, everything will work out just fine.

    Cheers ... Ian [​IMG]
  20. skyparty

    skyparty TRIBE Member

    thanks for the wonderful advice ian!

    but i'm sure there's genuinely sweet guys *i* want and am compatible with out there...

    narissa [​IMG]
  21. BEtonka

    BEtonka TRIBE Member

    I don't think that there are alot more of single ppl out there now that there were when our parents got married. It's just that we are all very career oriented and we all want to experience life. So we are still actively involved with the people of the opposite/same sex but just not jumping into the "marriage" ideology that our society is so great at imposing on us.



    i was always scared of relationships, but probably because the majority of guys i were dating were dinks. so after a dating break, and some fun, i think i can actually part with singldom and be a grown-up for once...i think.
  23. Soundstream

    Soundstream TRIBE Member

    On a more serious note ... you seem to offer yourself as a very sexually open
    and outgoing female (on the board anyways). When many guys see this in a girl
    they often see it as an excuse see the girl as a temporary sex object, rather
    than as a long-term girlfriend. A less exhibitionist personality may attract
    more respecftul and committed males, possibly?

    I'm not telling you to change yourself or anything, just to be more weary of
    the intentions of guys who are interested in you.

    Cheers ... Ian [​IMG]
  24. Cheeka

    Cheeka TRIBE Member

    I always seem to have a boyfriend.

    I'm a boyfriend whore [​IMG]!
  25. Sassy

    Sassy TRIBE Member

    No comment! [​IMG]

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