Tag: Otherhood


Why I Don’t Go To Singles Events

May 4th, 2014 — 8:56pm

One of my dating resolutions this year was to declare a moratorium on going to singles events. Friday night, I was reminded of the many reasons why.

A good friend of mine asked me to join her at a 40+ singles mixer. As she hadn’t been to one in a while, I gladly obliged, telling myself I was going strictly to be a supportive friend. Of course, despite my prior experience with these things, a small part of myself couldn’t help thinking—maybe this one will be different.

The venue (Pranna in NYC’s Flatiron District) and price point ($20) were both great. The crowd that turned up?

Not so much.

Pranna in NYC's Flatiron District

Pranna in NYC’s Flatiron District

Simply put, the event was a perfect microcosm of what makes dating in New York so frustrating. Women far outnumbered the men. We were also the ones who were obviously expected to do the heavy lifting.

Over and over again, I watched women approach men as said men either stood idly by waiting for that to happen or looked down at their phones. Though everyone received a list of mostly odd icebreaker questions (“have you ever cried in a movie theater?”), it was only the women in attendance fast and furiously working the room with it.

My friend wryly observed that the entire scene felt like a repeat of awkward high school dances. I said this was decidedly worse. At least in high school, guys eventually stepped up to the plate and took some initiative. Yes, I know times have changed, women feel empowered to make the first move and are more independently minded, etc. etc. But I can’t help wondering, at what cost? Has all of this progress come at the expense of good old fashioned romance?

As Savvy Auntie Founder Melanie Notkin writes in her fantastic memoir Otherhood, men mistakenly assume that our more equal footing in the workplace means we’ve somehow lost our femininity when it comes to dating and relationships. News flash—we haven’t. We still want you to plan a first date (maybe even a second one too).  We still need to be courted (instead of being asked from day one, ‘what do you want to do tonight?’). None of the rewritten rules have changed any of that.

As for singles mixers like the one I just went to, I have another pet peeve: no free cocktails. Considering how much work it takes to mingle these days, $20 should at the very least cover a shot of liquid courage.

Comment » | dating rules, Flatiron District, Pranna restaurant, singles events

Book Rave: Otherhood

April 7th, 2014 — 10:09pm

Otherhood If you’re a single woman over the age of 35, it’s the question you’re asked more than any other—why are you still single?

In her poignant new memoir Otherhood, Melanie Notkin writes about those of us on the receiving end of that question. And how, despite the fact that nearly half of all American women of childbearing age (married or not) do not have children of their own, we are often treated as an anomaly.

“The independent, childless woman does not feel like a qualified member of the social order,” Notkin writes, “But rather is made to feel hopeless, hapless and just plain old less than everyone else.”

As the fortysomething Savvy Auntie Founder powerfully articulates, women of the Otherhood are scrutinized for their choices — and continually a target for unsolicited (albeit well-intentioned) advice. In sharing her experiences and those of other women at this crossroads, Notkin provides a long overdue voice to this growing demographic.  Along the way, she reveals a persistent gender-based double standard when it comes to expectations of settling down.

How much has been written over the years about Jennifer Aniston (pre-Justin) painting her as lonely and one step away from spinsterhood? Interestingly, no media outlet has portrayed the also unmarried George Clooney as worthy of sympathy or, for that matter, needing to change his dating style.

But when you’re a woman of a certain age, it seems like just about everyone  has an opinion about why you are ‘still’ single and childless — and what you should do about it.

This unsolicited advice comes from both loved ones and strangers alike. Notkin encounters a potential business partner who doesn’t hesitate to tell her within minutes of meeting him what she needs to do if she wants to become a mother. I had a similar experience when my boss’s boss overheard me mentioning a recent date.

“You better hurry up and meet someone before your eggs dry up,” he said bluntly.

As if I needed reminding of that. There’s no shortage of media and pop culture warnings for women that our fertility has an expiration date. Or, for that matter, assumptions about why you’re childless.

“If you wanted to have children,” a friend’s wife insisted, “You would have by now.”

In Otherhood, Notkin talks about this tendency to blame single, childless women for being too picky, too career focused, etc. We are often lumped into one of two categories: single by choice, living a Sex And The City lifestyle, or miserable and desperate to find a mate.

As Notkin observes, the reality for most of us isn’t so black and white. We are living full, productive lives. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want someone to share it all with, or that we haven’t tried to find a mate.

Otherhood beautifully articulates this often misunderstood journey. It gives the single, childless women hope and encouragement by reminding us – we’re in very good company.

Comment » | being single in your thirties, biological clock, book reviews, Sex and The City

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