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Two By Two

Two By Two

Why is it that everyone is paired off?

And it’s not just me who thinks so. Even Percy Bysshe Shelley noticed:

“…Nothing in the world is single.
All things by a law devine
In one another’s being mingle”

He meant divine, of course, but perhaps that was how they spelled it back in the 19th century when he was running around with Lord Byron and lots of petticoated ladies.

But the sentiment remains the same.

I mean, I have been out and about as a single gal for a long time now. Except for a few years of marriage and some years with a serious boyfriend in college, I think it is fair to say I have been officially unattached for a good decade. And during that time I did not hole up under the bed. I was out mingling, believe you me I was.

I worked as a reporter for a Jewish paper and covered many events. I ran a Jewish literary series and engaged with the public, if you know what I mean. And even though my public then consisted mostly of elderly couples, often fond of Yiddish literature, some of the events did draw a younger crowd.

So why was it that I never met anyone? Or that no one in my inner circle ever really knew or knows anyone, except for the same single Jewish man every single person bar none knows?

I’m not saying all this time I remained absolutely alone. There was often some guy in the picture. But to meet this “some guy” I always had to jump through many hoops. I had to find him online or concoct various schemes to meet him. Perhaps this says something about me, but still.

And the older I get, the harder it seems. I swear, it is so depressing.

Every time I try to talk to some guy at a party or glimpse someone promising from a far the answer is always the same: Married. Or living with his fiancée.

So where are the single men? Are there are none left? Or are the ones left social outcasts?

I remember years ago going to a party in Chicago hosted by an ex-boyfriend of a good friend of mine. This guy was a graduate of the University of Chicago and when we got to the party I remember not believing my four eyes: The room was chock full-o-men! All U of C graduates, many a bit geeky, but cute and smart and interesting nonetheless. And, most importantly, very, very single.

“When we dated, X’s friends often complained that they never knew any women,” said my girlfriend. Her theory is that there are pockets of single men but they are huge dorks on wheels and don’t know how to socialize or mingle so they stick together and play poker. Eventually, some of them get married. But the reason we never see them is they need a wife to get them out of the house.

Anyway. My friend’s favorite story from this party is how she attempted to chat up one of the other lone woman who showed up. I did not witness this because I was in deep talk with a very charming fellow who, it turned out, was not “relationship” material.

Anyway, the point is that this woman totally ignored my friend because it seems she was so distracted – shocked, even – but the quantity of the male species in her midst.

So she did what any other woman would do. She quickly called her single girlfriend.

“Come quick!” she yelled into the phone. “This place is crawling with men!”

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