Two recent New York Times articles, “Alone Again, Naturally” by Dominique Browning and “One’s a Crowd” by Eric Klinenberg, extol the virtues and perks of living alone. While Browning theorized that women have an easier time living alone than men, Klinenberg noted that in the developed world, both more men and women are choosing to live alone, and are loving it.
“Perhaps you could get yourself a teddy bear for those trying nights without wifey/mommy? Man up, pal.”
–poor but debt free, Columbia, PA
“Amen. After 37 years of marriage, cuddling is the glue that holds it all together.”
“This is my main reason for contending that men are less able to live alone. Generally I have found that men don’t like solitude. They don’t like eating alone, sleeping alone, coming home to an empty house. They need affection — “cuddling”. Again, not all men, but this has been my observation for many years. I’ve concluded that it has to do with men being forced to be “manly”… Public displays of affection are more tolerated in society among women than among men, so men crave that human touch in private as much as possible. Dating sites are loaded with men who list among their desires “cuddling on the sofa with a movie…” or similar.
I’m single and I love my solitude. Beyond my need for intimacy, I really don’t care for the cuddling. I like my space.”
I found myself considering what Ginger said. It was a lot more thoughtful than Browning’s “men are a lot of work” theory.
I’d be interested in what other men have to say. I know plenty of guys who do like solitude. Who like to spend time by themselves. Heck, I spend as much time in my study by myself just because I like the quiet and space. But this idea that it is the societal expectation that we “man-up” which leaves us starved of human contact makes a certain amount of sense to me. The idea that us guys all really just want to cuddle cuts against the stereotype that what we really want is sex with no strings attached except perhaps a pop tart in the morning if things end up going all night.
I don’t really know if other guys like to cuddle as much as I do. I admit in my piece that perhaps I am “a particularly needy and sometimes neurotic man of a certain ilk.” But maybe the need to show so little emotion in public means that guys tend to want more rather than less non-sexual affection in private.
I do think this idea that men are less capable of living alone than women is foolish. If we are talking about heterosexuals, the math would indicate that men and women are living together in equal numbers. And the inverse is also true, heterosexual men and women are living alone in equal numbers.