I was excited about meeting up with fellow CoSPers, but I hadn’t had the best night’s sleep, so I wasn’t totally feeling. But I was gonna do it anyway, FOMO and all.
It ended up just being myself and Savannah due to COVID scares and work demands. We decided to meet up near the PATH station in Midtown Manhattan. I got there early and saw a group of marchers with signs about “Keeping Our Streets Safe,” no doubt related to SCOTUS’s overruling of the New York gun law restricting concealed carry (they’re not doing too well in this week, IMHO). They were accompanied by a dance class. Me, I chose to find a table and read, introvert that I am.
Savannah and I met at a TD Bank and decided to walk down Sixth Avenue until we found a place that suited our respective fancies, L’Amico. It looks hip and upscale, not the place I typically frequent, but as I’ve heard before, flexibility is a key component of happiness.
On this trip, I’ve been eating a lot more red meat and dairy than I normally do, so I ordered an avocado salad, as did Savannah. Of course, the free housemade chips they gave defeated the purpose of that, and we split a brick oven pizza (see top). Savannah revealed that even though she had gone the “escalator” route (married, children), she always considered herself a single-at-heart. She talked about going to plays with her “spinster” cousin (who turned her on to theater), and her mother remarking that they had a lot in common. She has a lot in common with a few folks who love theater in NYC, and I hope she can see some shows with them.
I also showed her, as I had Doug earlier this month, my copy of Bella’s Alone: The Badass Psychology of People Who Like Being Alone, and she appeared enamored. While younger folks seem to be pretty enlightened about the validity of singlehood these days (even those who want to travel a more conventional route), it’s nice to see people from previous generations start to “get” the message about singlehood.
I was glad I made it out and even happier that the social interaction allowed me to spend enough energy where I had an amazing night’s sleep.
Despite the fact that most teachers I know lean left on the political spectrum, education is a very conservative profession. This statement seems obvious; after all, teachers are supposed to be role models for students, so everything we do is under scrutiny from students, parents (even for us college professors), and the general public. But it’s interesting to observe.
I recently went down to Tampa, Florida to grade Advanced Placement examinations for the College Board. For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, high school students take them through the College Board and can earn college credit if they attain a certain score. So why am I talking about this in a blog related to singlehood?
I didn’t take a formal sample, but I’d say about 98% of the people I met at the AP reading were wearing rings on the index fingers of their left hands, and yes, the females had diamonds. I couldn’t walk fifty feet without hearing “my kids,” “my husband,” “my wife,” etc. I’m well aware that as singles, we’re minorities, but in the past few years, I’ve surrounded myself with people who tend to think like me, as is human nature.
While I have some friends I’ve seen every year who know and appear to respect my work in Singles Studies, it’s still hard not to feel like a minority in this more conventional crowd. And I understand why teachers would logically be drawn to conventional lifestyles. Most teachers and professors I know were the types of people that followed all the “rules” and social norms in school and in life (and of course, we tend to enforce those things in our classrooms), so it would make sense they would want more conventional escalator-style relationships and lifestyles. Here’s where being a singleton does have its advantages when traveling a new city.
Each year, I like to take a solo trek on the city’s free trolley from downtown Tampa to Ybor City, a neighborhood known for its classy ancient Spanish architecture and copious amount of cigar shops. Some people I talk to (mostly married folks) actually say they’re afraid to venture out alone (or they stay in their hotel rooms the entire time) because they’ve never done it before without a person. I can understand the security issues females face in that regard, but as someone’s who’s always been somewhat of a loner (like it’s a bad thing?) and has always been comfortable doing things solo, I generally can’t fathom people’s fears of doing things alone.
I was inspired by someone to take part in a “Professional Night,” where we had the opportunity to share stories about things we learned or things we taught. Since the first chapter of my book, How to be a Happy Bachelor, is all about how I learned to become a happy singleton. I was nervous about it at first, as I knew I’d be facing an audience that’s well, not single-at-heart. But, one thing I’ve learned is that if you’re scared of something, the best thing to do is run toward it rather than run away from it (I also had a little encouragement from my fellow singleton Heather through text).
When I did get up to read it, it got some appreciative laughs, especially when I mentioned how I like to subvert the “crazy cat lady” stereotype by constantly posting pics of my cat/son Chester. When I mentioned microaggressions such as “you don’t even have a cat?”, I got a couple of “ewww”s, which appeared to be supportive of my message.
The next day, I talked to a fellow reader, Chris, who’d attended my reading; he told me about a friend of his who teaches elementary school. His female colleagues repeatedly taunt, “When are you gonna get a girlfriend?” The dude responds, “When you get our nose out of my business.” I suggested his friend say, “Whenever you get divorced.” He laughed pretty hard.
The following day, Chris was talking to another guy, Matt; I gave Chris my card to give to my friend, and Matt said, “Oh, you’re the happy bachelor!” Inference: I’d been talked about. “You’re the guy who’s doing all that traveling!”
“Oh no,” Chris said. “That’s another friend of mine.”
Many of us do like to travel. And why shouldn’t we? There’s a big world out there, and we’re the badasses who don’t wait for anybody to join us.
If I go back next year, I’ll read more about my work in singlehood. And the next year. And the next. And I’ll keep spreading that message until the world accepts singledom. Granted, that probably will happen after I’ve passed on, but I can pave the way for future generations.
After all, we’re already on our way.
I’ve fallen in love with Hoboken in the last few years. While I did spend much of my early-to-mid 20s carousing around Hudson Street and Washington Street until the last trains home at 1:30 a.m., I appreciate it much more during the day. Hoboken Riverside Park has some great views of the waterfront and a nice greenery, and the streets have a vibrant feel.
Today was my meeting with Doug, the first guy outing I’ve had specifically from the CoSP page (unless you count Alan from Childfree & Single). My train was scheduled to arrive about 45 minutes before our meeting time, so I figured I’d walk around the park, but it turns out Doug’s an early bird like me, so we met up at Hidden Grounds Coffee Shop where we talked a nice variety of topics, my favorite of which was restaurants. Doug’s recommendations including Denic’s in Philly (I’ll have to try the pork sandwich with broccoli rabe), and the Dutch Eating Place in Reading Terminal Market, which (I think) fellow CoSPer Melissa and I went to when we saw Phish in nearby Camden, NJ back in 2018. Other places now on my list are Maruca’s in Seaside Heights and Dominic’s on Arthur Avenue.
After we finished our coffees, we walked back over to the park, took some pictures, and discussed male perspectives on single life, as well as some personal things males don’t typically share with each other. Essentially, we share many of the same experiences navigating happy singlehood as 40something-year-old males. We get those well-meaning “oh you’ll find someone” microaggressions. Maybe not as much as females, but we get them some. Doug and I agree that when we go out to do stuff, we’d rather not have to report back to a spouse, the way some partners make each other do (case in point: past friends of mine and Doug’s).
We made our way over to the Black Bear Bar & Grill for lunch, where I ordered a lovely hamburger mac & cheese wrap with a side Caesar. We walked around for a bit more, and when I see a bookstore, I can’t not buy something (or at least that’s been the theme during this trip). I went with two used classics for $8.
Doug and I parted ways at 4:30, and he’s off to Cleveland. I love your trips, dude. That’s a nice thing about being an employed (knocking on wood) single person; we can travel to places and not have to worry about partners, kids, etc. And we talked about visiting each other in our respective cities.
I wish more guys could do what we did yesterday. The world would be a happier, safer place for everyone.
Thanks to the pandemic, it had been a great while since I’d gotten together with anybody from CoSP (five months, when Michelle and I met for dinner that Indian taco restaurant in the East Village). My last trip in NY was mostly spent on lockdown, and I still managed to catch the Omicron. But this year, as things are opening up, I feel I should get back to doing the things I enjoy doing, like hiking, shopping, and meeting up with my fellow singletons. This particular was my second outing with Laura, my fellow CoSPer from Brooklyn.
After a day of work on my tenure packet, and of course, writing, I took the New Jersey Transit to Hoboken and caught a path across the Hudson to Christopher Street, from which I walked to Poke Bowl on Canal Street. Usually, I start my trips to Manhattan by indulging in an authentic NYC pizza slice and a street hot dog, but I’m trying to be somewhat good.
I got to the spot at about a quarter to 6, fifteen minutes before our meeting time, and as I was getting ready to text Laura, she appeared. I got this lovely miso chicken and shrimp combo, mixed with some green vegetables. While eating, Laura and I shared our future adventures, and I’m enthralled and impressed by the amount of biking she does (i.e.; triple-digit-mile treks through Pennsylvania). I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was eleven; when I moved to DC, I became a Capital Bikeshare subscriber, and for me, riding from my apartment in Van Ness to Dupont Circle is an adventure. I’ve got a bunch of concerts and hiking planned, and as I write, I realize there are many ways to adventure through singlehood (yes, I used the word “adventure” as a verb).
We walked over to Ferrara’s in Little Italy. She got a truffle cake, while I ordered my customary chocolate-dipped cannoli. We sat on bench in a little covered area, where we got real about singlehood, which is a conversation that always ignites lots of emotions. Excitement, anger, passion, all at once. Then the “monsoon” came; rain, thunder, lightning, which enabled our conversation to continue. Between Laura’s umbrella and my rain jacket, we were one prepared being.
Eventually, we decided to brave the raindrops, and it started to lighten a tad. Not wanting to traverse through puddles, when we parted ways, I decided to brave the subway to get to the PATH, and my brief jaunt on the Q line reminded me of a brief shot in Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America, where we see a subway adorned with graffiti, which was characteristic of 1980s New York City. It wasn’t quite as violated, but my fellow passengers included a dude sleeping across three seats and another guy yelling in gibberish and cursing to the air. Not quite the subway I remember.
Anywho, as I walked from Union Square to the 9th Street PATH, the rain turned to a light drizzle, and I was at peace, as I always am when I hang another CoSPer. Laura, you rock!
My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.