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Oryoki Bowl
February 03
Quaker buddhist, kinda quirky, loves cooking and knitting and movies. Dr Who fan, Scandinavian-aquarian and cat lover. Would love to be paid to travel around the world and write about local healing cultures. While eating and drinking and dancing. One day I will have a health cruise in the fjords.


Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 15, 2011 12:57PM

Why you are not marriage material! Open call

Rate: 58 Flag

It's kind of a sensitive subject, because only women ask me why I am not married.  Men never do, mostly because that means they have an opening in case they are single some day.  I think.  I used to wear more hand jewelry, and a man friend of mine (now married to my friend) told me that men will see a ring and immediately back off interest.  You must have totally naked hands for them to consider approaching, as a wedding ring can be worn on either hand, and it's hard to tell if there is a gold band (not universal) or if that "rock" is an engagement ring.  Better safe than sorry, or something like that.   As I worked in massage before, and medicine now, wearing hand jewelry except when out at night is not likely. 

So, today, the wisdom that is Huffington Post, ran a front page opinion piece about why you (woman) are not married.  Because, you see, if you wanted to be married and were serious about it, you'd be married.  It's still your fault.  Let's break this down!

1)  You're a bitch.  Well, I can see how that might make sense but my women friends who are married can be some of the bitchiest people I know.  I think getting a man to marry you actually requires being a bitch, to some degree.  I have not seen too many people (older generation excepted) where the woman was not a bitch to other women, or to the man who chased her relentlessly.  But then the writer goes on to say, you are ANGRY.  Now, being angry doesn't make you a bitch.  Being angry means you have values that are not being respected or honored.  I know people who will throw a freaking FIT if their Diet Coke is not perfectly mixed with ice and blended to the right amount of sparkly water (fountain, not can).  They are married.  They were like this before marriage.   She then recommends that you look and act more like Kim Kardashian (apparently, she is not a slut, see #3).  

Real answer: you are not bitchy enough.  

2)  You're shallow.  You should be looking for a man with values, not a man who has a good job, or good taste.  Granted, where I come from, those are values.  You are judged by the man you marry, and if he is a slob and unemployed on a regular basis, you clearly were short sighted or desperate.   You wanted someone taller than you?  Because you have sexual desires that go along with wanting to save your sex life for one person that you might like to be married to?  Any woman who is dumb enough to think that women don't need sexual or mental attraction to their husbands in order to be happily married clearly does not work in family medicine.  Or hormone replacement.  Or has been on anti depressants too long to see that women self medicate in many, many ways.  

Real answer: you might be unrealistic in your expectations, but you haven't turned down Mr Right yet, either.  And, as you are a dynamic creature, your interests and values have likely changed, as well.  I can't think of too many women who want an old fashioned husband anymore. 

3)  You're a slut.  Yep, she said it.  No casual sex for you (the editors at Salon should call her out on this).  Men want women to meet all their sexual fantasies, and then go on to date virgins or really sexually repressed women that they know will never stray.  Or let a finger stray.  Or let a hair stray.   It's true, men freak out when women are enthusiastic in bed, usually because they know that means you are probably a Craigslist hooker on the side.  And it's also true that men know that all women who use online dating are running a prostitution scam.  You slut, you had sex with someone you had no intention of marrying!!!!!!!!!!  That's worse than premarital sex.

Real answer:  you probably have gotten used to having to ditch relationships when the sex came too quickly and the relationship fizzled because it was going to suck anyhow.  You are no longer as impressed by and attached to sex as you were when you were 20.  You are also no longer impressed by a lot of promises people make that they have no intention of keeping.  Refer to #1.

(Insert tasteless joke here: What's the difference between a slut and a bitch?  A slut sleeps with everyone at the party. A bitch sleeps with everyone at the party but you.) 

4) You're a liar.  Yes, admit it, you are a liar because you have made compromises about being fully honest in the moment.  Because we all know how much men actually love that.  The more a man demands full honesty, the more you should give it, right? Truthfully, you are lying to yourself if you think after a couple of times of overlooking something you dislike that you will adjust to it or that it will go away.  It won't.  If you don't like kissing him now, it really won't get better.  Except now that you kept kissing him HOPING the frog turned into a prince, you are a liar for having been patient and not telling him he is a bad kisser.  

Real answer:  you are either a total bitch or a total liar.  Which one is it? 

5) You're selfish. You heard your entire life you could be anything you wanted to be, that someone would love you for who you are, and that you should wait to find the right man before settling down, not the first man.  As a result, you developed interests outside of marriage and focusing on landing a man and staying married.  You even might have a career- not just a job.  You might even like that career, finding a sense of personal satisfaction beyond the day to day of maintaining a domestic status for two.  Wake up missy!  You shouldn't have taken those student loans or slept with that hot teacher in South America!  Because now you're a selfish (slut) bitch who just wants to do her own thing and have everyone wait on her hand on foot.  That's what you automatically become when you are not interested on waiting on other people hand and foot.  Talk too much about your job?  Well, how many men today are willing and capable of marrying and supporting a woman and their family with no financial help from anywhere else, and sticking to this promise NO MATTER WHAT and through all the economic despair?  How many people are capable of meeting all their financial obligations every single month?  Let's look at the countries with the highest standards of living.... educated, paid working women partnering later in life.... let's look at the countries with the lowest standards of living... uneducated, desperately poor, unpaid working women married off as teenagers. 

OOOPS.  Sorry for the rant.  Remember, I'm selfish and I'm an angry bitch.  I also like sex, so I should be disregarded.  It's true, because I am not now married I have nothing to contribute to the conversation on quality of life for women and happy relationships.  I have never been marriage focused, because when those "opportunities" arrived, they resembled something more like bondage contracts than actual parity and a shared life. 

Real answer:  no matter what, you will have to find work and interests and hobbies outside of your relationship to sustain you through out life. No one should be the center of your world, not even your children, 100% of the time.  Okay, now, there are a lot of very conservative folks here in AZ who may feel differently, and maybe they have good marriages built on faith.   But, realistically, not all of them stay happy.  And, realistically, it's all a lot of work no matter what your focus is or isn't.  

6)  You're not good enough. This was the part that confused me the most, after all the other things.  Am I too good for my opinion or not good enough?  If a man tells me I am not good enough for him, and he is several rungs below me on the social and education and manners ladder, who am I supposed to believe?  I was already trying to give up being a shallow, slutty bitch and look past those annoyances, and now I am not good enough.  I held out for good enough and he didn't show up.  I tried out not good enough and paid the price in physical, mental and emotional abuse- more than once- plus I still had to focus on a career in order to pay for my half.  I held out for self respect and found that in myself and among my friends.  I held out for love, and I have it.  Still not married, but I am loved as I am.  

Real answer:  you likely are trying to date someone whose dream person is not you.  Don't change yourself, move along.  Naturally, all the women's magazines and HuffPo can tell you what you are doing wrong, so that you can fix it.  If no one ever likes you as you are, then be honest with what it is that you think they should like, and how much you think they should overlook.  That's kind of just how it is.  

True love may be blind, but true love isn't what you have on the first or third or fifth date.  True love requires years of softening gazes, perhaps some beer or ketchup for mellowing agents, and a lot of compassion for both people involved.   

Remember, if you want to be married with children, you may have to sacrifice your interests or personal goals or happiness in order to land someone who'd be willing to "give" such a horrible person as yourself all those things.  Thank you, Tracy McMillan.  

Ladies, gents... let's hear it from you!  

P.S.  I got the one thing I asked for for Valentines (and a few extras):  a love poem.  It will last a lot longer than all the flowers and candy, and it may not be a diamond but it isn't cubic zirconium either.  

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Isn't there enough baggage to be being a woman, married or not, without all this crap, HuffPo????
I say a love poem is as good as gold...someone caring enough to spend time writing for you? You're in a good place : )
oops, an extra "be"....just ignore... : )
Wait a minute...so us unmarried women are both "selfish bitches who think we're too good" AND "not good enough"? Wow, that's quite a mixed message there! I guess you just can't win, one way or the other.

I married once, and I don't plan to ever do it again, unless for practical reasons, e.g., health insurance. I don't need a ring on my finger and a fancy ceremony - I just need to know that I'm loved, and love in return. But I realize that's a radical statement from a 30-something woman who should be desperate to snag a man, tie him down, and have lots of kids (something else I don't want). Rated.
Huffpo...Huffpo...is this the new conservative, bash unmarried women slant that they will be featuring...
Sheila- I had been a fan of HuffPo for years. Now, I am exhausted that their entertainment section virtually only features women who are in bikinis, talking about their bodies, their sex, or their mating status. It's frightening. They have some great pieces on health, alternative living, lifestyle but almost entirely by men. The women's stuff is usually a fluff piece that boils down to self esteem and babies. Back to that bikini bod, Arianna!
woah OB, loads to think about here. An excellent article - I am glad Emily saw it so quickly! Kudos!
I went on a date a couple years ago with a great guy, we should have been a good match on paper, but in real life I found him both a bit dull and also he had unattractive teeth. I knew I'd never want to kiss him and that would impair my ability to "bond" with him (also noted in the article, about casual sex, is the oxytocin thing). I dated a lot of guys with bad teeth (my thing) and finally agreed to date someone who was insistent on being serious about a relationship, marriage, children, same values who also had some "teeth" flaws that I overlooked. Within three months, I found out he was not capable of any of the things he was insistent on (unrealistic expectations, perhaps?) and his bad teeth really turned me off. I still see stars when my sweetie smiles.
Youngsters consider marriage as outdated as last week's milk. Now that women work and have careers as satisfying (sometimes as stultifying) as men, they can no longer be considered appendages. Only 54 percent of Americans today are married, so disdain for marriage has become pretty general. Enjoy your life, OB. After all, it's your life to do with as you want; no codirector need apply.
great blog
Well... after reading this, all I can say is at least I know why you are not married.
Leon- I don't think it is altogether outdated. But the balance of power and desire has changed, and so must with that the "rules" that follow. I wrote this in part because I am offended by the consistently sexist content that HuffPo has been running. And because there seems to be an anti-woman backlash going on in not only our politics but our media.
As to marriage itself, I regard it highly enough that I think it should not be entered into lightly. I am not a fish without a bicycle, I am a woman without a husband. If you need a handbook, any house of religion can provide you a reason why I must be stopped.
Ummmm...I could have told McMillan all these things about myself. I didn't need her to tell me them for me! God.

Seriously. I'm worried about where we are as a culture in regards to women's rights and status.
This started a big discussion at our house. Great points. I don't think it is just a generational thing either. Love is at the center no matter what the era. Congrats on the EP!
Thank you for writing a great rebuttal to that dumb piece (I saw it) so I don't have to....
Thank you for writing a great rebuttal to that dumb piece (I saw it) so I don't have to....
OB, fortunate Americans have a choice of whether to wed or remain totally their own person. Choice is a sublime gift to be cherished.
i love the commentary, interpretation and rebuttals. it's amazing how pervasive this kind of thinking continues to be in today's society. expecting women to craft themselves in preparation of the ultimate achievement of marriage seem almost medieval. furthermore, the men who that kind of crafting might appeal to are not worth having.

very enjoyable read - i like the tongue in cheek and appreciate the insight from as strong and interesting woman as yourself.
thank god for the invention of nursing homes
Wonderful post.As someone else said, there's really no way to win here. I'm going with #2. Was married for 27 years. I think it's time for "shallow"
Again the divisive married woman against unmarried woman..I guess it's one way to try to fuel fire that I don't think exists. We are where we are. So many better things to talk about and do. Huffpo is today's Cosmo.
Easy to debunk this Theory.

I performed a brief interview experiment to test the theory;

Experimental data collected:

Another Steve S (wearing Socrates mask): "So, recently divorced guy, what was your wife like?"

Recently Divorced Guy (wearing Plato mask): "She was a no-good selfish, lying, shallow bitchy slut. "

Another Steve S (while smoothing his toga): "Theory proven false, proof by counter-example. Whine ally ou want, you're still buying the next round."

That said its important to remember I can usually catch more flies with hony than with vinegar. That is hardly news; the only thing new in that article is a thinly veiled snottyness and misogeny.
i, too, shudder at the changes at HuffPo...they have joined the crappola brigade and are doing splendidly at it. plus they aren't even doing it creatively: women have always been the easy target for bashing, especially when the financial world teeters.

i was never going to get married, tho i wanted children more than anything else in the world. i was fortunate to find out about sex/orgasms before i was married: imagine the horror of getting stuck with someone who wasn't very good and your not knowing any better, assuming that it was your fault?? i was 'old', marrying at age 33, this way back in the age of dinosaurs (ok, early 80s).

i was lucky: most men my age i dated wanted a mommy. it repelled me. bill wanted a mate. now, as he ages, i sometimes feel like i'm more his mom than his wife, but he's paid his dues also and it's ok.

a little compromise can be a sign of love; too much is a sign of slavery.

congrats on the ep!
Thank God, I got that all out of the way years ago.
Geez that whole AOL merger thing didn't take long to effect content.

Your comeback runs circles around the article ---which is so absurd that I'm wondering if it's a script treatment for Christopher Guest and the people who made "Best In Show" and "A Mighty Wind". . .

Also--Good thinking and Nice move by the OS Editor to feature this!
now I am curious about the HuffPo article but if I read it I may barf. Loved yours.
There's a book called something like "Men Love Bitches." I got about 20 pages in and LITERALLY threw the book across the room. What's sad is, I've actually been told (by ex-boyfriends - note the s on the end of that word) that I am "not enough of a bitch" and I should be bitchier.

If that's what it takes to find a husband, I would rather not have one in the first place, TYVM.
Sometimes the insanity of what I read blows my mind. This is one of those times.
Bashing women is as insane as bashing the poor. But makes headlines and grabs attention.
But then I try to remember my point of view is from true blue black hearted bitch that has two previous marridges. Huffpo is lowering their bar into the gutter.
How about because you don't need to be married to be Happy?
What OESheepdog said. Congratulations on the EP - an excellent piece, Oryoki.
I had the good fortune to have a mother who told me more than once : Get an education, be able to support yourself, and do something you love. You can always get married later.
I had the better fortune to have listened to her and discovered she was right. It took her three marriages to figure it all out.
Listen to your mother.
when it comes to marriage and war, I'm a conscientious objector.
The idea that this kind of post exists on a site a respect so much, kind of terrifies me. I love what you've done with it, and that you've asked us all to give our two cents, too! Amen for all you wrote here.
I think Will said it best.
Maybe this piece was just HuffPo joining AOL?
Love the bitch joke.
HuffPo was purchased for $135M only for its high Web traffic, not because it features any vetted, relevant reporting.
I was going to write a valentine for all my single, childless friends. They are the ones who show up at the cafe to chat, go to films with you, organize parties, go to Morocco with you---and not tell you that they are busy with their spouse so can't do anything with anyone else. Who then spreads more social value---the single or the coupled?
Thank you thank you! I just joined for the sole purpose of thanking you for such a great reputtal to that infuriating post on Huffington! I'm so tired of the blame always being on the women. Oh sorry, too angry?? And seriously, the last person I would take advice on marriage from is someone who has already been married three times.
Wow, OB, this was terrific! And now I'm going to slink over to HuffPo and read the original article. ~r
Rated, my dear. My response can be found here: http://open.salon.com/blog/tea_tom/2011/02/15/why_i_am_not_married
Excellent! Good to see you taking responsibility and accepting the blame. I was worried I'd find another blind, self-pitying post done in a knee-jerk reaction of self-justification.
Great job, OB. I think I'm going to start asking women why they ARE married. That's about as relevant as asking me the opposite. I'm going to tackle your open call. This is a hot button topic for me. Thanks for the nudge. :D

I would guess the most comon reason is people's standards are too high and by the time they are middle aged, their appeal fades and they have to settle for even less. On the othe hand, maybe we just reach the age we are not sure reliationships are worth the headaches. Dating is for people under 35. After that it's just sad and desperate.
Great topic. I was once married and my ex-husband moved into with a girlfriend right away. Me, I wanted to wait to get a full time job before jumping into the dating scene. I like one guy who is really nice and caring, he, i found out has a girlfriend. Another guy is closely old enough to be my father! I am not picky, but I am not desperate either. If comes down to this. I will gratefuly be single for the rest of my life!
Marriage is fine if you want to do that. But why is it considered the be-all, end-all of a woman's existence, so much so that someone on Huffington Post had to write about the failings THE FAILINGS of women who aren't married. Yuck.

First, if someone is not married, but he or she wants to be, there are ways to go about that and get that, be you covered in warts or have a hairy back that has vines growing out of it. Merit does not enter into it. That's just a total pile of bullshit. After all, rapists and killers are often married. Does this mean they are good marriage material?

Second, why is this situation of being unmarried even an issue in any way whatsoever? It is the dumbest measure of success ever. It's fine, but a measure of desirability? Of success? Seriously? With the divorce rate where it is, clearly it's not about that at all.

Finally, OESheepdog is right. It's immaterial in the scheme of things, whether you are married or not. Why would any person, never mind woman person, be measured in this way? Stupid. That Huffpo would run that piece is a sign that they are going rapidly in a swirling motion down a dark hole. Let's find a measurement for that.

"It's true, men freak out when women are enthusiastic in bed, usually because they know that means you are probably a Craigslist hooker on the side. "

Man, I love that line!

loved your P.S. ~ there's nothing sweeter.
In a surprise moment, I feel lucky when asked if I am married, I can say no because it isn't allowed in most states...xox
Another OC I get to skip. I'm not sure why the Huffington Post contacted my father about #6 but he sold me that bull from the time I was tiny. He isn't the bedrock of mental health and was not a stellar husband or father.

I'm so grateful he didn't raise any sons to be like father, this is what he passed down. My mother passed down her side to me and like a good daughter I silently cherished it.The men are exhausted and wracked with guilt and confusion and the women are going batty. Bad inheritances. Good for you for not buying into any of them.

I'm so happy you got a poem, I got a poem once too and I will never forget the day I read four tiny lines, it still makes me feel happy remembering them. Keep talking Gorgeous, smash every lie we've all been sold.
Darling don't you know only the dead are remembered in perfection? Perhaps women who make their expectations clear get exactly what they want. Why do you feel it is wrong to have high expectations? You need a good walk through the graveyard. The full moon is the best time.
Righteous rant, well done! I haven't read the HuffPo piece, but if your description of it is an accurate reflection -- and there's no reason to believe it's not-- the original is so blatantly sexist and obnoxious it hurts. And I say this as a happily married woman!
You've generated a good discussion. Thanks for the OC, and congrats on the EP.
Really well done, for what's that's worth from me; anyhow, I liked it and enjoy your work (or whatever you call it).
the true reason i am not married is that i love
those chicks,
those silly gals ,
the foolish
who can actually articulate:

OOOPS. Sorry for the rant. Remember, I'm selfish and I'm an angry bitch. I also like sex, so I should be disregarded. It's true, because..etc

no man is quite equipped for THAT...

unless he could be...converted...to such a point of view..

I have consistently found that marriage makes a much better fantasy/myth/movie than it does a day-to-day reality. If one insists on drawing comparisons, it is important to compare the reality of marriage with the reality of singlehood.

Each lifestyle has its advantages and its disadvantages. And they're both pretty evenly matched if you ask me.
Oryoki, thanks for your own story plus the interesting open call! It's an important discussion and it is great to see the many responses this evening!
Stereotypes of any kind can be dangerous.
VW- and others who I am grateful for your reading and commenting. My real anger today is not at why I a may or may not be marriage material, but that Huffington Post which presents itself as progressive and relevant would choose to publish that piece of crap opinion piece on its front page. As a woman, and a progressive, and a pacifist, and someone who takes relationships and the happiness of people fairly seriously, I was deeply offended by the pap she passed off as being helpful to us bewildered and confused ladies. It has nothing to do with marriage, and everything to do with having an unreasonable obsession with the idea of weddings and marriage. Institutions that are not passe but have been rendered meaningless by the kind of abuses she suggests are necessary in order to trick a man into putting a ring on it (and no, I am not a fan of Singaladies, I have listened to it, um, twice including SATC). I'm tired of unmarried women being considered both a threat to civilization and a failure as a human. And that is my rant, and my open call, as well, to give that recycled and hackneyed piece the finger it deserved. Seriously, write something useful. Like, reasons women don't find marriage as compelling as they used to.
Good rebuttal Oryoki. I agree with the majority opinion here that the whole structure of the article is flawed. Unless there was a companion piece about what guys who wanted to be married but weren't. Anyway, I won't be able to take up your OC as I don't have time for a 2,000 word essay right now. Short answer would include that I tried it once and haven't re-acquired the desire for another go, and time is becoming a factor.
After I read this Open Salon post, I went over to HuffPost and read the original Tracy McMillan piece. McMillan was wrong, but not just wrong. Sexist but not just sexist. I found her to be personally repulsive. It was like she was one of those swarmy people who globs onto you but in McMillan's case globs onto you with arrogance and bitterness. Reading her article made me feel like I'd been slimed. I know guys like that, so it isn't surprising that she's had a couple of bad marriages, but it's hard to imagine her as being attractive to anyone who wasn't a super-jerk. I'm a college professor and I can't help but notice that there are a lot more women than guys at my college. Could part of the problem be that guys with college educations have the whip hand right now because the dating and marriage markets are flooded with women relative to men.
Ric- I think women overall are finding out its a more reliable gig to get something for yourself then wait for someone to give it to you. Especially if that is being used as leverage for control instead of as a gift or an expression of love. I think more people should be idealistic about marriage, including their own roles in it. Do men ever dream of being a groom?
Beer and ketchup, coming right up!
I posted a response to the OC


Advice for men, since I've read enough about "what's wrong with women" already.
I love this. Thank you! As an engaged woman happy to be "taking the plunge" I still sympathize with the double standards we face and work very hard to maintain a true partnership. "It's what you automatically become when you are not interested on waiting on other people hand and foot." So true...
I'd be interested in reading the original article. Any chance you can link to it? (I can't find it).
Found it. It's here. 

So why would anyone take seriously advice from this person:
"How? It basically comes down to this: I've been married three times. Yes, three. To a very nice MBA at 19; a very nice minister's son at 32 (and pregnant); and at 40, to a very nice liar and cheater who was just like my dad, if my dad had gone to Harvard instead of doing multiple stints in federal prison."
Wow I can't believe my link actually worked. First time!
Wow that makes me quite an enigma.. I am a bitch who is married to a man I slept with on the first date.. Go figure
Here’s a question for you: Do you think those who are living inspired lives, who are experiencing inspired relationships, actually have time to read ridiculous articles like that – much less respond to them on a website like this?

This is almost enough to inspired me to get a life!
Well, I'm not afraid to admit that I'm not so full of myself that #6 often applies however, I've certainly run into a plethora(is that a hell of a lot?) of #'s 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5's.
hey yes, i'm busy building my inspired life too, but this was awesome, rated, liked your responses, and also totally just learned a lesson about this myself last week: "Being angry means you have values that are not being respected or honored."
Oliver -- there is something known as "skimming."
Someone at Jezebel wrote an additional TEN reasons why you aren't married, and each reason is that you do or don't do either thing. Of course, naturally.

LOVE THIS! I am a single mother and I've CHOSEN to be single and I am content with that decision. Being married made me realize a lot about myself and two of those things was that 1) I'm not good at relationships and 2) I am not marriage material. Frankly, I think I'm saving a lot of men from heartache knowing in advance that I am not happy being in a long-term, committed relationship. If someone chooses to call me a bitch, liar or anything else because I prefer being without a man by my side, then I guess that makes me a very happy bitch, liar or anything else!
Love all your honest y and POv with good thought processes. Thanks for the info and it will certainly make me adjust my life a bit more.