This Sunday NY Times story about four single guys sharing an apartment together caught my eye because the single male experience is rarely highlighted.
Even if it’s not always particularly diverse when it comes to sourcing, the Times does a good job of at least attempting to illustrate cultural trends. I am not at all surprised, by the way, that Mayor Bloomberg would try to cram single people into small spaces:
Sociologically, the men represent the apotheosis of two trends in American life. While Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg may be promoting the idea of tiny apartments for singles, the most recent census figures suggest that many people do not want to live alone; they prefer or need the company: The number of roommates in nonfamily households in New York City increased by more than 40 percent between 2000 and 2010. At the same time, Americans, especially men, have been pushing back the age at which they first marry — for men, it climbed to 28.2 years in 2010, up from 26.8 a decade earlier.
Indeed, though the men might resist putting so much weight upon their living arrangement, they are part of an ongoing redefinition of family life in the 21st century, in which traditional structures are replaced by fluid networks and bonds not dependent on blood ties.
“Now there are so many variations on how to live,” said Bella DePaulo, a social scientist and author of the book “Singled Out.” Many adults in middle age and beyond, she said, are choosing the “friendship model” for their living needs, opting for roommate arrangements similar to what they had in college or in their 20s, “except now they’re so much more thoughtful about it.”
It’s really rare to see mainstream outlets write about single men in a way that isn’t about chasing tail or being overgrown frat dudes, so this was refreshing. It made me think about the section of Kate Bolick’s article in the Atlantic where she writes about The Begijnhof, an single-sex community for women founded in the mid-12th century with 106 apartments for applicants who commit to living alone (but in community with one another) between the ages of 30 and 65. Sounds like something the U.S. might need for all the single ladies.