Friday, January 02, 2009

Dragon tattoos, tarty boots, and sociological data

I will most likely never, ever get a tattoo, but I absolutely love temporary ones.

Although I must note that this picture was taken yesterday afternoon, and I'm still trying to scrub it off.

When faced with a choice, I will always pick the largest, sparkliest, most flamboyant. And I have to say, while a big dragon on my chest doesn't really fit my personality or my lifestyle, I kind of love it.

For New Year's Eve I wore a mini-skirt, tights, a very low V-neck sweater, and my tarty New Jersey boots. I got compliments from a couple of my guy friends, and said, "I figure now that I'm married I can dress as slutty as I want."

They agreed with Tori - my tarty boot enabler - in that my wardrobe doesn't actually seem to have changed, but if that's the story I want to sell...


But what I actually wanted to write about was something that surprised me and made me think.

I co-hosted a New Year's party with a group of friends. I've co-hosted this party a couple times before with some of the same people. The group shifts a bit year to year.

There's always an organizer's dinner beforehand. Nick had another event before the party, so Tori was my date.

Somewhere in the middle of things, someone responded to my complaint about being assigned to really late door duty with, "Well, yeah, but you have a husband."

And then, very briefly, conversation at the table turned to the fact that I was married. I was the only married person. At 39, in a group of nearly 20 men and women, ranging in age from probably late 20's to early 40's I was the only married one in the room.

And suddenly, after being single for so long, I felt aberrant.

After I got over that, though, I started thinking about how interesting this was, from a sociological perspective. Here was this room of incredibly smart, well-educated, attractive, interesting people. Most of whom live and work in DC - and have super-impressive jobs, for that matter - and all of whom are dating and presumably, would like to get married.

We're not getting married in our 20's, and we're barely getting married in our 30's. And I don't think this group is outside the norm in DC.

So is this, I wonder, pretty typical for urban populations at this point?

Or is DC unusual?


  1. I was one of the only women in my party who had a boyfriend this NYE, and I felt very much the same.

    I think that in places like DC, NYC and Boston, you'll see later marriages. I'm sure it has a lot to do with folks putting their careers first and not focusing on their personal lives.

    Happy New Year! Sorry I couldn't make your shindig this year - hopefully next year!

  2. This post actually gives me hope that there's someone out there for me. I almost feel like I HAVE to find someone special soon, I guess mainly cos I'll be turning 30 this year. It's almost like I've put this pressure on myself. But really there's no hurry I guess.


    PS I'm still in shock that you're 39! Seriously??? You don't look anywhere near it!

  3. FreckledK - Interesting. I'm glad the NY data confirms my thoughts. Sorry we didn't see you! Happy New Year to you!

    Paula - Not only is there absolutely someone (multiple ones) out there for you but you have loads of time. 30 is no kind of panic age whatsoever.

    As for 39 - thanks. Mostly I just don't act like it.

  4. Damn! It's like Bridget Jones in reverse.

    I need to hang with you because at 40 I'm always the only single one.

  5. I have to disagree with you that DC is unusual because a LOT of people get married young... In NYC no one was married, here EVERYONE is. Most of my friends (who are in their late 20's to early 30's) are married, some are already divorced.

    I always thought it was the military culture, having too many around this area, they get married young.

    Your group is not the norm for DC -- it could be that the reason you guys are friends to begin with is because you were all single when not one else was...

    Either way, people in DC marry freaking young. I'm the abnormality, single at 29.

  6. Red - Bridget Jones in reverse - hilarious!

    Beach Bum - Interesting. I lived here twice in my 20's and then moved back in my early 30's and never felt like everyone around me was married. I know you live in VA, so I have to wonder if it's the difference between DC and VA? Also, while I suppose it's conceivable that the bulk of my friends and I were initially attracted to each other because of our single status rather than our brains or interests, I've gotta think that it's just kind of unlikely.

  7. One of the funny things I remember (being a transplant to the DC area from the NYC area) is that in the suburbs, everyone seemed married at a much younger age. But most of my urban-dwelling friends in either location are still single - it's funny, the difference a few miles and a river or two can make.

    Either way, it seems like those comments are made whenever there's a "difference". "Well, but you have a baby." Or "Well, but you don't have family obligations."

    How, exactly, does having a husband relegate someone to late door duty? Because you don't have to drink yourself silly to find someone you'd like to kiss?

  8. I'm in Arlington, VA, so not really in the suburbs... I didn't mean to imply that the reason your friends are attracted to each other is just the single status -- but there are a lot of things single people do that married people don't (or at least they do it less, or are less available). Of course your brains and interests play the main role, but to cultivate those interests (in an early stage of the friendship, anyway), the single status could have played a role...

    The bulk of my married friends I met while in a serious relationship (they were his friends, he moved, they kept me). I don't see them nearly as often as I see my single friends, even though I have a lot more married/seriously coupled friends than single ones. And it seems that as my single friends couple up, I see them less and less.

  9. have you tried baby oil on the tattoo? it's usually the easiest way to remove temporary tattoos

  10. Jessica - I agree with you. It's not a large distance, but I do believe the crossing the river makes a difference.

    And you are right about difference - any kind of difference.

    As for door duty, to be fair, there were people that had it later than 11:30-midnight. And I got out of 12:30 shift by saying I simply wasn't willing to be on duty that late. Even though I have a husband.

    Beach Bum - Yah, that makes sense. We might have been up for more of the same things as we were single.

    Hillary - Someone just suggested Vaseline, which I have at home. If that doesn't work, baby oil!

  11. I think people just don't feel the same pressure to "getmarriedandhavebabiesASAP!" Now that it's more socially accepted to wait til your 30s, or even 40s, people are taking advantage of their 20s to play. Also, as you said, your group of friends were particularly intelligent people. I think smarter people are more likely to not settle, and wait until they're absolutely ready and absolutely sure about the person they choose. And to move to urban areas as well. Not always, of course, but I definitely think there's a correlation there.

  12. I'm 22, one of your few male readers (formerly the Simple Scholar) and newly single. I have had several serious relationships that all had very serious potential of marriage. at this point in my life, I have realized that I am nowhere near being emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or personally prepared to care for and nurture the emotional well-being of another individual for the rest of her, or my, life.

    Marriage isn't really an option on the table right now for me, but there was definitely a phase that I needed to go through to get to that point of understanding and personal honesty.

  13. I will underscore the general belief that the key difference is suburban versus urban. Further, I concur that the key difference is about the draw of people who are decided urbanites rather than those who are slightly captive city dwellers or those who prefer the dulcet tones of the burbs.

  14. Dear lord. And all I can think is that the reason they are smart, attractive, well-educated and interesting is because they've had the good sense to stay single until they are older.

    But getting back to your larger point, if you live where it is acceptable to be unattached, then I think more people will remain so for longer.

    I'm sending my kids to live in the city. (said the woman who got married at 22 and had her first baby at 25 and who owns no tarty boots, dang it.)

  15. DC is many ways! Seriously, though...that is an interesting juxtaposition. I am always the only single person in my clearly, Lemon - I need to be hanging out w/you and all the rest of your single friends. ;-)

  16. DC is unusual (Boston and NYC might be too). I found that dating in the South was great -- women dated you to find a relationship. Dating in DC is more of a "test". Because of this, I'd push some buttons just to watch the reactions. On DC dates, I've said things like "I won three games of Halo today" and "I'm taking the bus for next few days cause my Ford Escort needs a new engine." I did this to peer into their thinking process (usually negative). Women in DC come to the table with a list of things they'd like to have checked off; in essence, advertising, "you need to fit into this image I have." I've never played Halo. I met and married the greatest girl ever. Her reaction is always grounded. For instance, when I'm on business, on our night-calls, she'll say "I know what you're thinking... go and get a lap-dance already, just don't touch." She came to the relationship for love; and not for a box of ideals. When I was single, I hung out with single people (all who had their own houses, BMW's/Benzes, townhouses in Georgetown, Gold Cup tent sponsors, etc.). Since marriage, we've been hanging with married people (who also have great jobs, smart, etc.). They just happen to be single. Or smart. Or married. We have kids now, and we're starting to hang out with more families. I guess if I were a boat-owner, I'd be hanging out with more people who have boats and harbour slips.

  17. In general I'd agree with the urban vs. suburban view. But I was very surprised to learn that 2 out of my 3 new co-workers were married, and they're in their late 20's. I think it all has to do with timing and your priorities at the time. You have to be open to something for it to happen, no?

  18. When I lived in Denver the general consensus was that marriage (and oh lord CHILDREN) was something you succumbed to once you realized your career wasn't going anywhere.

  19. I think its just the D.C., Baltimore, N.Y. area thing. I lived in Baltimore for a while and that seemed to be the case. Then I moved to Minnesota and people seem to get married a whole lot earlier in life.


Tell me about it.