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Brothers of the unpopped question
St. Petersburg Times ^ | April 25, 2006 | LEONORA LAPETER with Matthew Waite and researcher Angie Drobnic Holan

Posted on 04/25/2006 6:38:23 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

Twenty-five years ago, most men in the Tampa Bay area married by age 35. But since 1980, the number of never-married men 35 to 55 has jumped sevenfold.

ST. PETERSBURG - On the eve of his 50th birthday, Robert Mendenhall was trying to decide whether to spend the big day with someone new or with his ex-girlfriend. She had held his interest the longest: eight months.

Mendenhall, who works in regional sales for a roofing and window company, hangs out with half a dozen never-married men in their late 40s and early 50s. They are successful at their jobs, keep themselves in good shape and spend a lot of time traversing Tampa's social network. Mendenhall said he surmises they gravitate toward each other because none of them have kids and they like to go out on the town.

Most of them would like to find someone.

"I wanted to get married but the right one never came along," said Mendenhall, who decided to go out with his ex-girlfriend for his birthday. "It could be me, I guess if I analyzed it hard enough. But I think I've left the door open every night."

Twenty-five years ago in Tampa Bay, there were 8,500 never-married men age 35 to 54; now there are more than 57,000. There are 33 percent fewer never-married women in this age range.

"A large number of older people who have never been married are starting to appear on the scene," said Jodi DeLuca, a psychologist and relationship expert from Tampa. "It's not as much as the divorced, but they're in their late 30s and 40s and they've never been married. And if you question them why they think they never married, their answer almost clear across the board is, "I never met the right person."'

The numbers of women waiting to marry until they are older also has increased since 1980, but their numbers are not nearly as high as the bottleneck of men moving into their late 40s and early 50s, never having said their "I dos.' ' While the population of men has not even doubled here, this group has increased sevenfold.

Among 35- to 39-year-olds in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties, there are about 22,000 never-married men and 17,500 never-married women.

The difference between the sexes continues in 40- to 44-year-old never-marrieds: 17,500 men and 14,300 women. Twenty-five years ago the numbers were 1,900 men and 1,500 women.

"I think there's generally more acceptance for being a bachelor but I think it's harder for men to live single because they've not developed some of the same social skills to lead a good single life," said E. Kay Trimberger, author of The New Single Woman.

Karl Balducci, one of more than 10,000 never-married men ages 45 to 49 in Tampa Bay, says he's become good at living alone. He builds a life around the beach, triathlons and fixer-upper apartments. Though he'd like to marry, he said he's very selective, and he's not going to force it.

"I'm hoping I can see someone from across the room wherever I happen to be, and I have the nerve to walk up to her and we see each other and we click," he said. "I would never do computer ads. It seems forced and unnatural."

Balducci, 46, said he's noticed a number of men in their 40s who have never married. Many are struggling with modern American women, so much so that one moved to the Ukraine to date women and another brought a woman back from the Philippines.

Balducci has a theory about it. Women, he says, are more independent - yet more confused.

"They don't know what they want and it makes it tougher on guys," he said. "Women used to be dependent on men and it's not like that anymore. And it creates power struggles when they do get together."

One of the reasons he thinks he's still single is that his income from fixing up homes, selling art and occasionally driving a moving van isn't enough for women.

"I think if I was in a higher tax bracket, I'd be more likely to be married because of that," he said. "It seems to me if women are in the work force, they should be more willing to settle for a guy who doesn't make a million dollars a year."

Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist from the University of Washington and a relationship expert on PerfectMatch.com, says men who have never married in these older age ranges fall into two opposite groups.

"One group is the men nobody wants, the ones where two seconds later you know why they are not married," Schwartz said. "They don't earn money or they are obese. They are not good in the market. They are losers in the truest sense of the word.

"The other group is guys with a huge amount of possibilities. They are handsome, charming, successful. They have a series of girlfriends, a series of romantic liaisons and they ... have too many choices to settle on one person. And they get to a point where suddenly they are 45 and it's not looking so good anymore and then they start to look around for someone to have a quick family."

Devin Ridley-Marks puffed on a cigar at the back of Central Cigars in St. Petersburg, his quest to find 20 years of lost papers of the Tampa Daily Times foremost on his mind.

He produced a tiny digital clock that counted down the time until a festival he was organizing to commemorate the newspaper his great-great-grandfather founded in 1893: 70 days, 10 hours, 24 minutes, 10 seconds.

But another clock ticks in his head. The 36-year-old wants to get married and have kids in the next five years.

Herein lies Ridley-Marks' challenge. Not only must he find someone who shares his passion for finding old newspapers, he's also struggling with the Tampa Bay area's demographics: There are 43,101 more never-married men than women.

That's 100 never-married men for every 84 never-married women.

Ridley-Marks said he's looking for someone who shares his passion for history and a southern sense of family and heritage. Like many people, he wanted to wait until he had his career going before he married.

On average, men now marry at age 27, compared with 25 in 1980; for women, the average age to marry is 26 now, compared with 22 in 1980.

Men have always tended to wait longer because they don't have ticking biological clocks to worry about . Some, like Ridley-Marks, have waited until they got careers off the ground. Now other factors are coming into play.

With fewer never-married women to go around, many younger men are dating women 10 or 15 years older.

"You're seeing a lot of younger men with older women and it's because there are no defined rules of engagement," said DeLuca, the psychologist. "Anything goes socially ... women in their 30s and 40s are open to dating men in their 20s."

Ridley-Marks says he won't settle for anything but someone who makes his heart pound. When she comes along is anyone's guess.

"It's hard to find the right woman," he said. "I think what you have now is a population of Generation X-ers and Generation Y-ers who are not pressed by expectations to settle down at a traditional age - in your 20s. And so you have 30-somethings behaving like 20-somethings."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: couples; divorce; divorced; divorcee; freedom; growingup; husband; husbands; justice; legalsystem; marriage; matrimony; remarry; single; singlehood; singles; spouse; spouses; stiffled; wedding; wife; wives
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1 posted on 04/25/2006 6:38:26 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"they gravitate toward each other because none of them have kids"... that they voluntarily provide for.
2 posted on 04/25/2006 6:41:15 AM PDT by avg_freeper (Gunga galunga. Gunga, gunga galunga)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"It's hard to find the right woman,"

Wasn't hard for me, I've been married to her for a long time now.

3 posted on 04/25/2006 6:41:55 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Could it be the fascist marriage laws? Naw...


4 posted on 04/25/2006 6:42:01 AM PDT by thoughtomator (That new ring around Uranus is courtesy of the IRS)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Eeesh... Sounds like a buncha whiny women from Oprah. No wonder they're not married.


5 posted on 04/25/2006 6:42:58 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: Bigg Red

mark


6 posted on 04/25/2006 6:43:38 AM PDT by Bigg Red (Never trust Democrats with national security.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"I never found the right one."

More likely: I'm selfish and unwilling to compromise even on minor things.

7 posted on 04/25/2006 6:45:47 AM PDT by flada (Posting in a manner reminiscent of Jen-gis Kahn.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I've been in love with the same wonderful woman for almost 27 years now. And if my wife ever finds out, she'll kill me.

Okay, I think it's from Henny Youngman.


8 posted on 04/25/2006 6:46:29 AM PDT by speedy
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To: avg_freeper; All
57,000

Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist from the University of Washington and a relationship expert on PerfectMatch.com, says men who have never married in these older age ranges fall into two opposite groups....obese or rich, handsome and picky.

Obviously this relationship expert needs to get out more.

9 posted on 04/25/2006 6:50:10 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Graybeard58
"It's hard to find the right woman,"

"I want my momma but I want her to be hot. "

10 posted on 04/25/2006 6:50:43 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

They should go to San Francisco to find women. The ratios are more favorable for them because of all the homosexuals.


11 posted on 04/25/2006 6:50:59 AM PDT by Disambiguator (Unfettered gun ownership is the highest expression of civil rights.)
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To: speedy

lol....so corny, yet still very funny.

12 posted on 04/25/2006 6:55:00 AM PDT by Huck
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Oh boy...so many juicy tid-bits in the article.

I'm gonna grab some popcorn for this... lets see... a book written by a woman about single women (she had to get one dig in there about men).....another "relationship expert"...heheheheh....."mail order brides".... fat loser men....Gen-X bashing.....I'll bet this thread hits 500 posts by lunchtime.

:)
13 posted on 04/25/2006 6:56:10 AM PDT by taxed2death (A few billion here, a few trillion there...we're all friends right?)
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To: speedy
A woman says to a man, "I haven't seen you around here."

The man says, "Yes, I just got out of jail for killing my wife."

"So you're single…."

14 posted on 04/25/2006 6:56:12 AM PDT by Huck
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To: avg_freeper
It certainly does raise the question of whether they are milking cows for free.

15 posted on 04/25/2006 6:57:45 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters but PR.)
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To: Huck

Yeah, I miss the demise of the corny, harmless joke. Which of course is how people like Henny Youngman made their livings. Love your illustration.

I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport. Thank you, thank you, you've been a great audience.


16 posted on 04/25/2006 6:58:21 AM PDT by speedy
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To: Huck

LOL.

The Doctor called Mrs. Cohen saying "Mrs. Cohen, your check came back." Mrs. Cohen answered "So did my arthritis


17 posted on 04/25/2006 6:59:37 AM PDT by speedy
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
Ridley-Marks says he won't settle for anything but someone who makes his heart pound. When she comes along is anyone's guess.

I bet the hold out will be the one. The chase is needed.

18 posted on 04/25/2006 6:59:56 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
"Many are struggling with modern American women, so much so that one moved to the Ukraine to date women and another brought a woman back from the Philippines."
______________________________

This is probably also a product of the bias towards women in the educational system. Women want to marry "up", but universities today have on average 57% women to 43% men. A surprisingly high number of my wives friends from law school never married. The complaint I heard most often was "I can't find anyone". When I suggested friends I have in the trades they were never interested. The irony is some of the guys I know in the trades started their own businesses and earn a lot more than most lawyers. All these guys ended up marrying "nonprofessional" women.
19 posted on 04/25/2006 7:01:52 AM PDT by wmfights (Lead, Follow, or Get Out Of The WAY!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Mendenhall, who works in regional sales for a roofing and window company, hangs out with half a dozen never-married men in their late 40s and early 50s.

Cough, cough, cough. Homos. Cough, cough, cough.

20 posted on 04/25/2006 7:02:57 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: flada
More likely: I'm selfish and unwilling to compromise even on minor things.

So this is a problem for you...why? Unlike you, he's not presuming to tell others how to live.

21 posted on 04/25/2006 7:03:39 AM PDT by gogeo (The /sarc tag is a form of training wheels for those unable to discern intellectual subtlety.)
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To: speedy

lol. you got me again. yeah, everything's observational humor now, which is amusing, but in a way too easy. back in the day, people had to actually write jokes. they stand up on their own, whereas most "did you ever notice..." type humor depends on the personality of the deliverer. And when that fails, they start throwing in the F bomb as an intensifier to trigger some cheap laughs. Carlin was good at the observational stuff, and I guess Seinfeld, too, but it's overdone. Remember Steven Wright from back in the 80s? I liked him cuz he used actual jokes. He was like a surrealistic Henny Youngman. Anyway, all this is off-topic. So sue me!


22 posted on 04/25/2006 7:04:38 AM PDT by Huck
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

If I remember right from my years growing up in Florida, central Fla is not the place to pick up young single women - unless you want single retirees, widows, etc. South Florida (east coast) would be little better. If you want to meet young single women get away from the retirement hotspots!


23 posted on 04/25/2006 7:06:45 AM PDT by loreldan (Without coffee I am nothing.)
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To: avg_freeper
"I wanted to get married but the right one never came along,"

That's because it's all about them and what their infantile wants.

24 posted on 04/25/2006 7:08:47 AM PDT by Banjoguy (I refuse to 'Google' anything at anytime.)
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To: Banjoguy

Right, obviously anyone who doesn't find a suitable mate is an immature jerk. Yeah, that's it. How's the view up there on that high horse of yours?


25 posted on 04/25/2006 7:11:09 AM PDT by Huck
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To: Huck

Good observations. Continuing the off-topic line, it also used to be true that comics were often self-deprecating and the butt of their own jokes, like Bob Hope or Jack Benny or Rodney Dangerfield. I don't think that happens much anymore.

Seinfeld gives Alan King a lot of credit as an influence on his observational humor, although I think Seinfeld is much funnier than King ever was. I saw Seinfeld playing a small club in LA about 7 or 8 years ago, and he was brilliant, noticeably in his handling of a couple of drunks who tried to become part of his act.

Remember this one? "My parents are in the iron and steel business. My mother irons, and my father steals." Bahd a bing.


26 posted on 04/25/2006 7:12:55 AM PDT by speedy
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To: speedy

hahaha!!!

Now that was funny!


27 posted on 04/25/2006 7:13:51 AM PDT by Emmet Fitzhume ("Shining with brightness, Always on surveillance.")
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To: gogeo
I tell no one how to live. I merely said that he's selfish. You'll be hard-pressed to find a value judgement in that at all. Maybe I'm a Randian who believes that selfishness is a virtue. From my post, you have no way of telling.

But thanks for playing.

28 posted on 04/25/2006 7:13:56 AM PDT by flada (Posting in a manner reminiscent of Jen-gis Kahn.)
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To: Emmet Fitzhume

A drunk was in front of a judge. The judge says "You've been brought here for drinking." The drunk says "Okay, let's get started."

Another drunk goes up to a parking meter, puts in a quarter, the dial goes to 60. The drunk says "Huh. I lost 100 pounds!"

Courtesy of Henny Youngman. He had a million of them!


29 posted on 04/25/2006 7:17:43 AM PDT by speedy
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To: speedy

:)

Those are great!


30 posted on 04/25/2006 7:22:40 AM PDT by Emmet Fitzhume ("Shining with brightness, Always on surveillance.")
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To: speedy

:)

Those are great!


31 posted on 04/25/2006 7:22:45 AM PDT by Emmet Fitzhume ("Shining with brightness, Always on surveillance.")
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To: loreldan
If you want to meet young single women get away from the retirement hotspots!

Pretty soon the retirement scene will be the most promising market for these men.

32 posted on 04/25/2006 7:23:54 AM PDT by shekkian
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

Of course they are. You notice that the article did not mention the easy availability of easy available women as a factor in men not getting married.
Another factor is that it seems to take men and women much longer to mature then it used to. Is it just me or does it seem that people in there 20's & 30's are stuck in a highschool mode of life? It also does not help that they also expect to have everything early on without any struggle at all. Big house, new car, great salary they want it now. No sense of working for a better life with the one you love. No sense of sharing good times and bad.
Nope just a shrewd calculation of balance sheets and what's in it for me. Too bad cause marriage is great.
Sure am glad I am celebrating 25 years of marriage today. I would hate to be part of the singles scene.


33 posted on 04/25/2006 7:25:42 AM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: wmfights

A friend of my son's told me she wanted to marry a doctor cause of the money they make. I told her forget that, marry a plumber. Good money and I have yet to hear of a plumber having to carry malpractice insurance. Plus when a plumber gets a call at 2 AM he gets to charge overtime.
Course if she was really smart she would become a plumber.


34 posted on 04/25/2006 7:28:17 AM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: lastchance
Isn't it the truth.

I have a friend who is a doctor and he's getting squeezed from all sides patients, lawyers, govt., and insurance co's.
It's funny because in our circle of friends the most successful financially are the one's who don't wear ties.
35 posted on 04/25/2006 7:32:34 AM PDT by wmfights (Lead, Follow, or Get Out Of The WAY!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Why buy a cow when the milk is sour?


36 posted on 04/25/2006 7:35:22 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. Slay Pinch)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

My theory is that we have created a mythology about ideal love. Many people have bought into it. If they dont find that ideal, they wont marry.


37 posted on 04/25/2006 7:39:20 AM PDT by Paradox (Removing all Doubt since 1998!)
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To: lastchance
"Another factor is that it seems to take men and women much longer to mature then it used to. Is it just me or does it seem that people in there 20's & 30's are stuck in a highschool mode of life? It also does not help that they also expect to have everything early on without any struggle at all."
____________________________________

It's to bad that they didn't breakdown the numbers by race. I'm wondering if this is symptomatic of particular racial and economic groups. IOW, are these the children of upper middle-class whites?
38 posted on 04/25/2006 7:41:18 AM PDT by wmfights (Lead, Follow, or Get Out Of The WAY!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Twenty-five years ago, most men in the Tampa Bay area married by age 35. But since 1980, the number of never-married men 35 to 55 has jumped sevenfold

Feminism baby. You reap what you sow
39 posted on 04/25/2006 7:41:44 AM PDT by Vision ("There are no limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence" Ronald Reagan)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Must admit the statistics confused me (lies, damn lies and statistics!), but divorced and widowed women would be available, not just "never married". Of course you must pare the list down if you don't want step children, but by middle age the kids are on their way out of the nest anyway.

And I agree with the posters about Central FL. Give me Palm Beach county anytime, Delray, Boynton Beach, West Palm...


40 posted on 04/25/2006 7:55:20 AM PDT by YankeeGirl
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To: wmfights

IOW, are these the children of upper middle-class whites?

I'm thinking yes. Also how many of the never married are children of divorced parents? And how many significant others on the average to these people have throughout their dating lifetime?


41 posted on 04/25/2006 7:56:45 AM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: Vision
Feminism baby. You reap what you sow

Ding ding, you just nailed it, IMHO. As I get older and watch the antics of young women, it does not surprise me that many men do not want to attempt a permanent relationship. Assuming a guy can work up the courage to approach one of these "untouchables", he will most likely be soon repelled by their self centered personalities.

If I were single today, I may well be one of these guys. Doubt I would have the patience to wade through all the neurotics to find a stable woman.
42 posted on 04/25/2006 7:59:07 AM PDT by doorgunner69
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
What the writer does NOT mention is the fact that committing to marriage also commits one to the arbitrary and capricious "justice" system which is a constant threat to ones children, life savings and means of self-support.

Compound that with the cantankerous nature of modern, "liberated" women and you really can't blame men for being on the reluctant side where marriage is concerned.

43 posted on 04/25/2006 8:00:54 AM PDT by nightdriver
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I'd like to see a count of men and women who are married and are actually happy with the person they chose. I am meeting more women who are unhappy with the men they married but don't want a divorce because they are afraid of being alone now that they are in their fifties.


44 posted on 04/25/2006 8:02:45 AM PDT by B4Ranch (Immigration Control and Border Security -The jobs George W. Bush doesn't want to do.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Let's all thank the feminists (and to a lesser extent, the homos) for this scenario. But try to get a feminist to admit the truth of the situation? Good luck!


45 posted on 04/25/2006 8:03:47 AM PDT by NewJerseyJoe (Rat mantra: "Facts are meaningless! You can use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!")
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To: wmfights

Apropos of the "Russian bride" syndrome - given the overtly Marxist and femiNazi atmosphere at American institutes of higher education, it ironic that American males find Russian women to be less Marxist/femiNazi than the American women who have been through the American education system.


46 posted on 04/25/2006 8:03:55 AM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon Liberty, it is essential to examine principles, - -)
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To: Disambiguator

Perhaps...but then again the women probably don't like guys either...


47 posted on 04/25/2006 8:19:33 AM PDT by RockinRight (Yes...she's an excellent tour guide!)
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To: RockinRight

There are a few of those, to be sure. They seem to gravitate more to the East Bay, IIRC.


48 posted on 04/25/2006 8:25:27 AM PDT by Disambiguator (Unfettered gun ownership is the highest expression of civil rights.)
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To: Paradox
"... we have created a mythology about ideal love."

I was a bachelor for about twenty years, after a ten-year marriage that ended in divorce. I eventually realized that I had placed too many requirements on any future mrs. riverdawg: can't be too young or too old, nobody from work, no children, etc. I ended up marrying someone I met at work, who is twenty years younger, with a five-year-old (now eleven-year-old) child. We broke every "rule" put forward by so-called relationship counselors. The lesson to be learned from our experience is "don't paint yourself into a little corner; it can be very lonely there."
49 posted on 04/25/2006 8:30:59 AM PDT by riverdawg
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To: Huck

Pot--kettle


50 posted on 04/25/2006 8:31:35 AM PDT by Banjoguy (I refuse to 'Google' anything at anytime.)
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