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The Other Side of the Single Life

December 07, 1986

Elizabeth Mehren's article about frustrated single women over 30 ("Frustrated by the Odds, Single Women Over 30 Seek Answers in Therapy," Nov. 30) started out well, but it didn't take long for the other shoe to drop--it's all men's fault! To wit, Los Angeles psychologist Annette Baran: "We have a whole generation of men who wanted to remain boys. . . ." Or New York's Melody Anderson: "Women want to marry equals. . . . They don't want to marry sons."

I'd suggest to these therapists (or blame-mongers) that the problems lie in the chip-on-the-shoulder message their clients send to prospective partners, i.e., "You're all Peter Pans, and it's all your fault my 'Harriet Nelson' expectations can't be met." Faced with this message, is it any wonder the statistically fewer eligible men don't want to play the blame game (thereby perpetuating their Peter Pan reputations by refusing to commit)?

In the same section of your newspaper, Warren Farrell discourses on male success and sexual appeal detailing the socialization processes that determine the male's self-image (excerpts from Farrell's book, "Why Men Are the Way They Are"). I'd suggest to confused single women that the factors that make them business/professional dynamos and prevent them from being traditional nurturers in their relationships have been affecting men in the same way for eons. Our culture has been (and still is) telling the male that his value lies in his ability to gather up all his testosterone to scale the corporate battlements and succeed.

As Farrell points out, to the extent that the male doesn't fulfill this role, he breeds psychological or emotional problems for himself and (surprise, surprise) confusion in and rejection by his supposedly consciousness-raised '80s female partner.

Ladies, men are confused, too--it's just that, by and large, nobody's given them permission to seek out therapists and expose their vulnerability at $100 per hour.

BOB BELGERI

Tujunga

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