Comments 6

My Single Male Friend Friday: Meet Carl!


Introducing Carl, this week's Single Male Friend

It’s that time again: My Single Male Friend Friday!  Unlike last week, this week’s post is actually about one of my single male friends although if you’d rather read about my continued misadventures in the world of, check out my new column over at AOL’s City’s Best: Philadelphia.

So, getting down to business: today’s bachelor is a rather new friend named Carl.  Carl’s a senior at Berea College in Kentucky and we met at a retreat for young adult Quakers earlier this year.  (Actually that’s not true.  We first met at a Quaker book reading last summer and I struck up a conversation with him based on my fascination with his shoes.  He likes to wear those weird toe-sock sneaker things and when I saw him again at the retreat a few months ago, I found myself once again striking up a conversation based solely on his footwear.  “Are those things comfortable?” I asked.  He replied in the affirmative and it was only then that I realized we’d already met and I’d already asked him about his shoes.)

Anyway, readers of the Friendly persuasion may know Carl personally; the rest of your will probably recognize him from his rather extensive-yet-eloquent comments on previous posts.  (He sure does like to talk about relationships!)

At 22, Carl’s well below my “datable” threshold but our conversations have given me hope for my younger, Midwestern sisters.  He’s the sort of guy who wants to change the world and although he could easily land a job in one of the fancy, well-paying Quaker schools when he graduates, he wants to teach in the public school system where the need for good teachers is the greatest.

He also writes poetry and plays ultimate frisbee so he’s got the whole manly-yet-sensitive thing going for him.  (He even shared a poem with me for the purposes of this post but given the humorous and often sarcastic nature of my blog, I didn’t want to cheapen his words by presenting them in the wrong context.)  Despite all of this, Carl has never been in a long term relationship.

In his own words, “My hesitancy about ‘making a move’ stems from several things.  I fear rejection and I have a strong ability to read emotions off of others.  This causes me to dislike making people feel bad or uncomfortable.”

Carl also notes that his “total lack of experience seems like a vicious cycle sometimes.”  In regards to physical intimacy, he’s the polar opposite of my last Single Male Friend and while I find this somewhat refreshing, it makes life rather difficult for men like Carl, especially since guys are generally expected to make the first move.

When I asked Carl why he thinks so many people our age have trouble forming meaningful relationships, he said it has to do with the prevalence of “choice culture” in the US.  According to Carl, “American advertising is all about ‘the latest and greatest new thing’, and about discarding old items instead of repairing or reusing them.  I think that this extends to interpersonal relationships as well.  When problems occur in relationships, people tend to ‘throw it away’ and find another one, as opposed to trying to fix their existing relationship.”

I know that I for one am most definitely guilty as charged.  (I heard Eartha Kitt’s “My Discarded Men” for the first time as the dance competition I attended a few weeks ago and I’m seriously considering making it my official theme song.)

But getting back to this week’s eligible bachelor…

I really wish I had a younger sister I could set him up with because he really is a great guy—in the meantime it’s nice to know that chivalry is not entirely dead, even if being too chivalrous in this day and age can be problematic for guys like Carl.

Thanks, Carl!

This entry was posted in: Philadelphia


Hi! My name is Kat Richter and I’m a writer, dancer and professor of anthropology. I live in Philadelphia with my boyfriend, PIC (aka Partner in Crime) and I started writing this blog to keep myself from going insane when I realized that an MA in Dance Anthropology wasn't the most obvious route to gainful employment. I like to talk travel, design, relationships, writing and a whole host of other things, some funny, some serious, which I like to call "fieldwork."


  1. shreejacob says

    Well,you do seem to have a wide range of guy friends!! Definite polar opposite from last week’s “offering” ;) I wish Carl all the best and I’m sure he’ll find someone wonderful soon enough!

  2. Quality and substance. Very nice. And it’s true, being too chivalrous can be a problem in this day when the trend is to throw out relationships with the first sign of struggle; and especially because many women don’t seem to understand chivalry anyway. But the good for Carl is, that if he continues in chivalry and decency (which is probably not an option for him anyway), those very qualities will attract his complement.

  3. Carl says

    Kat, I do not remember meeting you any time before the YAF retreat, although I believe your story about how we first met. It makes me feel bad that I failed to remember meeting such a lovely and interesting person. I very much like you post today, but it is so weird to read about myself in the third person.

  4. I have to agree with Carl on why today’s relationships don’t last as long as it use to in past generations.

    I also strongly agree with his statement “American advertising is all about ‘the latest and greatest new thing’, and about discarding old items instead of repairing or reusing them. I think that this extends to interpersonal relationships as well. When problems occur in relationships, people tend to ‘throw it away’ and find another one, as opposed to trying to fix their existing relationship.”

    But in the long run, I think even guys like Carl will find someone that is similar to him and I wish him the best of luck.

  5. Carl says

    ” I think even guys like Carl” I dislike the negative phrasing of this statement, although I appreciate you wishing me luck.

  6. Pingback: My Non-Existent Single Male Friend- I have an excuse! | After I Quit My Day Job

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