Susan Walsh In The Atlantic

My friend Susan Walsh at Hooking Up Smart gets to make some waves in the mainstream with a serious mention in The Atlantic in the piece All The Single Ladies by Kate Bolick.
It’s a well written article, but I’m completely distracted by Kate’s picture. Is there a garment that screams “don’t touch me” more than black lace? Smile? Was the whole black widow look intentional?
While the article is mostly about her inability to find a husband due to the changes in the sexual marketplace, I don’t think she even once mentions what a man looks for in a wife. Or what she looks for in a husband.
Maybe her real complaint is that Pretty Woman was just a movie…
There are thousands of men that might have wanted to marry her if given the chance. She just wasn’t interested in them. The sexual marketplace is as much an internal thing as an external one…
…and it shows in facial expressions.


  1. Susan Walsh says:

    Thanks so much Athol! It's interesting, I thought her photo looking fierce was really sexy, but the guys feel exactly the way that you do. Zed joked that she's very alpha in that pic, and that Game is so powerful it even makes women attracted to women. I actually think he's got something there – the photo is quite masculine.

    In person she was very feminine and rather soft-spoken. She wore little makeup, jeans, and had her hair in a messy bun. I found her quite wholesome – the girl next door type – and charming. But I am not a man of marriageable age.

    Several commenters have predicted that this article will produce a husband. Could be. I've got one guy at HUS eager to meet her…

  2. Anonymous says:

    "I've got one (beta) guy at HUS eager to meet her… "

  3. Athol Kay says:

    She may be different in person Susan, but I can assure you that photo of her on the cover is damagingly awful.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn't touch her with a ten-foot pole. Hell, wouldn't even bother to stick a fork in her.

    And Susan, if she truly is the sweet little at-home persona that you met, then why did she use that photo for the cover? Why does her article scream undertones of empowahed womyn? And most importantly of all, why isn't she married? Hamster much?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Without reading the magazine or knowing the context, the outfit made me think "funeral" and the "What, me marry?" text made me assume she was mourning the death of marriage.

  6. I seem to be the only one who thinks that the editor and photographer chose the photo and Bolick probably had next-to-zero say in what went on the cover. Obvs the photo tells the weary story they wanted it to.

    The camera does lie, I've never had a good photo taken of me, either. I think we're reading too much into it.

    Anne Coulter once talked about being photographed for a major newspaper story; they took dozens of photos, and ran one – of her blinking.

  7. "I've got one guy at HUS eager to meet her… "

    Man, you weren't supposed to tell anyone I said that.

  8. Athol Kay says:

    Magazines photoshop every cover these days. It's meant to look like that.

  9. Attractive woman, negative picture.

  10. The other notable omission is that of the fate of the man who — thanks to the US's overall sex-parity — now cannot marry because she does not.

  11. Looking Glass says:

    She got the photo treatment that a conservative commentator gets. The lightning and setup are designed to make them look scary and distant. It's wholly intentional by the editor/photographer.

    As for the article, it's well written, and there's a few good point about that women really do need more "community" than men do. But she gives up the "Game" within the first page. She can't be honest with herself and she ended ejecting from her best possible relationship option. (To the point she still talked about the guy glowingly and *still* couldn't explain why she left, after over a decade. If there's one way to say you're hopeless, it's display it to the world in a cover story on a major US periodical.)

    Oh, and her mother did a good job of cutting down any realization that she was actively making a choice to be a spinster.

  12. sconzey: He is doing pretty good sipping drinkts at the beach in Thailand with his new wife.

  13. Bolick's article was way too long. She couldn't decide what she was writing: a wistful autobiography launched from the account of "The Great Guy I Foolishly Dumped"? A story of Empowered Single Wimmen, aging with grace? "My, How Dating Has Changed!"? And so on.

    That piece needed an editor.

    The best part was her meetup with Susan Walsh and Susan's crew of HUS twentysomethings. But then, there she is — immersed in hookup culture, Game, and all their variations and implications. And Bolick doesn't seem to 'get it': what it all means for young people, or for marriage and child-raising, or for her personal options.

    Well, a fair number of Atlantic found their way to the HUS comments, to be intrigued (and mystified) by what they encountered there.

  14. "Oh, and her mother did a good job of cutting down any realization that she was actively making a choice to be a spinster. "

    From what I can tell, there a A LOT of mothers who have succeeded at doing that, both in church and outside of church.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I google imaged Kate Bolick, and yes, that Atlantic cover is the worst image of her out there. The photographer is definitely going for a mourning widow look.

  16. jer_the_bear says:

    Love the subtitle too: "In today's economy, men are falling apart". Eh, what? So women are educated, smart and capable and men are the losers in the marketplace? As if the preponderance of clerical/governmental/cubicle jobs (ie tax-eating and/or inherently redundant)being held by women is unrelated to the collapsing deficit-financed pedestal they believe they are safe upon? A tsunami of rude awakenings will hit all at once, I'd aver…

  17. jer_the_bear,

    "Love the subtitle too: "In today's economy, men are falling apart". Eh, what? So women are educated, smart and capable and men are the losers in the marketplace?"

    I was irked by that too. This shtick of "men are falling behind so women can't marry" is gaining some steam in urban elite publications, and I find it a not-all-that-clever way of projecting the impact of female hypergamy back onto men. Women want to marry up, but they've pushed themselves above the men in their class. So it is reframed as men's fault they aren't good enough, not an unintended consequence of the hypergamy instinct as women advanced in white-collar society.

    I am sketching out a post on Bolick's story, but there's almost too much there to pick apart. In that way it is an impressive piece.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I read/skimmed the article. I kept thinking "Allen sure dodged a bullet" all through it.

  19. Here she is on the Gayle King show:

    I'd hit it. Hard. Any man who was says he wouldn't is lying.

  20. Was a very long article and I got through it. She's definately a talented writer otherwise I would not have gotten through it but she is the perfect example of why most men should never get married.
    Entitled spoiled princess personified.

  21. I don't think Bolick displays pathological narcissism or mad settling anxiety; if we take the case at face value, she simply didn't put the effort in to find a spouse when the time was right. She assumed men she wanted to marry would always be there for the plucking. Esp at 30 and above, a woman who wants to marry better go after it like a job. Especially since she had such high social and SES status, which meant the pool of "eligible" men was so small. She decided to be fabulous instead and never made up the opportunity cost. it's classic weak bidder/strong bidder – she thought she was a strong bidder and could get more than give in the negotiation process.

    I think it's because her feminist upbringing wouldn't allow her to admit that marriage and motherhood were serious life goals for her.

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