” Professor in the Department of German and Russian “It’s been 46 years since I dated… ’ Another good one was,’My roommate is having his girlfriend over tonight and they need to be alone, so could I possibly sleep on your floor?’The concept of dating is nice, but what we’re really talking, though, is how to find the right person for the rest of your life, and, so, in my case with Mrs. ’ was all it took.” Professor of Sociology “Gee, my wife and I met in graduate school.Professor of Communication, Film Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies “Dating advice? When I was a freshman at Wake Forest, I learned quickly that Demon Deacons didn’t date — even back then.” Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship & Business“Be yourself–you want someone to like you EXACTLY how you are and not some inauthentic representation of yourself.If they don’t like you as is, you just saved yourself time and misspent effort.
So often this conversation is about if married women should change their last name or when women should have children in relation to the tenure process. I moved across the country to take what turned out to be my dream job. I know at this juncture many people will say “you gotta get out there and meet people! I’ve been a member of all the major online dating websites (the free and very much not free ones). I go to movies, restaurants, bars, the mall, the library, coffee shops, the dog park all with hopes of having a casual conversation and making a new friend. This is not because people do not have conversations with me. Then the conversation ends and I watch them leave the establishment hand in hand with their spouse/partner. I have wonderful colleagues with whom I laugh and have great conversations. While I enjoy spending time with them (and sometimes their spouses and children), the things I want to do, the conversations I want to have are hard to come by.
Also, and this is old man advice, don’t get an apartment together.
Everyone is shagging up in the dorms, I’m not talking about that, but don’t permanently move in together.
While these conversations should undoubtedly be had at every institution, I am left wondering where single (i.e., not in a relationship) women fit in this conversation. Everything people describe in their ideal employment situation is very true for me: I am able to design my own courses, prioritize teaching over research (this is a personal preference), get to know my students very well because of the small class (and College) size, form strong bonds with colleagues across departments, have my contributions be respected and valued, shape the trajectory of the department and College, have institutional support for attending conferences and funding research, be compensated fairly for my work. The problem arises when I—a single woman with no children—want to hang out after 5pm. They have children to pick up, spouses with whom to spend time, family visiting, chores to accomplish. Of those 173, I would liberally guess that 25 have never been married (If I were to put money on it, I would lower that number to 12). You can only handle being a third wheel for so long.
I get up every day and look forward to engaging with students, designing new courses, writing manuscripts. So I find myself spending more time alone than I ever have in life.