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She added: “My take is that you get out of life what you really want, even if you think you don’t want it. So if you’re still single, maybe on a very deep level that’s exactly where you want to be.”

Indeed, hundreds of readers, some with long experience in the dating trenches, questioned if the men profiled had realistic expectations.

“I lived in NYC from when I was 18 to 32,” HeatherR. from New York City wrote. “I am 46 years old now and am shaking my head in dismay at the older guys that were interviewed here because I know very well that they are of the same age group that would drop someone like a hot rock for any excuse back in the day (one guy who had spoken of marriage changed his mind because he didn’t like the eyeliner that I wore one night), just because there were so many options out there.”

She added: “I finally had to move to another country (France) and my sister to another state (Michigan) to find a good man. So sorry guys, none of you are getting the tiniest amount of pity from me.”

SaraJean from Greenville lamented, “I am on the other side … as a middle age woman with teenagers still living at home, I see many men sabotage relationships before they even begin. On dating sites, I am mainly contacted by men at least 10 years older than me … but they don’t want women with kids at home, even if they are not home most of the time. A woman must be able to ‘travel’ on a whim and follow the man’s work schedule … but will not consider the woman’s schedule.”

LNL from New Market, Md., a therapist, scolded, “Men in their 40s living in New York City who have good careers and fairly attractive looks, but who have never been married and want to get married, need to stop blaming fate or outside circumstances and hightail it to the nearest competent psychotherapist.”

Demographically, LNL wrote, “women in their 40s and 50s are in a far worse position looking for decent single men. Men who are good and loving and aren’t out of work or morbidly obese and who truly want a loving permanent relationship are usually in wonderful new relationships within eight months, and frequently within four.”

Plenty of other readers, however, both straight and gay, sympathized with the men’s stories.

“Spot on,” Jim Neal of Chapel Hill, N.C., wrote. “The older I get the more cynical I feel, especially as other gay men are celebrating gay marriage — something I fought for but may never experience. I just feel resigned to living the rest of my life alone and that brings a sort of creeping despair. Well — I’ve got an awesome cat.”

Another reader, avery t, from TriBeCa, complained: “Okay, but as a 5’ 7” guy, I know that many, many, many, many, many women’s profiles say ‘be 6 feet tall’ or ‘I like tall guys’ or ‘no short guys.’ In 2011, I tried OkCupid. In 12 months, I saw about 3200 (not 32. Not 320. But 3200!) profiles that said, ‘I like tall guys’ or ‘be taller than me in heels.’”

In “real life,” he wrote, “plenty of women are less concerned with height, but online, women are seeking Thor.”

MVN, also a New Yorker, cheered: “Bravo to these brave men who dare to show vulnerability and desire for more within their lives. New York sure breeds this situation — it’s an ambitious town and everyone here is ambitious for more and certain they’ll find it — including in the romantic sphere. There are so many fun and interesting opportunities for people to socialize and blend and it’s hard for many people to develop the skills of intimacy.”

Others questioned if the search is worth it. “We all want a ‘partner for life,’” Carmen from New York City wrote, “but the reality is that most of us wander into the emotional wasteland that is marriage only to find we’ve never been so alone.”

MCS, a single New York man, commented: “Most of my married friends don’t have much of a sex life. Many of the guys tell me, having kids is great, but being a husband is a challenge. They envy me. I don’t envy them, but I do support them, as a true friend should.”

On a cheerier note, one reader leapt at a chance to turn her own luck around. Addressing one of the men profiled, Kathryn Smith from Atlanta, who described herself as “a single 30 year old woman in finance who studied English,” wrote: “I’ve dated older before, and had a really great time with someone more mature who didn’t incessantly play video games and get blackout drunk. Paul Morris sounds right up my alley. Hit me up, boo.”

Continue reading the main story
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/11/fashion/readers-respond-to-the-lonesome-single-men-of-new-york.html