All the Single Ladies

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Jan. 20 2011 5:27 PM

All the Single Ladies

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Up until now, I had not paid a lot of attention to the Piers Morgan juggernaut, but it has become impossible to ignore. As Jezebel has noted , Morgan delivered a staggering set of patronizing questions to distinguished academic and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asking her to defend her unmarried status. Among the questions: "How have you avoided being snared in the marital trap?" and "How close have you come?" and "Do you dream of a fairy-tale wedding?" and, perhaps most nauseating, "Do you hold out hope?" My god! Why didn't he come out and say: What is wrong with you, Ms. Rice? Do you have problems with men? Do you have a secret disfigurement? Annoying habits? Do you prefer women? "Are you high-maintenance?" (He really did ask that one.) Can you not see that you have not yet accomplished all that you should have in life? "You're quite a catch," he said, patronizingly, as she graciously thanked him, or something. I couldn't hear because I was banging my head against the desk and screaming. She was forced to utter the same sort of self-justifications-I am all for marriage! I just have not have met the right man to spend my life with!-that Janet Reno was obliged to produce, what, 12 or so years ago. Fifteen. Whatever. I am too depressed to count.

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Didn't we just go through this with Elena Kagan? Did you know: All high-achieving single women must be lesbians, or something, because we know how easily, otherwise, they attract men! How easy it is to get men to adjust to your global travel schedule and your courtroom hearings and the briefs you have to write and your work demands and your brilliant intelligence. In her memoir, for what it's worth, Rice-who loves football and dated a series of players-talks about how there was one player she believed she would share her life with, until she learned he had "too many irons in the fire," which I guess is a tactful euphemism for saying he was dating other women. Of course, it could have been that there was ... something wrong with her. When will smart, single women be able to stop defending their single status? I wish she had hissed and thrown a shoe at him. One of those big long leather boots.

As a talk-show host, one holds out hope for him. But not all that much, really.

Liza Mundy is the director of the Breadwinners and Caregivers Program at the New America Foundation and the author of The Richer Sex.

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