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The 'Times' Fascination with the Single Man

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The 'Times' Fascination with the Single Man

The 'Times' Fascination with the Single Man

The 'Times' Fascination with the Single Man

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In this week's Unger Report, Brian Unger examines the odd entity known as the "single man" — and the seeming obsession among writers and editors of The New York Times with the mind of the American bachelor.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

And now a question we're all pondering: What's on the mind of an unmarried man? DAY TO DAY contributor Brian Unger is single, but even he doesn't have a clue. Still, he says, The New York Times is searching for an answer.

BRIAN UNGER reporting:

On Friday, Gawker.com, a Web site that covers Manhattan media news and gossip, reported that The New York Times is going back in one more time, delving deep, deep, deep into the psyche of America's single man, to figure out once and for all: What is he thinking? Gawker.com cites a query from ProfNet, the PR news wire service that helps connect journalists with sources.

In the item, a reporter for The New York Times is on the prowl. She writes...

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UNGER: ...`I am exploring the topic of yellow-light bachelors, single straight men who have reached an age where their friends and families start to wonder what is wrong, why they're still single. Are they commitmentphobes? Are they gay? It's the, "Well, if he's so successful and attractive yet single, what's wrong with him?"'

What's wrong with him might be the repetitive banging of The New York Times on his front door, desperately wanting to get inside his brain. Gentlemen, the Old Gray Lady will not be ignored. She's going to boil a bunny on your stove. You are being stalked by a newspaper.

The upcoming yellow-light bachelors expose comes on the heels of the July 5th Times investigation: Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited. That on the heels of their groundbreaking June 19th report: Gay or Straight? Hard to Tell. That on the heels of their hard-hitting April 10th analysis: The Man Date. What do you call two straight men having dinner? That on the heels of the now infamous 2003 journalistic nuclear bomb: Metrosexuals Come Out.

Since The New York Times started probing unmarried men, the folks at Webster's and Microsoft haven't been able to take a vacation. They're constantly having to update the dictionary and spell check with words like metrosexual, man date and commitmentphobe. On every beach in the Hamptons, Scrabble games have erupted in fistfights over people trying to play the word `gayvague,' seduced by its sexy point total.

In its upcoming, sure-to-be-Zeitgeist smash hit yellow-light bachelors, The New York Times will again courageously attempt to distill man's essence into a brand of shoe, define his elusiveness by his hair product, discover his soul through his flat-front pants and give FOX News another reason to hate The New York Times.

Perhaps The New York Times is coming out of the closet. Maybe it wants to change its moniker to the Old Gay Lady. Or more likely, these stories are payback for generations of women having to endure the question `Why aren't you married? And furthermore, why don't you have any kids?'

Will The New York Times ever uncover what's inside the mind of an unmarried man? I'm reminded of a joke as old as The New York Times itself. A man says, `I broke up with my girlfriend because she asked the wrong question.' His friend asks, `What question is that?' The man replies, `She asked, "What are you thinking?"' And that is today's Unger Report. I'm Brian Unger.

(Soundbite of "Pink Panther" theme)

BRAND: DAY TO DAY is a production of NPR News. I'm Madeleine Brand.

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