Single by Choice

Updated: Nov 20, 2018

by Janelle Nanos - 1/3/2012

Boston Magazine

Photograph by Chad Griffith

When it comes to getting hitched, more Americans than ever before are saying "I don't." Singles now make up nearly half the adult population in this country, and new research suggests they're happier, more social, and more active in the community than many of their wedded counterparts. Now if only their friends and family (oh, and while we're at it, coworkers, benefits providers, and the federal government) would get off their back.

“Never getting married. EVER.”

If you've been single long enough, then you probably have one: a story of such jaw-dropping cluelessness that you shake your head as you retell it. Eva's happened during Christmas, at her job at a financial office in downtown Boston. The perpetrator: her boss. After he handed out a bottle of wine to every other employee in her department, Eva unwrapped a small bar of soap with a cat sticker on it, and an accompanying mug that said "Everything Tastes Better with Cat Hair in It."

"I was speechless," she says now, breaking into a laugh. "The crazy cat lady is really not what you want to be perceived as." Eva's sitting in her home in Roslindale, a tidy four-bedroom from the late 1880s that she's renovated and decorated with retro-chic '50s-style prints. Her Chihuahua, Alex, slumps lazily in her lap while Shelby, the white Persian cat in question, saunters by her feet. It's late afternoon, and the golden light refracting through the bay window of her living room gives the house next door a Hopperesque glow. Across the way, you can see her neighbors' domesticity playing out through their window like the opening sequence of a sitcom: children running across the kitchen with their backpacks, a mother preparing dinner at the stove. But at 51, Eva says she wants no part in any of that. She's never been married, has never craved children, and has no interest in settling down with anyone in the foreseeable future. The one thing she would like is for everyone else to just accept that she's happy that way.

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