“[These buildings] are for people who work hard and come home and don’t want to retreat to their apartments,” says Balazs. “They’re up for a little social interaction. It’s nice to be able to have a community that does something other than sit in a nightclub.”
Balazs’ glossy fraternity house follows the example set by two previous developments of his that attract the young and single, 40 Mercer and One Kenmare Square in New York, as well as under-construction developments like Mei, in Miami Beach; the Murano, in Philadelphia; and the Frank Gehry–designed Residences at Grand Avenue, in Los Angeles. The legendary Hit Factory studio, in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, is being turned into luxury units that start at just over $1 million; the lobby will be festooned with plaques from albums recorded there.
“It’s inevitable,” says Michael Kimmel, a sociology professor at SUNY Stony Brook who’s writing a book called Guyland: The Inner Lives of Men 18–26. “Developers are looking for a way to get some of that disposable income. They’re accessorizing these buildings for men.”
Cushy living spaces aren’t the only thing making the world a friendly place for the new breed of bachelors. Womenespecially those cultivating their careers first and marrying laterare welcoming the freshly divorced thirtysomething guy with open arms. It turns out that being divorced at 35 isn’t a red flag as much as it is a stamp of approval.
“If you’re single and you’ve never been married at this age, you’re the red-light bachelor,” says Derek (who asked that his real name not be used), 36, an art director in New York who’s been divorced for six years. “Every girl’s looking at you like, ‘What’s wrong with him? Is he gay? Is he crazy?’ Having been married, all that’s wiped away. You’re a single guy, you’ve already been married, so you’ve already been through the first interview.”
“Guys who get married younger and then go back in the dating pool are much less likely to be seen as damaged goods than they might once have been,” Kimmel says.
“In some ways, I’d rather date someone who’s divorcedat least I know he doesn’t have commitment issues,” says Ruth, 32, who works in human resources in Toronto. “I don’t view it so differently from a breakup. It’s just a relationship that didn’t work out.”
“While divorce is still a crisis moment for these men,” says Richard N. Pitt, a professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University, “the long-term impact is lessened if he’s not bound to the ex-wife financially. And the market for divorced men is very different from the market for divorced womenwith or without children in the mix.”
Single since the age of 32, McHale, the ad exec who lives in Manhattan, can attest to the warm reception many women offer formerly married men. The women he dates are “15 years [older], 15 years younger, and anything in between. It’s been . . . yeah,” he says, recalling the years since his divorce with the misty-eyed joy of a middle-aged woman who got out from under a Neanderthal husband.