Which leads into a discussion of whether it is harder for very smart, very ambitious women to find mates, and how much easier it is for a 50-year-old man to find a wife than for a 50-year-old woman to find a husband.
She's not gay, okay?
Actually, the all-too-public discussion about the ought-to-be private topic of Elena Kagan's sexuality would be easier if the Supreme Court nominee were gay. . . .
There are gender-based undertones to the Kagan discussion, but it is more complicated than simple sexism: that we assume an unmarried woman in her 40s or 50s "must be" a lesbian. Truth is, there is much the same gossip about unmarried and never-married men in public life. Imagine a David Souter nomination in the era of unrestrained blogging. Speculation about the meaning of his bachelor status would have been rampant -- and online.
The part where gender enters the discussion involves the underlying reasons. I don't know any single men of a certain age who would have preferred to have gotten married. I know many single women who would have preferred that their lives had worked out differently.
But, honestly, if she isn't a lesbian, why does she wear her hair like that?