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However, pure luck and a lot of practice has allowed me to forge genuine friendships with these wonderful women.They’ve welcomed me into their country, their homes and into their hearts.You and Me (released the same year Title IX was passed, also the year of my birth).

My Dutch girl friends even flew all the way to my wedding in San Francisco to celebrate my special day.

An invitation to a Dutch bachelorette party and a wedding invitation that are signs of a true friendship with a Dutchie.

Who wouldn’t want to be friends with these tall gorgeous happy blonde beauties with flawless biking skills?

Sometimes expat women spend their entire stay in the Netherlands not having any real Dutch female friends.

I was in Amsterdam for probably three hours when I began to see that having children and not being married was not a big deal there. I was there to talk about my book marrying is not a failure, a great blot on your achievements in life, a critical rite of passage you have missed.

Sometimes people get around to getting married, and sometimes they don’t.

I try to explain how having children outside of marriage is still considered an alternative, and essentially inferior life choice. It seemed like a crazy American thing for marriage to matter so much.

I mention that an American writer wrote a cover story in the on the remarkable and exotic fact that she was in her late 30s and had never married. To them this obsession, this nagging necessity for weddings, the lack of general acceptance toward other pretty common ways of living, is so foreign, so uniquely American, such a quaint narrowness, that it’s incomprehensible as an actual mode of modern life.

A bit of tolerance, of bemusement, of compassion or imagination is built into the system.

I try to describe to a couple of audiences in Amsterdam the against-the-grainness of someone, especially a woman, who has not married in America.

The Shallow Man has even started a counselling group called ‘Dutch women survivors’ for expat men who have been shot down in flames when attempting to approach Dutch women.

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