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Turns out National Singles Week (the 1982 lovechild of -- for real -- The
Singles Council of Central Ohio) -- was ... last week. Oops. Um, fashionably
late? (Even by NYC nightlife standards, a week is a bit much.) I'm sorry. Truth
be told, I had my hands full figuring out whether
or not I was going to rejoin the ranks. Which brings me to:
Thing #1. If you think that when you do get a relationship, you're,
done, you've got another think coming. As in: "I think we should be
That's why, as you know, my metier is not to scoot you [out of and] into a
relationship just as an end in itself. That, in itself, would be The End, would
it not? My job -- while I do recommend that you find yourself a comfortable
spot on the Flirtation Continuum (see MB's letter)
-- is, rather, to Make the World Safe For Singles. And -- to paraphrase an
U2 line I used to doodle on my notebooks in Breakup High, when I dreamed of
being not single with Bono -- help you change the world in you. To help
you shrug off the icky bridesmaid's dress/tacky cumberbund of a feeling that
Single, as fun and free as it can be these days, is still pre-attached,
Jones, who resolves to "develop inner poise and authority and sense of self
as woman of substance, complete without boyfriend, as best way to obtain
And fortunately, singles are getting some validation -- other than parking
at Spago -- out there. Well, some. To wit:
Single is the new black. Single sells.
Yes, and ... not so much. Yes, in the sense that truly no one -- not even I
-- looked at me funny when I went to the opera alone last night. Yes in the
sense that -- at least in the world of the not-so-beaux-arts -- "happy
ending" and "wedding" are no longer bound 'til death do they
Not so much, given that we must remember that single sells because singles
shop. American women, at least, are staying single longer (enjoy these stats
while they last), getting raises as they go (in fact,
they now make 92% of men's wages). Also, the "Hey, baby?"-boom
in Hollywood and on TV and in publishing is more autobiography -- and business
plan -- (oh, and cheap imitation) -- than it is singles-community service. Even
though the numbers back it up, calling The Single Thing a brand-new cultural
trend is a bit of a slick scarlet herring. It's a teeeeeeny bit like saying
"Now, all of a sudden, we've got so much culture from the Latinos!"
(the new Lesbians). Did we ever actually lose our marytylermoorings in the
place? What about The
Group? Or Gentlemen
Prefer Blondes? If you ask me (or Helen Fielding), much of this stuff is
Pride and Prejudice, with more sex, less muslin.
Thing #3. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in
possession of a good fortune must be in want of a husband.
The "the women's movement is wack" people -- and the people who
love them -- are far too quick to point to Bridget and Carrie
& Co. on their less jaunty days and say, "See, they say
they're independent, but they really just want to get married." Why is
this a contradiction in terms? Marriage requires mettle too, does it not,
married readers? How come when men want to get married, they're settling down,
but when women want to get married, they're giving in? Why do people looking
for a life partner all of sudden look like wistful misty Seventh Heaven
Or shrill golddigging nutballs (wait til you see the scene that sullies
the otherwise charming The
Bachelor.)? What's wrong with wanting someone -- as The
Heart is a Lonely Hunter so aptly and evenly put it -- to "share the
You know, I remember one day when I told someone, perfectly cheerfully, that
one day I'd like to get married. The response: "Wow, I never thought of
you ... that way."
That actually kind of stung.
Which brings me to:
Thing #4. The problem with the Hooray for "Hooray for Singles"
thing is that it leaves us to tromp down our own middle aisle. To defend
on both sides. To still have to say, "I went to the opera alone, AND I'M
REALLY OKAY WITH THAT," AND to say, "I'd prefer not die alone
and childless, AND I'M REALLY OKAY WITH THAT."
Which is why I'm also striving to make the world Safe for Searching. No
eyebrows. No "that way."
Because even when we're all rah-rah, which is great, we're still defining
ourselves against a norm. Defending, proving, game-facing. All in all, I'm just
waiting -- I mean, working -- for Single to not even be a Thing. (Same way I'm
waiting for the day when, you know, NOW
and the EPA pack up and go
home on account of they've got nothing left to do.) Sure, some of us can afford
D&G, but we're still wearing all sorts of scarlet letters. Someday, let's
hope, Single will be the new ... neutral.
While we're on the subject...
Thing #5. In the sociable just-gettin-out-there -- or in this case,
-- spirit of breakupgirl.net, tell us this:
Have you met, METmet someone -- or, yes, made a friend -- via our message
board, chats, or behind-the-scenes
right here at the column? More to the point, have you struck up something e-
(platonic or otherwise) that you'd like to take IRL? Help us help you! We might
be able to work together on a so-cool-we-can't-even-tell-you promo project.
So give me the big tell, and we'll take
it from there. Thanks heaps!
Thing #6. Finally, can't tackle this theme without mentioning The
You know, Canada. Where people flee when they sense that they're about to be
This is the stuff of a column unto itself (I'll get there. I'm just ... not
ready.) but for this week let me just highlight a couple of key points and
"Fear of Commitment" -- Human freaking condition, you guys. How
people do you know who do not schvitz a bit at the thought of giving
up all options but one? I mean, eeek! It's just that some folks, for
whatever nature/nurture reason, are better at overriding it than others.
F of C (like its twin cousin, Fear of Intimacy) is thus not necessarily
as a facile amateur poppsych knee jerk "diagnosis." I mean, some
settle down with the wrong person in order to avoid having to settle on the
right one. Different symptom, same cause. Who's to say?
It's also not necessarily a guy thing. Granted, there is some perhaps
female biological urgency to Get a Dad. But we all have feet, and they all get
And/so now, a few words from Mr. and Miss Single Thing ...
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