Enough single shaming: Why we choose to be on our own
There are plenty of things that piss me off: sexism, racism, ageism… basically any ism. But there is one recurring issue that, despite its stupidity and absence of logic, makes my blood boil: It’s single shaming. I was reading an article over lunch the other day about Yumi Stynes commenting on Sophie Monk as the choice as the new Bachelorette. She said:
“You have to believe that they could be single for some reason. If they were so unreal, you’d go ‘Why isn’t she with someone?” “You have to be able to see that she’s a little too crazy, and that’s why she’s the Bachelorette.”
Now, after a sojourn to Coupledom, I am a proud single woman (again) and reading this comment made me lose my appetite. Jokes, I finished my quarter pounder meal and had a snickers.
But this single shaming has got to stop! The idea that if you are single there must be something wrong with you makes me want to vom (or maybe that’s just the snickers repeating?). Firstly, there’s something wrong with all of us because, you know, no one is perfect. Secondly, that idea implies that people in relationships have nothing wrong with them, and we all know that isn’t true. Especially that person…you know that person, who managed to score that amazing partner and for all that is good and pure, you can’t figure out how they pulled it off. And thirdly, there are plenty of reasons one might find themselves single that are completely separate from our personality flaws.
The belief that your singleness means you are broken in some way goes hand in hand with the belief that every single woman is dying to be paired off.
Single men are not subjected to the same assumptions that we are and when they get older they certainly are not accused of being ‘left on the shelf’. They age like a fine wine and earn ‘Silver Fox’ status.
Well you know what? I love the shelf! I have a great view from up here! The shelf is my life at the moment and I will not have anyone tell me that my current life is merely a waiting room, a purgatory where I sit patiently for my real life to begin.
I’m sure Yumi didn’t mean to suggest everything that I am projecting onto her one comment. But there is a lingering subtext of fault and blame on the single person. Fault and blame automatically suggest that something has gone wrong.
I know some single people out there might be thinking, “Well something did go wrong. This wasn’t how I expected things to go.” And that is perfectly valid. But it’s important to simultaneously hope for something in the future, yet reject the societal notion that you must not be good enough to have it.
So what are some possible reasons for singleness?
We can’t find quality
This is the most common reason among my single girlfriends. They’re great gals (not perfect, as I explained earlier) but they can’t find people who interest them. What’s the war-cry-esque response to this? “You’re too picky!” For fuck’s sake. What? You actually want to enjoy conversation AND feel attracted to someone? Insanity! “You’re too picky” is simply society encouraging you to settle.
I’m not interested in lowering my standards just so I can return to Coupledom and relax in the knowledge that someone is there find my corpse one day. Settling with someone you find simply adequate is what generations before us did, and for good reason. But times and attitudes have changed. We used to think the earth was flat and now we know the bitch is round, so if you’re willing to wait for a quality partner, then wait! But if having a relationship, any kind of relationship, is more important to you, then God-speed. I just know that settling is not my bag.
We’re sorting some shit out
Don’t you roll your eyes at me! The cliché of taking some time ‘to work on me’ is not a cliché at all. It’s actually amazing. That’s what I’m doing at the moment and I’m making some serious changes. I freely admit, it’s selfish work, but I’m not interested in sharing this time with anyone else right now. I’m seeing a counsellor to work through my issues, I’m getting a hold of my anxiety, I’m hitting the gym, catching up with family/friends and spending time alone.
I can practically hear the rebuttals to this, “But you can do all that when you’re in a relationship!” Well here’s the kicker: I don’t want to. I want to sort it all out without having someone else to consider.
We’re too afraid
If you’re dating in your thirties, then you’ve surely gone through the dating wringer. I mean, you’ve seen some shit and you’re scared. And why shouldn’t you be? People are brutal these days: We have ghosting, benching, text break ups, Facebook blocking and Insta unfollowing. We’ve also fallen hard, believed we’d found the elusive ‘one’ and had it snatched from under our noses . We’re hurting from a break up, just recovered from one or terrified of going through it again.
So what’s the easy thing to do? Disengage. Remove your heart and soul from the dating game to prevent any further pain. It’s a fool-proof solution in the short term, but concerning in the long term. You see, the longer we keep our hearts locked away, the harder it is to find the key.
And lastly….umm because we want to be
Maybe, just maybe, there is no specific reason some choose to be single. What if (shock, horror!) women just like it? They’ve tried the relationship thing and were like *shoulder shrug* “I can take it or leave it.” Kudos to those who know what they want and have made peace with it!
Phew, after all that, I need a cup of tea and a lie down. Single or taken, what are you thoughts on all this?
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