Being single is not a problem to be solved. Being single is not a problem to be solved.
Yes, I wrote the phrase twice because it’s just that simple and true and revolutionary of a sentence. It’s also the headline from a recent Salon interview with Kate Heaney whose memoir, “Never Have I Ever,” is not about the confessional drinking game of the same name. It’s the polar opposite of most accounts about dating are. These typical memoirs are painstaking accounts of the search for romance and the hunt to find a love above all other pursuits. Admittedly, I’ve read the press around the book and chats with Heaney but not the book itself. What I know—and particularly relate to—is the notion put forth in “Never Have I Ever” that dating is something to think about yet it’s far from the only thing that deserves space inside a person’s brain.
Heaney touches on the fact that she’s been relationship-less for the better part of her 25 years on earth. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that. I haven’t been absent relationships for quite the amount of time she has. Still, though, I absolutely support the stance that single does not equate to desperate, pathetic or in need of a fix.
Too often when someone—and by someone I mean some lady person—is without a partner she is viewed as the puppy in the shelter whose days are numbered. Not being adopted soon is the same as dunzo. It’s a race to find someone to claim the unclaimable.
I’ve often said that marriage is the answer for some couples, for some people. Turning the establishment into the ideal, however, is unrealistic and maybe even dangerous. Some marriages rock. Others are loveless prisons (or so I hear). Marriages, therefore, are not Olympic gold medals that are both the end goal and amazing across the board. Being married is something to do and work at if two compatible, in-love people meet and decide to make a go of it. The ceremony is an agreement to take on this challenge of trying to make each other happy always. It’s as much a starting point to a race as the finish line of being unattached.
If marriage does not happen—or even until this does happen—singlehood is a perfectly valid lifestyle choice. Heaney, in the Salon interview, aptly points out if she were a man her memoir would be a glorious celebration of the bachelor life.
Sadly, there is no female equivalent of the way that George Clooney goes about his days. “There’s no cool word for the single woman who’s prioritizing other things in her life at that moment. It’s always assumed that it’s a forefront concern,” she tells Salon.
We need a word of our own. Bachelorette conjures up a raunchy pre-wedding party at a strip club.
Until we can remedy the double standard I wanted to point out a few advantages to being single, to add to Heaney’s case:
1. Solo travel to desirable locales is amazing. My last two international trips have been to Ecuador and Nicaragua, two places I picked and then did not need to compromise on since I wasn’t traveling with others. Then I was free to take part in the itinerary of my choosing and meet locals and other travelers.
2. Enhanced friendships and overall more time to devote to pals. I’ve never wanted to be one of those gals that gets a boyfriend and then says, with my actions or words, “get lost” to my crew of friends. But, let’s face it, a little bit of this inevitably happens as a romantic relationship develops. Fortunately, the inverse is true. Being single allows for time with friends, plain and simple.
3. The ability to pursue dreams. There’s also time and energy and will power to excel professionally, launch a new endeavor or even take up that juggling hobby that’s long been elusive.
4. No judgment about bedtime, schedules and odd behaviors. Perhaps this is more of a perk for me. Permission to be weird and individualistic and quirky is liberating. Of course, I’ve always thought a significant significant other would be cool with this.
5. Chatting up strangers is fine. So is flirting, whether consciously or unconsciously. Being a free agent means no one to get jealous and no limits to how friendly you can be. In a non-slutty way as well, of course.
Do those sound like problems needing solving?