When I was asked to take on the responsibility of writing for the Fusia Lifestyle section, I was excited about the challenge, but I wasn’t exactly too sure on what I would write about. Our former lifestyle writer wrote a lot about family and raising children, but as a single woman I cannot relate to any of those things at all. I was stumped.
So I logically did what any other self-respecting writer would do, and I did a little research. The majority of newspapers, magazines, even the Lifestyle section of the local Chapters, seem to centre on love, marriage, relationships, raising children, and the like. Things which I don’t know about. So I was even more stumped. Then I began to wonder…why don’t I come across many articles or books that celebrate single life? What is worse, the majority of material out there discussing singleness is mostly stuff that you would find under the umbrella of self-help.
I refuse to accept that the single woman’s life is not Lifestyle material. This article is about being single, but it is NOT an article about finding happily ever after with a man and therefore graduating from single to couple as if singleness is merely a prerequisite to the next step. Too often we singles are bombarded with the notion that “single” is undesirable; it is equated with incomplete, lonely, and a whole bunch of negative notions that simply aren’t true.
Although trying to reclaim the word “single” is too tall of an order for a short article, I will speak to some of the negative conceptions behind the cliché advice that is constantly offered to me as a single woman.
- Oh don’t worry, your Prince Charming is just around the corner!
First and foremost, life is not a fairytale. And I am not saying that in a sad Taylor Swift “I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairytale, I’m not the one you sweep off her feet, lead her out the stairwell” sort of way. I’m saying this in a very positive way. As a single woman, I am NOT waiting for my Prince Charming to show up. I’m not lying around with a piece of poisoned apple in my mouth waiting for life’s saving kiss. I’m not pining for love. Period. And I most definitely do NOT need to be rescued. So please save your piece of consolation…just because I’m single doesn’t mean that I’m in need of “encouragement” from you. I’m not worried, and you telling me not to worry actually means you think there is something to worry about.
In response to this inane piece of reassurance, I refer you to the Single Law #1 Happiness is not dependent on Happily Ever After. Happiness comes from within. If you place the responsibility of your happiness on anyone else but yourself, you will always be disappointed.
- A friend of a friend’s cousin’s friend knows someone who is also STILL single! Do you want me to see if I can set you up?
Hmmm…..let me think about that…..NO! Single people can’t stand when you treat singleness like it’s a disease that you need to cure. Offering to set me up means you think there is something wrong with being alone. Which also means that you pity me. Please stop pitying me. I don’t care that I’m sitting at the “single’s table” at your wedding and everyone else at the table is at least 10 years younger than me. If it doesn’t bother me, why does it bother you? Don’t tell me that I’m being too picky, that I’m not putting myself out there, don’t tell me that I’ll find him once I stop looking (which totally negates the ‘putting myself out there’ bit of advice by the way)…don’t say anything to me. Being a part of a couple does not automatically also make you a single’s counselor. I’m not damaged and you don’t have to fix me, and my singleness is not a riddle that you need to solve.
In response to this well-meaning but infuriating consolation, I refer you to the Single Law #2 Alone does NOT mean Lonely.
Of course there are a million more clichés that I hear, but these are two that I find particularly annoying and offensive. However, such is the life in the Single Woman’s shoes. I find the lives of my married friends and family absolutely wonderful, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t come from a place of jaded cynicism. But my life – my pick up and move to another country just because I feel like it, freedom to do exactly what I want to do when I want to do it life – is equally wonderful….no….it’s fabulous!
Published in Fusia magazine March 2015