Why Being Single Sucks: What No One Wants to Talk About, by B. Smith
This article discusses how sometimes the single life can be lonely. The author is writing from a secular perspective.
I’ve said on this blog in years past that if Christians did their job properly, Christian singles would have their companionship needs met by the church, but Christians are too focused on meeting the needs of Married Couples and droning on about the importance of The Nuclear Family to give any thought to adults who remain single past the age of 25 or 30.
If Christians were doing their jobs properly, they’d be helping those singles who want marriage to get married – by hosting social events geared towards single adults, by asking their single friends if they could fix them up on dates.
Christians could also provide platonic companionship by inviting single adults over for dinner or out to the movies, but married couples usually don’t want single adults in the mix, sometimes because they don’t like “odd numbers” around the dinner table and the paranoia of Christians who believe in the moronic “Billy Graham Rule.”
Christian singles are left to their own devices as to how to seek out companionship. Most churches simply do not care to meet the needs of singles, but will tell them the church is not for them, that the church does not exist to help single adults get their needs met.
Originally spotted this on Melanie Notkin’s Twitter:
We often celebrate the power and pleasures of the single life, but skim over one of its harshest realities: loneliness
….In 1981, 26 percent of Canadians aged 25 to 29 were unmarried. In 2016 (the last yearcensus numbers were gathered), that number skyrocketed to 57 percent. During that time, the percentage of unmarried women in their early 30s jumped from 10 to 34 percent.
As a result, recent years have seen a rise in single-lady-friendly lit, with uplifting titles affirming the pleasures of life uncoupled, including the 2011 book Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg and Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own(Crown, $20) by Kate Bolick, author of the 2011 viral Atlantic article “All the Single Ladies.”
I read Spinster and, while Bolick is a spectacular mind and first-rate writer, it gave me zero solace. I’d hoped to find war stories from a fellow PSB struggling with the garbage part of long-term singlehood: loneliness.
The book is, rather, Bolick’s celebration of five historical spinsters who crafted exciting lives despite their lack of husbands, as well as an exploration of Bolick’s ambivalence toward the outdated idea of mandatory marriage. I called Bolick when I finished the book. “How do you reconcile having a rich life and being lonely?” I asked.
She replied: “It’s about not organizing your life around another person—when you shut all the doors and prioritize the relationship above everything else. I like to have a balance, where my friendships are as important as my romantic relationship, which is as important as my work.”
But what if there is no romantic relationship? Does my yearning for a mate make me lame? Bolick urges women to “make a life of one’s own.”
Done. But I also want to make a life with someone else (and maybe a kid or three).
In It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single, a 2014 tome I found more comforting, author Sara Eckel points out that people are happy to write memoirs about eating disorders, crack addictions, cheating people out of their life savings, being Jenny McCarthy. But almost no tell-alls explore loneliness in depth.
Even the word “lonely” feels ugly. I’ve dropped it in heart-to-hearts with everyone from my BFFs to my mother and watched their faces twist in embarrassment.
This is because loneliness reads as weakness. Melanie Notkin, author of the 2014 book Otherhood: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness, believes our longing for companionship is often maligned because it doesn’t jibe with people’s ideas of boss bitchdom. “It doesn’t feel feminist, the wait for love: ‘If you really want to be a mother, go out and have a baby on your own.’ But that’s what feminism gives us, the ability to make choices that we didn’t have a generation ago, to have the love and the child with that love,” Notkin says. “The truth is that we are modern, independent women who yearn for traditional dating and romance. It’s not a non-feminist thing to say. It’s actually quite feminist to admit what you want.”
Yet the persistent perception is that loneliness is something empowered women shouldn’t deign to suffer—something that can be fixed with yoga or a new dating app.
Alternatively, it can appear like it’s our fault: we’re too picky, too selfish.
…It’s easy for PSBs [Perennially Single Bitch] to feel like freaks when the coupled world constantly reminds us of our single status. Bella DePaulo, author of 2006’s Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, calls this ghettoization “singlism.”
Even the shoeshine guy at the airport recently opened with, “You married?” (When he heard my answer, he stuck out his tongue and made a face.)
The older I get, the more party guest lists become standardized into 40 billion couples, a handful of fun gays and a pack of dolled-up PSBs.
….Dating really is a nefarious little game, isn’t it? If you want to stop dating, you have to keep dating to find the partner who will take you out of the running.
All the exhausting gym-going and smiling and battling Feral Cat Syndrome and Tindering won’t guarantee a boyfriend—whether I meet my dream piece or not comes down to chance. It’s maddening. That’s what PSBs must make peace with every day: uncertainty. Want a kid? A house? In most cases, it’s only realistic if you couple up. Until then, I’m in limbo.
If you’d like to read the entire article, please (Link): click here to do so.
I totally agree with that last paragraph I quoted – contrary to what dating advice givers will tell you there is absolutely NO SURE FIRE way of landing a spouse (unless you count Mail Order Spouses, which ew, I do not!).
I’ve done posts on this blog before pointing out that even if you are trim, sexy, have a mansion and a ton of money, it’s not a guarantee of landing a date or a spouse.
According to most sources I’ve seen, even Christian ones, if you want a spouse but do not have one, it’s because you’re supposedly (Link): some kind of dysfunctional loser, or you’re not thin or sexy or wealthy enough.
But of course, as I’ve noted on this blog before, (Link): even skinny, sexy, famous rich people end up lonely at times and have a hard time getting dates or spouses.
Then, of course, within conservative Christianity, there are more single women than there are men, so it’s a numbers situation that works against Christian single women who are obsessed with following the “equally yoked” (only marry another Christian) rule.
Here is a post or two I did on those topics:
(Link): What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis (from TIME) (ie, Why Are Conservative Religious Women Not Marrying Even Though They Want to Be Married. Hint: It’s a Demographics Issue)
(Link): How the Dating Scene Became Stacked Against Women – via CT, by Gina Dalfonzo
Some Other Related Posts (on this blog):
(Link): Seven Truths About Marriage You Won’t Hear in Church by F. Powell
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site