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In which I get on my singleness soapbox in a comment on HuffPost

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I subscribe to the Singles page on HuffPost. Granted, most of the articles are about dating and sex, but occasionally there are little gems I find encouraging or humorous or supportive.

So when I saw the title “10 Things You Didn’t Know about Single Americans” as the header of their new post* in my Google Reader on Tuesday, I clicked over to see what they came up with. Here they are, in the order they presented them:

  • “Friends With Benefits” Are More Common Than Ever
  • More Women Are Waiting for Commitment to Have Sex
  • More Americans Are Meeting Dates Online
  • Most People Are Putting A Partner’s [sexual] Satisfaction First
  • Despite Consequences, Sexting Remains Common
  • Digital Transparency [from a partner] Is A Must (i.e., a partner must not hide his/her e-mail, text messages, etc.)
  • Your Online Persona Is More Important Than Ever (because people will research you online before going out on a date with you)
  • Single People Are Optimistic About Marriage
  • Married People Have More Orgasms (wait—I thought this list was about single people???)
  • Everybody Snoops

The items that aren’t specifically about dating/sex/relationships (or marriage) apply to everyone, not just unmarried people.

Which, of course, led me to get on my singleness soapbox and post the following comment:

Why does everything in this list have to do with sex and relationships? Here’s something the authors of the article and the study don’t know about singles: OUR LIVES DON’T REVOLVE AROUND DATING AND SEX. We have jobs, interests, hobbies, friends, family. We enjoy traveling, eating out, going to the theatre, reading, writing, listening to music, playing music. We pursue higher education/graduate degrees at a higher rate. We start businesses, buy houses, adopt children, care for aging parents. Our lives are not all about finding “Mr./Ms. Right” or even “Mr./Ms. Right Now.” Many of us are single in the truest sense of the word: we’ve learned to be content with not being in a romantic relationship at all. We live alone, we are self-sufficient, and we are happy.

But I guess people just aren’t interested in any aspect of single people’s lives other than how much sex we’re having and trying to quantify how desperate we all are to get married.

*Yes, I did see that the “research” had been conducted by Match dot com, but I thought maybe they might actually have something interesting/groundbreaking/true to say. Why I thought this, I don’t know.

  1. Thursday, February 7, 2013 6:50 am

    Go you! I fully agree with that comment (despite being married). My siblings are single and not looking. I have friends who are more interested in living than in finding love, too.


    • Friday, February 8, 2013 11:42 am

      It’s a lot like what young (and not so young) women have to deal with because of the body-image issues they’re given in popular media. Popular culture says that dating/sex/desire to partner-up are the only things singles in America are supposed to be interested in, so that’s the only message that gets out. TV shows, magazines, this page on HuffPost, etc. It’s almost never about how people are successful and happy unmarried/unpartnered. It’s always about how there’s something wrong with them because they’re not partnered/married.


  2. Thursday, February 7, 2013 1:13 pm

    totally agree with you Kaye. i am single, happy, content and not looking for a relationship. I find it is often married people who tend to say what a single person is or isn’t. They also tend to say we cant be content or there is something wrong if we are not looking for a partner.


    • Friday, February 8, 2013 11:44 am

      Yes, because marriage is still seen as the cultural norm, not being married—and not being so desperate to get married that it consumes every moment of our lives—is seen as being wrong. The truth is, though, that within the next decade or two, married people will be in the minority. Of course, that doesn’t mean that people won’t be in relationships, either long-term or short-term, it just means marriage is on the decline. However, again, because it’s been the cultural norm for so long, I doubt that stereotype will ever truly go away. At least, not in our lifetimes.


  3. Thursday, February 7, 2013 4:07 pm

    The world believes if an article or a movie doesn’t have sex in it, no one is going to read it or see it. That is why they put such garbage out there. I’m glad you are setting people straight about singles. I know when I was single and quite a bit younger than I am now, everyone expected you to be married as soon as you graduated from high school. Since I didn’t even have a boyfriend when I graduated, I thought something was wrong with me. I did not want to be labeled, Old Maid. The Bible declares God gives you the desires of your heart, so I began to pray for a husband, as I proceeded on to college to obtain my teaching degree. Surely I would meet the man of my dreams at college? This really became an issue for me since all of my friends and cousins were either married or getting married. One night before I went to bed, I prayed with great urgency for God to give me some kind of a sign if I was ever to be married or not. That night I dreamed of my wedding. The man I married in my dream had blonde hair. I never saw his face. The next morning I was at peace. I knew one day I would be married but in God’s timeing, not mine. When I began my senior year at college, a new family moived into our community. They had three sons and one daughter. One son was already married, one son was in the Navy, but one son still lived at home and he was around my age. Yes, he had blonde hair. We dated for four months before he asked me to marry him, and after I graduated from college we were married. That was 37 years ago and we are still happily married. Times have truly changed since then. Back then singles would never openly live together. Some singles would have sex before marriage but that was kept private. All singles did want to get married some day. That was their goal in life. That could be why some people still think that today.


  4. Thursday, February 7, 2013 4:44 pm

    Leaving aside match dot com’s preoccupation with sex… are any of those ten points actually news? None of them scream ‘oh, wow, I never would have guessed’, or at least not to me.

    This ‘article’ explains why I tend to read fiction or industry news. Not self-help, and not magazines that try and pretend to have new and exciting ideas when actually they are just same-old-same-old rehashed with a new iStock photo.


    • Friday, February 8, 2013 11:47 am

      I do subscribe to a few pages like this on different media sites, just to try to keep nominally in touch with society at large. As someone who makes part of my living writing books about single people (after all, who are the characters in romance novels but single people?), I want to make sure I’m getting as many perspectives as I can outside of my own (very limited) experience when it comes to dating/relationships.


  5. Joanna permalink
    Thursday, February 7, 2013 4:48 pm

    Bravo, MIZZ Dacus! I, too, am tired of being pitied or considered “weird” because not only do I live alone and like it, being in a relationship (or even having a “friend with benefits”) is at the absolute bottom of my list of “necessities” for happiness. Unfortunately, I didn’t experience this epiphany until I’d already failed at marriage and produced several children. Bravo to women who actually do marry their soulmates and find contentment as half of a couple. I just don’t happen to be one of them, and have been lucky enough to meet, and form lasting friendships with, other women who also don’t need a male OR sex to “complete” their lives.

    I shudder to think how different my life would’ve been had I avoided adding an MRS to my name and earned a BS or a PhD instead. For this reason, I drummed into each of my daughters from birth to get an education and explore the world before considering marriage or even a long-term relationship, and they did. As this century progresses, I think more women will choose singlehood over being half of a couple.


    • Friday, February 8, 2013 11:50 am

      There are so many more opportunities for women now than there were even twenty or thirty years ago when I was growing up. Unlike in previous generations, marriage isn’t a “must” for the female half of our species—we don’t need a man to support and provide for us. We can support and provide for ourselves. Yes, at times I do wish I had someone to help bear the burden of bills and home responsibilities. But then I remember how much I love my independence and freedom to do (or not do) whatever I choose. It’s also allowed me to have deep, intimate friendships with others, both female and male, I might otherwise have missed out on.


  6. Thursday, February 7, 2013 10:07 pm

    Well said Kaye! It’s interesting (and sad) that even now how some women are judged by: a) marital status and b) number of kids.


    • Friday, February 8, 2013 11:51 am

      I have plenty of married friends who have chosen not to have children who get the same kinds of pressure about that which we unmarried people get about relationships. Again, it goes back to what’s perceived as the “social norm” of whatever community of which we happen to be a part.


  7. Laura permalink
    Friday, February 8, 2013 6:47 am

    While I agree with the points you make completely, I wouldn’t take the HuffPost singles page only offering information about dating/sex as society thinking that’s all singles dare about. If you’re browsing a page based on relationship status, like a singles page, they have no way of knowing what your outside interests/hobbies would be. If your wanting to know about sports or technology etc they have to assume you’d go to the segment of the website, but the only information ‘single’ gives a news site is ‘maybe they want to date/have sex’.
    Just my two cents!


    • Friday, February 8, 2013 11:59 am

      Oh, believe me, I expect this page to have mostly information about dating/sex/relationships on a regular basis. But if they wanted to be well-rounded, they would also look at unique aspects of single life that don’t have anything to do with that ONE aspect of life and find bloggers who could write about other things that are different for singles: dining out alone; traveling alone; entertaining when one must do it all on one’s own; caring for aging parents when one doesn’t have a spouse or partner to help with other responsibilities/burdens; single parenting—either with an ex-partner or because of adoption or choice to become a single parent; investing, saving for retirement—what do singles need to think about when it comes to things like life insurance, etc.; how living alone can affect one financially, emotionally, and physically; and so on. There are so many aspects to being single that are different which could be addressed on a page/website for singles but which get shoved aside as “not interesting” in favor of stupid pieces like this “article” about sex/relationships.


  8. Saturday, February 9, 2013 12:20 pm

    I agree with you. I was divorced forty three years ago and I am happy and content. I have raised four children. Went back to college. I don’t date and I am very pleased with my life. I don’t understand why people thin they have to use sex to sell everything. They think everything rotates around that three letter word. I don’t get it. God is so good and there is so much more to life than trying to chase down a man thinking he can make me happy. If I’m not happy with myself then I won’t be happy with a man. Just sayin…
    Glenda Parker


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