Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

December 22, 2011

One of my dearest friends, a happily married Veteran friends with five (!) children, sent me this article from The Guardian that was shared with her by another of her late 30s, single friends whose romantic life has eerily echoed mine since we first met in our early 20s.

Writer Kate Bolick
Photo: Mike McGregor, the Observer
It's a loooooong article on the sociology of singledom by Kate Bolick and I pretty much skimmed over the statistic-heavy paragraphs (numbers are not my strong suit). But overall it was an interesting read, if only to hear the voice of someone else in my same situation. It actually made me feel pretty good about where I am -- and probably will be for long while.

If you're not up for reading it, here are a few quotes that really jumped out at me. 

"...all this time, I realised, I'd been regarding my single life as a temporary interlude, one I had to make the most of – or swiftly terminate, depending on my mood. Without intending to, by actively rejecting our pop-culture depictions of the single woman – you know the ones – I'd been terrorising myself with their spectres. But now that 35 had come and gone, all bets were off. It might never happen. Or maybe not until 42. Or 70, for that matter. Was that so bad? If I stopped seeing my present life as provisional, perhaps I'd be a little… happier. Perhaps I could actually get down to the business of what it means to be a real single woman.

"In 2005, social psychologist Bella DePaulo coined the word singlism, in an article she published in Psychological Inquiry. Intending a parallel with terms like racism and sexism, DePaulo says singlism is "the stigmatising of adults who are single [and] includes negative stereotyping of singles and discrimination against singles". In her 2006 book, Singled Out, she argues that the complexities of modern life, and the fragility of the institution of marriage, have inspired an unprecedented glorification of coupling. (Laura Kipnis, the author of Against Love, has called this "the tyranny of two.") This marriage myth – "matrimania", DePaulo calls it – proclaims that the only route to happiness is finding and keeping one all-purpose, all-important partner who can meet our every emotional and social need. Those who don't have this are pitied. Those who don't want it are seen as threatening. Singlism, therefore, "serves to maintain cultural beliefs about marriage by derogating those whose lives challenge those beliefs."

Happy holidays to all my fellow crazy cat ladies!


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