3.11.2009

If you’re single and you know it, clap your hands! Part II



Singles want one thing and one thing only… A significant other.

If I were an alien who so happen to land in hmmm I don't know- Atlanta, GA, and wondered into an apartment and decided to binge on good ol' cable television for several days I would easily draw that conclusion about single people in our society. The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Rock of Love, Flavor of Love, Love New York (and the rest of the Vh1 crap), these programs glorify marriage and/or embarking into "coupledom" even if they are semi scripted (lol). Then there are those popular series like Girlfriends, Sex and the City, even Friends about a group of "single" friends searching for a relationship. As a (then) single viewer part of me wanted feel empowered because I could relate to them, but soon the other part of me felt left behind as they entered into coupledom and slowly began to drift apart. Is that what happens to a group of friends after they each meet "the one," they are no longer tight? Does the weekly brunch with cocktails turn into occasional texts and instant messaging? (Future post)

Even if you are not a huge fan of television you still can not escape the hype. Walk into any books store and shelves are over flowing with self help books on being single and A)coping with being single (as though it is a disease), B)finding a mate, C)preparing for a mate, D) getting over losing a mate, E)pleasing a mate... There are FEW really good books about being single and just being. I'm actually working on a detailed review for one of those books so look out for that post!

The internet is worse! The lucrative business of matchmaking and hooking-up has been booming over the past decade. Singles across the nation invest hundreds in dating sites and other social networks in hopes of finding the one. It's okay to look is a popular tagline urging singles to jump on in there and find "the one"!

We live in a society where we are led to believe that if you are single you must be looking or just got out of a relationship and will be looking soon. Even if you are clearly single and happy people scrutinize your status with several assumptions; she has loads of baggage, can't keep a man, commitment-phobe, workaholic etc. As a result of the scrutiny and societal presumptions, many people dart into relationships with the belief that being single requires them to look for a mate. This is the assumed behavioral norm of singles.

According to societal standards, no matter how successful, accomplished, wealthy, spiritually fulfilled, strong your friendships and family ties- if you are single that means nothing you are still incomplete without a mate and if you have not found one (after a certain amount of time) something is wrong with you.* I am going to be honest and this is pure speculation, Oprah is probably with Stedman (or better yet chooses to be associated with Stedman) because she got tired of people obsessing over her romantic life.

I am not saying that there isn't anything wrong with being single and actively looking, I am only trying to emphasize that if you are single you do not HAVE to be looking.

Despite being heavily stigmatized, being single is not a disease and should not be seen as an obstacle or a burden so I urge you not to perceive it that way. "I need a man"... "I gotta find me a man"... "Where is my future husband?"

To look or not to look, the decision is yours and truly own it, do not let societal messages pressure you to have a relationship, or fear being alone or any fear for that matter. Do not allow yourself to believe that you are single because something is wrong with you and a 300pg catch-him-guide is going to be the answer to your prayers.

Whatever decision you make, make that decision from a positive place. If you are not making it from a positive place then take time to rethink it, because if the decision is not coming from a positive place the path will not lead you to a positive place.


*inspired by the book Singled Out (review coming soon)


Thoughts? Comments?


6 comments:

(fŭng'kē) [blak] [chik] said...

It's funny, you'd think being single was a disease! What I also don't understand is who are the ppl paying money for these books? Most of the time the ppl writing these books and claiming to be dating experts are usually single. That's the irony of it all.

2Whitty said...

There are loads of people purchasing these dating and relationship advice books. My issue is that they buy the books aimlessly, without researching the author. Joe Shmo up the street could be writing the book with his set of "rules of engagement" for dating and ppl are purchasing it and committing to those "rules." But who is this dude? What does he know? Why are you following these rules? No wonder the dating scene is such a hot mess! Half of the singles are following a "90 day rule" the other half are trying to be a "B*tch" because apparently men love them! LOL It is crazy!

O. L. W. said...

Im all about the single season. You can learn more about yourself than you could have ever imagined. It's a beautiful space, not one to fear. It does take some time getting used too, it has it's ups and downs. But once you're in the groove, with each day you'll be more open, ready, and prepared to recieve him/her.


Why rush?


Hey, my hands are clapping to the beat...

Lilly P. said...

I agree. I was hesitant to write about singleness because of the perceptions of society that you summed up pretty nicely. Being single and happy is a beautiful place. It's a period of self-discovery that few are blessed to actually revel in. It allows you to be present. Much of being in a relationship in our society forces you to think forward, be anxious about the future, anticipate, anticipate, anticipate. When you choose singleness, it allows you to reject this state of mind to live in what is now. This moment. And work on improving/discovering/loving yourself today and not tomorrow.

Certified Diva aka Chivonne said...

@Lily P. Thank you for commenting. I particularly like how you described the mode of thinking as "forward." I couldn't put my finger on the word I wanted to use to describe that phenomena, a word like "stages" kept coming to mind but that would have done it little justice. It is as you stated "forward" thinking, so anxious to get to WHAT's NEXT that it is easy to take for granted WHAT's NOW! Great commentary everyone please keep it coming, And thank you!

Dr. Phoenix said...

Amen to the forward thinking. Having been in a relationship for a little while now, these days, the pressure is more from outside of the relationship than the inside. My man and I are cool with where we are but others are asking "So what's up with y'all? You getting married soon?" Not only is our society very focused on not being single and the quest for lack of singledom, but even when you get in a relationship--you're always striving towards something else. And we wonder why our country has such a high divorce rate--cause we're rushing to get to the next step without having spent enough time in the one before it. Relationships can grow up without necessarily growing forward at the same pace(hope that makes sense), especially when we're still under 30. While I don't want to date for 8 years, I don't want to be dating for one, wondering what the next step is and I still don't REALLY know the guy.