Hi. My name is Margie Clayman, and I am single.
Phew. That is a load off!
What do you mean you don’t care? According to all of these articles, you should really be judging me right now:
Singled Out, from Slate Magazine
All the Single Ladies, by Kate Bolick for The Atlantic
Do Single Women Face Spinster Stigma? ABC News
NOW do you feel judgmental?
Truthfully, it’s kind of weird being single in the online world. There seems to be an unspoken thought that if you are single AND you are doing social media, fitting the social media stuff in is probably a lot easier. You don’t have a spouse asking you to like, spend time with him or her. You don’t have kids that you complain about all of the time (which really is a social media activity, but still, you have to experience their shenanigans in real life). I mean, sure you might have a job that keeps you kind of busy, but other than that, your life is pretty meaningless. Thank goodness for Twitter!
None of this has ever really been said to me directly or in so many words, but it’s kind of been insinuated. Like, “Well, you have more time for that kind of stuff.” You know, those smug whispery sort of tweets and emails that kind of sneak in on ya when you least expect it. Factually, my 27 cats, keeping my hair in a tight bun, and wearing nothing but turtlenecks keeps me VERY busy, thank you.
Women, so far as I can tell, seem to be in a no-win situation when it comes to family status in the online world. I know a lot of women who have entire families going on and it comes as a complete shock because they so seldom talk about their home lives. I talked to one such woman who told me she likes to keep her kids on the down-low because there are stigmas about the “mommy.” By the same token, the most powerful clique of online women is probably the “mommy blogger” community. Kind of confusing, isn’t it?
Why so serious?
My question – why do we care if people are married or not? I mean, I’ll fully admit that if we were in a situation where the world’s population was at risk, like in Battlestar Galactica, and I had to marry and reproduce with Jamie Bamber’s Lee Adama just to keep our race going, I’d probably sacrifice my single life. But humans are hardly in that scenario (knock on wood). The population will still be over-stuffed whether or not I get married and have kids. I will still be content with my life if I live another day in the single lifestyle (so far I haven’t gotten any marriage proposals for today).
Is it possible that people are kind of weird about those of us who are single because there is a sense of freedom that is being missed? After all, and I’m just being honest here, no matter how much you love your spouse and kids, there are going to be times that they bug the heck out of you. There are going to be times (as I read so often) when the kid wakes you up at 4 AM the day that you have a huge meeting. There are days you want to stay in when the spouse wants to go out, and visey versa. Unless you suffer from multiple personality disorder or imaginary friend syndrome, you don’t experience these clashes as a single person. While companionship is often awesome, having the ability to choose what you want to do when you want to do it is kind of nice. Is the stigma borne out of some unspoken jealousy?
What about the men-folk?
I’ll be honest about something else aside from my marital status. I’ve been a woman my entire life. Therefore, I really have only experienced society’s pressures as, well, a woman. I know the pressures that exist to plan that dream wedding (just search for “wedding” on Pinterest). I know the pressures that exist to create your family, have your house with the white picket fence, and then complain about how bedraggled you feel after a long night with a sick kid. What I’ve never experienced is how society pressures men.
So far as I know, there is not a male counterpart to the “old maid.” I don’t think there is a “crazy cat guy” counter to the crazy cat lady stereotype. It also seems like the bachelor life is often lusted after by both men and women. But are there pressures to have a spouse if you are a guy? Is there a ticking biological clock filtered through societal pressures?
And if there is, why? What is this all about? Why are we STILL worried about what people do with their personal lives?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/artindeepkoma/54235257/ via Creative Commons