Many of you have been following my posts about my Season of Singleness, which officially ended on December 31, although I’m definitely not rushing into anything serious right now. One of my good friends from the justice movement, Beth Trimarco, was inspired enough by the series to write her own observations about what is GREAT about being single as a source of joyous reflection for all of us who are single, whether by choice or not. And she does not spare her candid observations about what seems potentially UNfun about partnered life. ENJOY this piece by Beth! And I promise to do a final installment myself by the end of the week. And for those of you who know me as a pastor and are shocked by the curse words and sex references below, please know that I thought this piece was really fun. 🙂 And if you have a perfect married life with lots of sex and no chores, tell your married friends about it.
I shit. It stinks. And I get to leave the bathroom door open when I do it. That’s just one of the benefits of being a single gal in my 40’s. At every twist and turn in American culture: from the media to the workplace to our communities, single women hear messages designed to make us feel less than everyone else. But I am here to celebrate being single and invite you to join me.
Firstly, there’s sex. Unlike my coupled friends, I actually have it. My friends in long-term relationships all seem to have an endless list of “chores” to do regarding their households. Empirical evidence shows time and again that when people decide to cohabitate, their chores exponentially grow. By the end of a day full of laundry, rearranging the furniture, toilet scrubbing, and cat food making, no one has the energy for sex.
In contrast as a solo habitator, my dishes don’t get done for a week, and I don’t care. I go out to eat; I have friend dates; I have date dates; and sometimes, I have sex with a woman I’m dating.
Secondly, there’s money. Almost all of my coupled friends have disparate incomes. One partner makes like $25-50K more than the other partner. The low-earner feels powerless, like they can’t keep up, and in a constant state of having to put constraints on the relationship. The high-earner feels guilty for having too much power, resentful that they foot more of the bills, and in a constant state of pretending like it doesn’t bother them that the couple can’t do more. This dynamic plays out through terrible power dynamics and people feeling bad about themselves.
In contrast, I have a middle class income which no one tells me how to spend. Sure, I work at a nonprofit and will likely be living under a bridge, eating cat food in my retirement (and not the homemade kind.) But right now, I have total authority over my funds, and I don’t have to be in comparison with somebody else. I can either afford something, or I can’t.
Lastly, there’s freedom. And friends. When I try to make a plan with a friend who’s in a couple, they have to either ask their partner’s permission, or they drag their partner along. Coupled people act like they have an overzealous mom at home overseeing their schedules who also need to chaperone on friend dates.
In contrast, I want quality one-on-one time with friends to have coffee, go out to dinner, go on hikes, or just visit. As a single gal, I have total freedom over my schedule. I do what I want, go where I want, and never have to compromise how I spend my time.
I’m sure you’re saying, “Yeah, that sounds great, but what about loneliness; solo holidays; no family; the lack of security of a double income; and not having someone who always has your back?” Okay, I hear you, and yeah – I’m sure I’ll meet someone special someday and trade it all in for a life of chores.
But I ask you, when was the last time you thought about the positives of single life? It’s time for single women to start enjoying our singleness instead of bemoaning it. And through that enjoyment, there’s power. We have so few role models for this kind of powerful woman, so it makes sense that we all walk around hating ourselves and wondering what’s wrong with us that we are still single. I say “STOP!” Every minute not spent sitting in that power is a minute we deny ourselves the joy of freedom. And the joy of spending time with some amazing people: ourselves.