January 17, 2007
Living Single

Disclaimer: the following post is not meant to imply that I hate men or marriage, that I hope to remain single for the remainder of my natural life, or that I have anything against those who choose to marry, have children, or watch Lord of the Rings. Or those who have children while watching Lord of the Rings.

This single woman is not about to gripe about the relative affirmation that came in the form of this article and a gazillion others like it after the census data were released. It may seem strange, but I consider this a validation for me and my 20- and 30-something group of closest girlfriends, all of whom are either single or divorced. Currently single women make up nearly half of the female population. We aren’t freaks, or at least it isn’t this particular issue that makes us so; we aren’t just an isolated DC phenomenon, a product of a transient environment and an overabundance of middling Hill candidates; we aren’t alone in the desire for companionship coupled with hesitation about committing before our time. And we aren't settling like some of our mothers or grandmothers might have felt they needed to.

Love it, Love it, LOVE IT.

What strikes me as most interesting is one network’s apparent need to provide examples of famous folk to make the story (or the social situation) a valid or believable one. Stars! They are so just like us! They shop for Camembert at Whole Foods and buy their toilet paper at Nordstrom and some of them are even – gasp – single! It’s the Not that there’s anything wrong with that and the Some of my friends are black and/or gay and/or bionic Syndrome all over again. Ugh.

Oprah has long served as the independent, single woman’s poster girl. She's classy and paired with a supportive man and autonomous and stylish and probably a kick-ass best friend (She and Gale so aren't gay. Not that there'd be anything wrong with that.) But has anyone noticed the other models of singledom news outlets have been trotting out for display? I won’t name any of them here, given that I actually respect these women and would hate to hurt their feelings as I’m pretty sure at least a million famous people read my corner of the Interweb, but please, can you not pick us a hottie? One who didn’t go to school with Laura Ingalls and who has made a movie, spearheaded a philanthropic effort, owned a company, or stood up for herself (or her country), within the past five years?

These latter women represent what most of us as small children feared would result from a life living unmarried past pubescence:

• They are workaholics. They seemingly have no real hobbies. Except for knitting, and not in the cool way, in the smells-like-mothballs way.
• It's not just that they're single. They're pretty much asexual. Asexual, and not in just a preference way, but in an absence-of-female-parts way.
• If you look really, really close, some of them have a third eye. In an extra-eye-kinda way.
• They like men’s clothes. On themselves. And they look like they wear n*de hose and nursing shoes to big events. (That last should be enough for all of you.)

News flash: Not all currently single women over the age of 25 share Gollum’s charming features or are polydactyl, people (and Oprah and Gale SO aren't gay)! We are charming and cute and loving and some of us even have breasts and cool hobbies like blogging and drinking and playing hide and seek with our cats.

(Then again, maybe Oprah should remain the only poster girl.)

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38 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Kris don't take this wrong, but I am glad you have breast's and cats. I too am aware of the latest census info that 51% of women now are reported to live alone.

Well if thats what you want, I am cool with it.

I personally prefer a different lifestyle.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being married sucked. Seriously. You are doing way better doing everything you're doing.

A boyfriend is much better behaved than a husband. Take it from your pal here in Chicago.

xo
K
www.downtownadventures.blogspot.com

Blogger honeykbee said...

How about one who went to school with Laura Ingalls, made a movie, spearheaded a philanthropic effort, owned a company, AND stood up for herself (or her country), within the past five years? That I'd like to see. Bet she doesn't have to share her pillows with a mouthbreather.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I'm relatively intelligent (which is not an invitation for people to prove me otherwise) but that graph a 1/4 the way down in the article made no sense. The only thing I did conlude was that there are more solo men than solo women. So, um, if living alone is a problem shouldn't the gender focus of the article be men instead of women???

Blogger Kris said...

WOD, I am glad you didn't end up with the boobs too! Hope the real message of my post got across; it sounds as if it may not have.

k, i'm sorry you had a bad experience. glad life is sunnier now avec beau.

hkb, i nearly piddled at mouthbreather. so true! of course, we women never breathe with mouths open and/or drool . . . ;)

pj, i think it actually shows that more men than women are married and living with their spouses. if you count solo as being widowed, divorced or never married, there are still more women than men (a higher percentage) falling into that category. i think. ;)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

say it sistah!

i've always felt kind of off since i didn't want to birth my own kids and didn't care that much if i ever got married. i'd maybe shack up in sin with someone but marriage? hmmm, not so convinced. i can barely decide what wine i like best, let alone what man i should spend the REST OF MY LIFE with.

choke.

what does it say about me that i love men's ties? that i have been known to wear them? should i call gale and oprah for a threesome?

;) sizz

Blogger spinsterwitch said...

I had the same reaction as you for several reasons. I recently ran a support group for single women and asked them who they'd had as positive single role models, there was a good deal of silence before anyone could think of any.

Blogger bandick said...

I like that this reflects "people over 15".

Census taker: "Are you married?"
Respondent: "No. No. I've chosen to focus on myself right now and to try to achieve my goals. Besides, my mom makes bitchin' pancakes and lets me play all the Wii I want after I do my chores."

I would be a little more interested in stats on the over 30 crowd.

Blogger Candace said...

Before I met the man who would become my husband, I was certain I wouldn't get married. No husband, definitely no children; perhaps I'd live with someone a la Oprah. Or not. Then I met Mr. Foot and suddenly I wanted to marry him. It was quite the odd thing, really. Imagine my surprise when I found myself pregnant and not having a breakdown over it! And then I had ANOTHER kid! On purpose!

I am certainly not in any way trying to say, "Oh, honey, when you meet the right man, blah blah blah." I was surprised at my total change of conviction, that's all I'm trying to say.

In some ways this feels like those stupid "Mommy wars" articles. Why do we even have to have these kinds of "studies"? Let's just all be happy with our choices, let's not judge each other, and the world would be a much nicer place in which to live.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I caved into the whole "social pressure" bit and married at 27. I got the hell out by 29.9 and celebrated my 30th birthday with a HOT, HOT, HOT date! :)

To each her own; if you're enjoying where you are in life then you're better off than those millions of couples who hate each other's guts but stay together to escape the stigma of living alone.

Anonymous kb said...

hahaha! "Ladies that is not proper attire for the members' lounge" ;0)

I think we single gals are FABULOUS!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hooray for Kris!

I'll tell ya' what - I love my boyfriend, but I REALLY loved living alone and being single. I loved being single so much that when I start to think of being locked down into a traditional marriage for eternity, I break out in hives. Literally.

Why is a woman who enjoys her independence so scary to some people? Is it because men know that 70% of the time they suck, and that we really don't need them?

Anonymous Jorge said...

For a brief moment, I thought you wrote me and my closet girlfriends.

Ok.
I'm done with that.

We exist as we are.
Nothing more, nothing less.
It's when we make a big deal out of everything that everything becomes a big deal.

Profound?
Yes.

Yes it is.

Blogger mist1 said...

I adore being single. It has done wonders for my sex life. Which, I think may be my hobby.

Blogger Egan said...

You live in D.C. and are single? Huh, this is news to me.

Oprah has been my role model ever since the "you get a car" episode. Oh wait, that's when I cancelled my TiVo Season Pass.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was blown away by the census data as well. I kept thinking that all my girlfriends were anomalies. Not so much!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For better or worse, women are less dependent on men or the institution of marriage..." Of course we're less dependent!

As we progress through this decade, this trend will become less and less of a "trend," and more and more of "the way things are!" The way things ought to be!

While many people find happiness in marriage, etc., there are so many of us who understand and appreciate that we don't have to "conform to the norm." If our careers are our driving forces - cool! If we've decided to focus a solid ten years on ourselves - sweet! If we just haven't met a person we can stand - perfect. Why is there a pressure to get married - especially when so many fail?

I agree with Candace and her likening this to a "Mommy wars".

grrrr.

Anonymous alissa said...

I never thought about actually having my children while watching Lord of the Rings... that's an idea!

Honestly, I'm going to miss living alone a little bit, but when I asked Evan if we could get married but keep separate apartments? He said no.

There is nothing wrong with being single! In fact, sometimes it is just out right fabulous.

By the way - still laughing at the mouthbreather comment!

Anonymous nabbalicious said...

It makes me beam with pride when I see that women are refusing to settle. I know I wish I hadn't settled for not terrible when I knew I could get great.

Eh, live and learn!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, Mama!

Hot damn, I love being single! :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen Kris!!

I think my ego inflated a bit while reading this!

Blogger Chantel said...

Can I get an Amen? I refuse to settle and yes this hurts sometimes and sometimes I know its the best thing I've ever done. What a better example to set for my daughter; never settling for less than what we deserve.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH MY GOSH! I totally play hide and go seek with my cat.

...to be honest, I'm kind of bummed that you do it too -- I thought Jackson was a hide-and-go-seek-prodigy cat.

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Anonymous gorillabuns said...

i'm truly confused by the post above, but then again, i've never claimed to be too smart.

in the immortal words of my mother, "men are a luxury, not a necessity." i truly began to believe this when i had to fix my first flat tire.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you have against polydactylites?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love being single except for one reason (that I can think of right now): I'm not asexual.

Shit.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

YAY Kris, you rock!!!!

Lady Diana was single and she was gorgeous and rich! There are others like her too.

Like you, I have breasts, hips, cool hobbies, a gorgeous cat, OK income and a very smart (ass) mouth. And some guys who ummmm are very fond of me.

Do I want to be married? Only if I'm in love with the guy, and I"m not. Have been divorced once and never ever want to go through that again.

Maybe we are single because the proportion of great guys to great women is not so good. There may be more ummm undesirable men out there than undesirable women.

It's about time that the world stopped blaming women, and started looking at what's wrong with the men.

For once.

*taking a bow*

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed reading the different reactions to the recent census/single's data. I agree with you! :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an awesome blog. I am so glad I stumbled onto it. While I am married, I have many friends who feel the same way you do. And I agree that single life was great, and there is nothing wrong with that. I look forward to reading more!!
http://memoirsofaimateswife.blogspot.com/

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Anonymous Neil said...

Who said marriage is so great anyway?

Blogger Wanderlusting said...

So true about your post...I may now be happily commited to a man and intend to be that way forever (God willing), I was also single for a really, really long time.

And that was a choice. I was picky, not willing to settle and in the end was having too much fun on my own...which is why a man came into the picture and screwed everything up!

I kid, I love being in love with a man that is everything I ever hoped for...but there will always be my single self and that;s something, that if I ever find myself alone again, that is worth enjoying.

I would rather spend my days alone and living my life my way than settle down with someone just for the sake of it. And I think most (at least I hope) single women out there feel the same way too.

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Blogger annie said...

How about columnist Maureen Dowd - would she make it into the single and fabulous category?

She's attractive, has been standing up for herself and her book, and doesn't wear menswear-inspired clothing or nurses' shoes.

Glad I found you through Blogher.

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Anonymous sammyc said...

THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY IN A WOMAN’S LIFE

What is the most important day in your life?
Hint: it’s not your wedding day, or the day you were born, or the day you gave birth.

What is your most important beauty secret?
Hint: it’s not your Angel Cheek Tint, or your Relastin Eye Silk, or even your Rimmel Powder Blush in Pink Rose.

What is your most important relationship?
Hint: it’s not with your husband, or with your child, or with your “I’ll-never-live-up-to-the-expectations-I-project-onto-myself-through-you” Mother.

Nope.

Your most important relationship is with a little girl you haven’t seen since you were eight (hint, she was eight also, and was looking at you in the mirror).
Your most important beauty secret is something you had back then but may have lost: a genuine, confident, show-your-teeth and sparkle-your-eyes smile.
And the most important day in your life?
Hint: it’s really the only day you can do anything about. The most important day in any woman’s life is

TODAY!

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