Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"It seems to me to show an abominable sort of conceited independence, a most country-town indifference to decorum"

Recently I've read several articles on being, as Bridget Jones would call it, a singleton, most particularly in reference to eating out alone, traveling alone, and going to weddings alone. The consensus seems to be that in spite of all evidence that suggests things should be different--the sheer volume of single people, and their disposble income, for instance--individuals and businesses are rude to single people, treating them as diseased or mentally unfit, looking down on them as lesser citizens. The words of Miss Bingley in Pride and Prejudice that begin this entry are no less prevalent as a mindset today than they were then, which is a pity.
As a single lady for most of my life, I obviously object to the treatment some receive for this status, and can identify with the condescending or pitying behavior frequently put forth by friends in efforts to show they care. Fortunately, I've been blessed with friends and experiences that generally avoid some of the more painful possibilities. I would like a quality relationship, but my friends who know me well know that I have certain ways of doing things, and also that I do very well independently--really, I've made being on my own an art form and often relish in the comforts and convenience it brings.
With all of this in mind, I think I want to write some essays about being independent, perhaps reflective, sharing experiences, perhaps giving advice, but mostly treating singlehood as a perfectly normal state of being. I think that, having traveled alone quite a bit, I can offer some good tips to short-circuit problems people might encounter, women in particular. I think I can also offer some help to people who genuinely aren't comfortable being on their own; I've met many people who are like this, some of whom end up in one bad relationship after another just because they can't spend time by themselves, and don't know how, for whatever reason. I invariably find it sad; how awful to feel you must avoid hearing yourself think!
I don't know what kind of forum I'm thinking for this, or how much of it will pan out, but I'm going to put my best efforts into it. If anyone has read anything about being single, would you give me a head's up? I'd like to do some research.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if Mom has any observations about Aunt Elsie to share. It would have been neat if Aunt E. had written down thoughts on the single life.


Tudor Rose said...

Oh man, it took me years of hating myself for never having anyone, and then years of really bad unhealthy relationships before I figured out it is always better to be single than in a relationship that isn't working.

As for things to read, I would say try "Kiss My Tiara" by Susan Jane Gilman. While the book isn't entirely about being single, there are chapters and sections on it (and it's just a kick-ass book anyway).


Abs said...

I'll look into Gilman's book, thanks, Jill!
I have some sort of vague recollection of Aunt Elsie's travels on her own...did she keep a journal, I wonder? Or am I just remembering letters or postcards? She certainly was the prototype for the solo woman traveller. Hmm. Must check into this.

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