Looking All Ways
Today's "Single File" column could be headlined "Looking Back," "Looking Ahead" or "Looking Within." Today's piece marks "Single File's" 40th year in newsprint, so all three apply. Because the column is inextricably bound to the lives of the unmarried in this country, this columnist sees its past, present and future as being tightly linked to them. As the climate of singleness changes, so does the tone of my writing; issues new to single people's awareness must find their place here, in this column. And so the past, present and future of the unmarried millions have become a huge portion of my own world, my thinking, my emotional life. "Single File" is a forum, yes, a sounding board, an emotional backboard for any and all single people, but I confess I am most gratified when this column mirrors the dignity and worth of their innermost feelings.
We've grown more spiritual, you and I. The unmarried are decisively rejecting the technology of sex -- counting conquests and reveling in soulless gymnastics -- as deeply unsatisfying. Casual sex is, for most of the unmarried world, a throwback to another time when thoughts of soulmating were upstaged by new freedoms. But even then, the term "swinging single" didn't represent the majority of the unmarried community. Far from it. My sacred plumb line into the unmarried hearts and minds of readers has allowed me a glimpse of their conflicts and ultimate sanity to stay with their instinctive values.
Born during the heat of sexual revolution, "Single File" has restored sexuality to its rightful place in the unmarried psyche. But even the years of painful trial and error had their value. They taught us to be more forgiving, more honest with ourselves, more appreciative of the significant people in our lives and more open to their loving wisdom. Single parents, especially, are tested in a zillion ways because of their multifaceted role as parent, head of household ("chairman of the board") and unmarried adult and because of all the demands those roles bring with them -- including not being apologetic for being unmarried.
When I was a widowed mom, there was no term for single parenthood. I knew I was no longer partnered, but how could I be single if I had my son, Scotty? For years, I fudged my answers on camp and job applications, unsure of how to describe (and explain) my unusual family. But today, single parents confidently raise their families with pride. Singleness is a choice for many, and they do their best as chairman of the board.
I toast you, the readers who keep this forum strong and flexible and relevant. God bless every one of you.
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