Single File: Rough Spots
DEAR SUSAN: I've had it with being single. It's full of potholes that never get fixed, and I end up alone, crying myself to sleep many nights. What's with me? Is every unmarried woman hiding tears like me? -- From the "Single File" blog
DEAR BLOGGER: You'd think that a society with more than half its population unwed would rouse itself from daydreams of partnered paradise and fall into step with single-file reality. And in some ways, this is exactly what's occurred. Enormous revolutions have rocked the workplace, the family, even romance.
But women such as you, without a partner, are still bombarded with the same stale propaganda that blasted dear old Mom: Marriage and children are your reasons for living, so get out there and grab a man. On and on it drones, from hundreds of sources, in countless forms. You've internalized that party line, and you've got plenty of company. As I enter another decade on Planet Single, I'm more certain than ever that pressure to join the married mainstream is responsible for much of the unhappiness there. Just recognizing this can be a giant step forward, toward new strategies. I'm talking about changing your attitudes, because changing those around you is too much to ask; popular perception isn't known for quick shifts.
But the public's opinion, though a major one, isn't the only roadblock to unmarried contentment. Loneliness is a major mischief-maker. And a rigid "old maid" mindset can creep into your thinking now and then -- as well as shyness and defensiveness. Not to mention jealousy and bitterness. In this column, going forward, we are going to exorcise those hobgoblins, admitting they exist so that we can end their tyranny and you can get on with your life. You're going to find answers to questions you may have thought would never be answered, at least not in print. Stay tuned.
DEAR SUSAN: I'm sorry you can't tell some of your readers to just get over it or learn to live with it. -- From the "Single File" blog
DEAR BLOGGER: (Chuckle.) What is this "get over it" advice given out so freely and often? And it's not the single world to blame for that attitude. Why, in my nationwide survey researching single sexuality and relationships, that phrase was nowhere to be seen. How do people get over what is bothering them? Is loneliness like chickenpox, to be endured for a certain spate of days and then miraculously gotten rid of? Maybe this is a cranky day for me, but I don't like or understand the "get over it" mentality. It's devoid of any compassion. Even in a column devoted to the unmarried, as "Single File" is, there should be humanity, concern for our fellow man who seems to be in trouble. Get over it? How? How else than by seeking advice from an adviser, someone sympathetic? Get over it? The phrase merits a chuckle, perhaps, but nothing more.
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