Friday, June 10, 2011

congratulations, you melancholy fuck, you fucking made it.

Today I received an invitation to a bridal shower in honor of a good friend of mine. And that's fantastic -- she is a smart, sexy, funny woman who has found a wonderful man to share her life with, and I couldn't be happier for her.

But then, like the ants that keep coming back in my kitchen despite my repeated attempts to murder them with bleach, the word "single-ism" crawled all over my goodwill like those 20-times-their-body-weight-carrying sons of bitches on a forgotten cupcake. 

I couldn't shake the feeling: It seems unfair that individuals who have already found the loves of their lives also get rewarded with lavish showers, parties and tax breaks.

As a single, 28-year-old girl who is not -- and has never been -- engaged, my only option if I want a new sheet set, accent rug or non-stick frying pan is to buy it myself. I don't get to walk around Target with a scanner gun ticking expensive household items off my wish list. I don't get to invite friends over for mimosas and cheese cubes and be presented with gifts from said list. Instead I -- with my single income -- get to live in an apartment where people fuck hookers outside my bedroom window and I routinely find empty bottles of gin and women's earrings in the parking lot -- true story.

And I know this sounds bitter; it's not supposed to. I never thought I'd still be single at 28, but here I am, and it's really not as bad as I'd imagined; in fact, I like to think of it as an adventure. Is it possible that I'll still be single at 38, 48, 58? I suppose, and my thoughts and feelings about that possibility revise themselves every day. Regardless, I know I'll survive (and hey, I might even be awesome).

But I still cannot abide a society that not only punishes but seems to frown upon people who, through choice or circumstance, end up remaining single. Case in point: Ever notice that when discussing someone who's maybe a little "different" or possibly "crazy," one of the first things people say is, "Well, he/she has never been married," as though this indicates some sort of fucked-up personal failing? 

And this greater societal belief, that there's something inherently wrong with being single, has rubbed off on our traditions so that we reward people for finding love and companionship and ignore people who do what takes some real goddamn courage: Slog through life, deal with plodding day-to-day bullshit, solve problems, overcome sadness and insecurities, grieve, cry, scream, laugh and never stop trying, all on their own, with no one to rely on but themselves.

That's not to say that if the opportunity for love and a shared life presented itself, I wouldn't jump on it. (Another thing that takes some fucking balls: Loving again after you've been burned.) But in the meantime, I propose that once a year on -- what's today? -- June 10, single people should get wasted with all their single friends, pat each other on the back and say, "Congratulations, you melancholy fuck, you fucking made it."

And then the next day, we'll all get some goddamn coffee and go print off our friends' registries at Target.

(Note: I do not intend to make it sound as though I believe marriage is a solution to one's problems, and I would much rather be single than in a fucked-up relationship. I am simply tired of being made to feel that I've somehow failed because I'm not married.)


Anonymous said...

This is brilliant. -Eric Hosmer

ESELdesign said...

Right there with ya, 28 and still searching. I shouldn't feel guilty for being myself or wanting more than to just settle for someone! Needless to say, I dont think Id ever want a regular relationship, because the relationships around me are typical, boring, cheesy, or awful. Aww piss, now back to my daily BS :P

wiredwriter said...

Fuck yeah, fucking tell it! Great fucking post.

Anonymous said...

As to the ants, use a product called Terro, it has borax a natural pesticide that is taken back to the nest and kills all. It is toxic to pets and such, but much nicer than bleach.

Daniel E. said...

I, for one, take great solace in the fact that I have far more emotionally-damaging, cynicism-fueling, fucked-up personal failings than the fact that I am 31, incredibly single, and have never been anywhere near engaged. It's all about how you look at it, and it appears that you look at it the same way that I do: wish them well, mumble "fuck those fucksticks" under your breath, and go to Walmart to buy 100 thread-count sheets because you'll never be able to personally own anything truly worth having until it's time to celebrate a life-changing event that society deems worthy of a registry.


A.M. Lutz said...

@Hosmer: You'd better not tell Billy Butler about last night.

And thanks, you guys, for reading my cranky little rant. Sometimes I need to throw small fits in public, online forums to put things back in perspective. And the truth is this: I would much rather be single than in a boring, passive-aggressive, loveless or otherwise stupid relationship. I just get frustrated with what society still seems to expect out of women: starting a soul-sucking career, gettin' hitched and gettin' busy at baby-makin'. I've always been outside the status quo, and while I'm okay with that, sometimes it gets lonely out here.

JJSKCK said...

A few points:

-Marriage by one's mid-20s is largely a Midwestern phenomenon. A married 25-year-old is an anomaly in Seattle or Boston. Here, your parents' asshole friends say things like, "You're so pretty. Why don't you have a husband yet? You better hurry if you want kids." Seriously, GFY.

-Tax breaks don't start happening until you start pushing out kids.

-Kim and I aren't having kids.

-Showers are friggin' ridiculous. They made sense in the '50s when two 21-year-olds with no worldly possessions were finally venturing out from under their parents' wings, but even then the gifts were usually shitty washrags and a toilet brush, not a $400 cappucino machine and a flatscreen.

-When you feel those pangs of marriage, write down the first 10 married couples you can think of, then circle the ones whose relationships you envy. It's probably less than half. No need to settle for that jibberjabber.

A.M. Lutz said...

I am seriously making a list of married folks I know (not including family) right now. That's a good plan.

And maybe location is my problem. Most of my family is from rural Kansas, so y'know. To still be single after the age of 25 is rare. And the next person who asks me when/if I'm going to start having babies is getting punched in the face, especially if they imply that I should be feeling a sense of urgency about such things. I need to find a job in Seattle ASAP!

Oh, and shitty washrags and a toilet brush... at that I've giggled several times.

JJSKCK said...

It's hard to be single here, surrounded by people marryin' and birthin'. I'm glad I was born with enough awareness to know that I was nowhere near ready to be married in my 20s, and that I would have been one of those uncircled couples on the list if I settled for any of my ex-girlfriends.

As it stands, I married at 35. That may seem late to some, but it was just right for me. I had time to do the things I wanted/needed to do independently, but was also able to recognize when something came along that was way better than being on my own.

JJSKCK said...

Whoops. I was 34.