“No Fun Being One!”: Pop Culture, Scourge of the Onelys, Part 37.423x January 7, 2009Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, As If!, Heteronormativity, Just Saying., Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys, Singled Out.
Tags: 123greetings.com, hallmark, industry, matrimony, thank god i'm single, wedding cards, weddings
I’m back after two long weeks being busy with friends and family. During my many travels, I made a stop in St. Louis to participate in a good friend’s wedding. Every time I go to a wedding, I find myself enumerating the many reasons why I don’t want one of my own. I’ll post more about this later this week, but I first want to describe my experience looking for a wedding card to include with my gift for the wedding.
It was late Friday night, after the rehearsal dinner and a couple glasses of wine, and I stopped in at a Walgreen’s to find a card in a hurry. But as I looked through them, I found I couldn’t make a decision quite as fast as I’d hoped, because nearly every card contained a decidedly anti-Onely message, some version of either 1) Good riddance to the single life!, or 2) Cheers to the beginning of a “new” life!
The rhetoric of “new” when it comes to marriage really troubles us here at Onely because it suggests that everything a person does prior to marriage or couplehood doesn’t “matter,” which of course we all know isn’t true. When it comes to the marriage industry, couplehood trumps all else — which seems to us a sad worldview indeed.
My friend, for example, accomplished many notable things prior to getting hitched, and even prior to being coupled — she volunteered in high school to travel to an impoverished community in Mexico in order to learn the language and teach English. She and her best friend explored Europe for a month on their own after college. She learned how to shoot a gun as an intern for ATF. She worked with mentally ill adults as a social worker and helped them learn basic job skills so they could function on their own. She bought, furnished and decorated her first house in St. Louis before she ever met her fiancee. Above all, she established and developed many close and worthwhile friendships, including ours, over the course of many years.
So why the hell should her life tomorrow be considered “new” in any real sense? Okay, I guess they must mean all those gifts she’s getting, all the new silverware that will replace the old. But she’ll still live in the same house she bought before marriage, her new husband will live with her in said house, just as he did before he was her husband. She will continue to work as a legal secretary and go to law school part-time, as she has been doing for the last two years.
It took some time, but I’m happy to report that I was able to find one card that said nothing about beginning a “new” life or that denigrated the single life. So at least there is some hope to maintain and support a Onely mindset even within the marriage industry.
But we must remain vigilant – take a look at one of the first cards I found when browsing through 123greetings.com this evening to brainstorm for this post: No Fun Being One