Who Matters? A Guest Post by THE SPECIAL K TREATMENT May 4, 2009Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers.
Tags: discrimination against singles, doing something right to find a husband, guest blog, singles bar scene, some people matter more than others, special k treatment
Onely likes guest posts by other writers who think about singles’ issues. The views expressed in our guest posts may or may not reflect Onely’s views, but we are always interested to hear from other singles advocates. Today’s post is by Special K, who we previously profiled in our Some Like It Single series. Special K is an “over thirty, single, psychologist in need of a balanced breakfast” who in the below post ponders why singles “matter” less than non-singles, how some singles respond to this stigma, and what to do about it.
In general, in American society, single people matter less than those who are married, who matter less than those with are married with children, who matter less than those who are married with children and own property. Communities do exist where this is not the case: New York City, universities perhaps, Miami Beach. But for the most part, there is a pecking order of how much space is occupied equals social power.
“She must have done something right to get a husband” my co-worker (who happens to be a therapist even!) blurted out, when referring to an emotionally disturbed woman. “WHAT? That’s Crap!” I retorted out loud, and called him our on the fallacy of logic here. . . so she is automatically given some credit because she married? What about the man’s role in all of this? What about the fact that it was a very destructive union?
He responded by saying “didn’t mean to touch a nerve.” And that is what got me thinking here… We don’t go around giving credit to people who stay single, and in fact, if we did, perhaps our divorce rate would NOT be so high… Let’s save the argument for another time about why this occurs and how we as a society should respond to it.
The focus today is on how this unspoken system stimulates singles to obtain artificial connections. Let me be clear here: we single bloggers are not necessarily anti-relationship/marriage/partnership. I am open to the notion of being married. Of having children. At the same time, I fight against the presumption that something is more flawed about my personality/behavior compared to married people (we all have flaws, but I think it is often assumed single people have more flaws).
Human beings are meant to be in social relationships. It is in our nature to create and sustain affiliations. To feel as if we matter. As if we belong. And thus, our relationships play a vital role in our well-being. When we are in constant defense (there’s nothing wrong with me) or resignation (what is wrong with me?), behaviors crop up that impede establishing thriving connections. Instead of being known, a lot of single people settle for being noticed. We want to get noticed, in order to prove our mattering. When we don’t feel as if we matter to society, we engage in behaviors that often deprive us of the very thing we want: connection.
Single people groan about the bar scene, but the notice-me trap festers there. A woman often only feels good/successful/attractive if a man buys her a drink. The man feels the same way if he can score with a woman of his choice. I must matter because he/she responded to me with a mediocre glass of cab. This is a social pattern rampant in erroneous thinking…being noticed is more about others rather than YOU…the social drink is often more about his mood, who he came with that night, the lighting in the room, the other women in the room, and a variety of other external influences.
For the most part, being noticed doesn’t provide lasting sense of purpose at all. We want to be seen. To be known. My hunch is that when we start pointing out all the ways singles as a group contribute to society, the less we’ll rely on these immature crutches to defend or prove ourselves.
Mattering…how do singles matter less than others?
PS. Onely here. I would also like to ask if anyone has noticed singles engaging in other self-defeating patterns of behavior as a result of being “told” they matter less than other people. This is similar, though not as detrimental, as for example minority children doing poorly in school because they’ve been “told” that they are expected to do poorly in school, or girls doing poorly in math because they’ve been given hint after hint from society that girls are not good in math. -CC
PPS. Also, I am so glad that Special K’s coworker is not my therapist. I say this because of his “I didn’t mean to hit a nerve” comment. That is a passive-aggressive response disguised as an apology. Really it’s saying that Special K is the one with the problem because she *has* that nerve exposed in the first place. That is what I think. –CC