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Selfish or Spot On? The Single Person’s Registry July 21, 2009

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Food for Thought, Your Responses Requested!.
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This summer, the topic of weddings has come up repeatedly here at Onely, and, since much of our discussion has centered on the negative aspects of the matrimonial tradition, it seems appropriate to conclude the season on a more positive note and consider the possibility of reclaiming parts of the tradition for ourselves.

If one decides not to wed, is it appropriate to throw a wedding for oneself?

In one memorable episode of Sex and the City, Carrie famously did. And some time ago, Christina found a company that specializes in the single woman’s registry. At a separate site, Halfbakery.com (a site for half-baked ideas?), someone suggested that the newly divorced create a registry where friends can buy all the goods that the ex took.  

But SATC’s Carrie only registered for a single pair of shoes. And the Well-Heeled Society’s premise not only eliminates single men from the equation, but the blog seems immeasurably obsessed with shoes, which not only promotes the stereotype that all women are obsessed with fashion, but also ignores the supposedly “practical” reasons for setting up (wedding) registries in the first place. The “divorce registry” seems truly half-baked, considering that this would ostensibly mean that friends are buying two sets of gifts — one for the wedding, one for the divorce.

So maybe we have yet to perfect the anti-tradition. In fact, I’m kind of enamored of the idea – even if the New York Times called the it “tacky” and “greedy” (kudos to Feministing for defending us singles!).

But I’m curious what you think.

Copious readers, please weigh in: Would you ever throw a party to celebrate your “marriage” to yourself? What would you register for?

— L


1. Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles - July 21, 2009

That New York Times Q & A turned my stomach! How dare that pompous know-it-all tell that young woman she should lay out hundreds of dollars in cash for her friends but expect nothing in return except their company at the movies! Come on! I wanted to comment, but they force you to register, and I’m already registered at too many sites for my comfort.

Anyway, as I’ve blogged about before, I would like to see everyone have some kind of coming-of-age party similar to the quinceanera celebrated widely in the Hispanic community. This would include the kind of gift registry that is typical of weddings and would set up the young person for adult life. Weddings would then be ceremonial only–no big gifts expected. It’s probably a little late to introduce that to our generation, though!

So, what I would propose for those of us who are already well into our adult years is the self-commitment ceremony. The idea would be celebrate who we are and what we’ve accomplished as individuals as well as the friends and acquaintances we’ve cultivated over the years. It could be as big or as small, as formal or informal as desired and could include a ceremonial aspect or just be a party. Either way, gifts would be welcome, just like at a wedding. The caveat is that if you chose to get married later on, it would be kind of obnoxious to expect gifts twice! Although, people who have second and third weddings seem to have no problem accepting gifts…

onely - July 23, 2009

A coming-of-age party is a really great idea, Singletude — especially in that it would change the way we think about our cultural values. Thanks for pointing this out!

— L

Danny - September 8, 2011

A positive site for singles can be found here – This site was created to provide an additional service to the online singles / dating industry.
Site members are single and can range from 18 to over 80 years old. The majority of members here are in the area of 25 years or older.

This site serves as a singles database of singles, World Wide, even if you are part of other dating sites, you should opt out for at the least a free profile on the Singles Registrar – http://singlesregistrar.com – site, why not let the,serve as a base for your online singles profile.

Unlike most other online dating sites, which focus on casual dating and quick “hook-ups”, the Singles Registrar caters to the complete picture for a community of singles looking for something serious and long-lasting.

2. Alan - July 21, 2009

I don’t see any problem with a gift registry for singles.

As long as it’s accompanied by some sort of party…these events have a kind of quid pro quo, where the guests get food and give gifts in exchange.

onely - July 23, 2009

Party is definitely a must. I so love parties.

— L

3. Lauri - July 22, 2009

I don’t know how it could be anymore tacky or greedy than a wedding registry.

But I don’t really get the shoe thing. That does sound a little tacky and greedy. You don’t buy people shoes on their wedding registry. I would like a registry for all the stuff married people get for their showers/weddings that I can never afford to buy myself. I’m not into a whole lot of plates and kitchenware, but I’d love nice linens or wine glasses, etc.

This is why I think instead of wedding showers people should have house showers. When you buy a house or move into a new apartment you should be able to one shower. Or maybe on your 30th birthday or something like that. I mean whenever I trash wedding showers, my mother defends them as the time you get all the nice stuff you could never afford to buy yourself. My response is “so when do you get it if you don’t get married?” and mother’s response has been “everyone gets married” or “married people like nicer things than single people. Single people don’t need serving trays.” (yeah, she’s a little singlist). So there you have it, house showers. I’m actually surprised some of my friends didn’t have them when they bought houses. I guess they’re sticking to the idea that everyone gets married at some point.

onely - July 23, 2009

It’s interesting you say that about all the “nice stuff” that you’re supposed to get at a wedding… When I think about this question, I wonder what in the world I really still need? I have lived alone for the past nine years and haven’t waited to purchase those things that I really wanted.

But I live in a one-bedroom apartment, and I’m sure if I ever upgraded, I would want MORE. So maybe my friends will want to pitch in?

— L

4. Special K - July 22, 2009

I would never throw a wedding party for myself, but you better believe that when I complete my list, I am having a party…want to come?

onely - July 23, 2009

YES!!! 🙂

5. Jenn - July 22, 2009

I understand the annoyance with wedding registries and the expectations associated with them but the larger point is that wedding presents are a way to congratulate and celebrate a major event in people’s lives, just as we should celebrate other life events – I think Lauri’s point about house showers is a good one (if you’re single and buy a house, you certainly need a lot of the same stuff that shows up on wedding registries). It seems to me that the only real purpose of a wedding registry is so you can get stuff that matches (i.e., you pick what pattern you want for dishes or what kinds of pots), or to give ideas to people who don’t know what else to give you (personally, the only time I ever buy anything off a wedding registry is when I don’t know the couple very well and can’t think of anything else to give them), so I don’t see why we don’t all have gift registries in general. I think that’s actually the appeal of things like Amazon’s ‘wish list’ – I add stuff to that all the time and at Christmas or on my birthday, my relatives who don’t know what else to get me can go to that and know exactly what I want.

6. iol singal - July 23, 2009

I’ve thought about “Marrying myself” like a US lady did a few years ago, but feedback from family & friends was terrible, so I didn’t do it …. but I won’t rule it out …. but I wouldn’t have any gift registry ….

7. bobby - July 23, 2009

I have never been big on ceremonies, but as a guy who does care what my partner wants alone with respecting her feelings as well as point of view, I am always open minded about it. For myself, I have absolutely no yearning to celebrate any kind of relationship, even if it’s to and for myself being single. I do however celebrate life 🙂

8. autonomous - July 23, 2009

Really? A wedding or shower given by a single merely for the acquisition of stuff? I hate to toss out negatives because I usually am in agreement with the posts, but this seems just as silly and selfish as we are often accused of being. I love my yard-sale treasures and am rather proud of my commitment to re-use as much as possible. Another “marrieds are special” fallacy is that they are more responsible and use less, when truly, all the waste of these weddings and showers is harmful to the planet, from buying brand-new goods made across the seas down to the the wrapping paper and disposable utensils.
So, I guess my cranky answer is that I wouldn’t think this is a good idea for me.

onely - July 23, 2009

Autonomous — actually, I was wondering the same thing. How would throwing ourselves “showers” really work against, instead of with, our culture’s ideas about “tradition”? I think this might be a similar problem as the problem Onely has with gay marriage — making the institution available to gay people doesn’t solve the problem of systematic inequality.

At any rate, I think this is an excellent point, and I honestly don’t think I personally would have a shower for myself for precisely the reasons you list above. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be opposed to other singles throwing parties for themselves.

— L

autonomous - July 24, 2009

Thanks, L. I was afraid my comment would not go over well, nevertheless, I stand by it. While writing yesterday, I had in mind the so-called single-ring thingy we discussed some months ago. I think we’re much stronger when we simply live as opposed to having to justify to, keep up with or set ourselves apart from marrieds.

Isn’t a housewarming party a kind of relationship status-neutral inclusion of all your friends and family and a gift-giving event to boon? That to me is the way to affirm one’s passage to grown-up life and can be thrown whether one rents or owns their home.

onely - July 26, 2009

I mostly agree except I think that there is always the option of throwing showers for things we really need–and there can always be directions like you have to get the items from a green source *or* the showeree can request that people contribute money to their favorite cause. Right now progressive married couples “can” do this, but singles still “can’t”

9. autonomous - July 24, 2009

p.s.- have any of you seen this article?


sorry the link didn’t paste, but it’s easily found on alternet.org, sex & relationships section, under the lead “I Don’t Believe in Marriage…” it is right in line with this conversation.

onely - July 25, 2009

THANK YOU for the link. This is excellent — and similar, I think, to what prompted Therese over at The Unmarried Estate blog to get married: http://unmarriedestate.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/an-unlikely-bride/

— L

10. Singlutionary - July 25, 2009

I bought a house two years ago and have been too overwhelemed by it since then to have a housewarming party. When I moved in, I didn’t have any furniture. I could have used donations for paint, used furniture, pots and pans, beds. I have all that stuff now and finally feel organized enough to throw a party.

I know that TRADITIONALLY, the bride’s parents (ahem, father) pays for the wedding. But, lately, it is often the couple themselves which pay for things. So, since you’re not shelling out 30k on a wedding, you can count that as savings. Although I guess it would only be 15k since here are TWO people involved in the process.

When I was 18 and had nothing nice or hardly even functional in my house and buying a $35 toaster oven was a major obstacle, well, that is when it would have been nice to have a shower of sorts. Maybe we should celebrate people when they move out on their own for the first time.

When people move out on their own for the first time they a) have no stuff b) are typically young and might not even realize the things they need (broom, windex, toilet paper, etc) c) typically their entire peer group is moving out at about the same time.

For people who go to college and live in a dorm, I think it would be delayed. This would be a celebration/shower for when folks move into an unfurnished apartment for the first time. This is a great time for the larger community to come together and honor the person moving into adulthood. Right now it seems to me that kids have a hard time growing up. Maybe a sort of ritual and acknowledgement from their community would help.

In the past, married couples went from their parent’s homes to a home together which is why its traditional to give home goods.

Anyways, how would we start a “moving out” ceremony/tradition? I guess that if you know someone who is moving out, you could offer to coordinate the party for them.

I am going to go and propose this to my single friend. She is 30 and still lives with her parents. I wonder, if this kind of ceremony were a part of our culture, of she would have felt supported in moving out sooner.

onely - July 25, 2009

Oh, I really like this idea, Singlutionary!

— L

11. Sixty and Single in Seattle - July 26, 2009

I’m 60, and I feel like I have a coming-of-age party every year. I call it a birthday party! I don’t want presents; really, aren’t we all pretty glutted by now on stuff? But my tradition is birthday questions, where each guest asks me some important question, and everyone listens while I ponder aloud on my own glorious maturity. For example, What do you see in yourself today that you could never have imagined at 35?
As for moving in/out/on parties, nothing’s better than just gathering your friends to give you a hand and pick up the pizza.

onely - July 26, 2009

I love the idea of receiving important questions instead of presents!

12. More on Marriage… « Onely: Single and Happy - July 27, 2009

[…] week, we solicited your thoughts on whether it’s tacky or tasteful to throw a party for oneself and register for gifts. We got a wide variety of responses, and our […]

13. Felicia Coley - December 5, 2009

As the founder of The Well-Heeled Society, you clearly did not visit the gift registry, instead making your assumption about women’s obsession with fashion from the blog. The promoting the stereotype that all women are obsessed with fashion is farthest from the truth. Shoes are merely a metaphor for life, as stated in the mantra clearly printed at the top of the sidebar.

Being a writer, my angle comes from a single gal’s view from her stilettos. So my response to your comment about my registry eliminating single men from the equation is the stage is clear for any man to create a registry for single men to do the same.

I invite you to create a gift registry, which gives you the freedom to celebrate beyond “practical” reasons for setting up registries: overcoming illness, publishing your book, and even letting go of a toxic relationship.

As the landing page of the gift registry states, we single women have personal milestones that are limitless-

Much like the view from your five-inch stilettos.

14. Onely Hearts Valentine’s Day « Onely: Single and Happy - February 14, 2012

[…] personal to political to dorky: Not alone. Equal pay. All families. Single mom. Single dad. Stop showers. Who’s selfish? Super solo. One fun. Not looking. Live alone. Cohabitate. Love too. Myth […]

15. Unknown from NY - October 11, 2016

I think that if your in your mid 30’s never been married amd have no children it is perfectly acceptable to have a housewarming party with a gift registry for all the damn wedding and baby pressents you have bought your friends!

SNYCH - January 29, 2022

ABSOLUTELY & well said!!



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