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Isn’t it sad that some people are surprised that you can be happily single? April 6, 2010

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Secret Lives of the Happily Single, single and happy.
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Kudos to Contented Single, who (inadvertently) titled this post thanks to her comment at the end of this discussion about whether or not being Onely has made me clueless. In answer to her question, YES I DO think it’s sad that some people are surprised that you (we) can be happily single! In fact, running this blog has spoiled me; I’ve clearly forgotten how unusual the Onely mindset seems in the public’s eyes.

Having my friend Jenny in town last month reminded me of that. We don’t know each other all that well, and I offered to let her stay with me since our national annual conference was here in Louisville. I wasn’t sure how things would go, since we only ever see each other in academic contexts — and since I try to keep my academic life separate from this blog, she doesn’t know anything about Onely. She stayed with me for five days, and during that time, not only did she insist that my friend George was “in love” with me — she also kept mentioning how “happy” I seemed being single.

Her surprise was as great as mine! The second night she was in town, she told me how different I was from most of her single friends back home, who she described as strangely “resentful” when she got married last summer. And a couple nights later, after she met George and couldn’t help trying to pair us up — and I kept resisting her compulsion, she finally “admitted” that if I was really happy being single, then (she supposed) there wasn’t anything wrong with that.

I almost told her about Onely, but then I decided against it because I was just so fascinated by her surprise that I wanted to see if it would last through the whole visit. And it did. So when I saw her off, I felt pretty satisfied, knowing I’d made a good impression on her as a happily single person. I think she’ll carry it with her — I guess we need more Onelers to represent!

Copious Readers, have you had experiences like I had with Jenny, when someone expressed surprise by your happy-and-single status?

— Lisa

PS: Jenny also told me that she felt that after she got married and started wearing a wedding ring all the time, she’d noticed a big change in the way men treated her (less as an object). Made me think that I should start wearing a fake wedding ring on errands or when traveling — as a social experiment! If you have thoughts about this, please share. 🙂

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