Single Shaming – My Response to the Grazia Article
Last week, in my post about the ‘Tinder fat suit’ video, I mentioned that two readers had recently contacted me, both asking my opinion on something. The first was the video, the second was an article on ‘Single Shaming’ in the British magazine Grazia.
I’ve always been a big fan of Grazia. I think the articles are well-written and thought-provoking, and so I wasn’t upset to part with £2 to find out what the blog reader was talking about.
The article in question was called ‘Stop Single Shaming Me!’ and written by Dolly Alderton.
I have to admit, I read it with mixed feelings.
Regular readers will know I frequently write positively about single life here on the blog. I love the opportunities which being single has given me, and I by no means dwell on my current single status. One of the things I love about writing 30 Dates, is that hopefully it has become a haven for other singles. Somewhere they can reassure themselves,
1) That they are not alone.
2) That being single isn’t a disease, requiring a cure.
Dolly’s article is equally positive about single life. However there was one distinct difference – Dolly appears to actively want to remain single.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with that at all – she describes her ‘natural state’ as being on her own, and explains that she is not actively seeking a relationship. However it seemed to have affected the way she interpreted certain gestures. As a result, when her article opens with a story about a friend suggesting she’d saved a spot for a potential plus one at her approaching wedding, Dolly takes this as an affront.
I have to admit, that’s not something I would ever see as single shaming. Yes, I’m single, and yes, I’m happy. And as I’ve explained time and time again, I’d much rather be on my own than with the wrong person. However I do still believe the right person is out there, and if my best friends want to save plus-one spaces for me at the upcoming weddings (as I know two have for next year), I don’t see that as an affront. I see it as optimism. My friends know I won’t be single forever. As do I. They’re not saying having a plus one is better – they’re just showing they want to be accommodating, if I end up being in situation where I need a plus one! Because they’re my friends.
That said, there was a great deal of Dolly’s article which I did agree with.
Harping back to the interview I did a couple of weeks ago, where the journalist suggested I was making excuses for being single (as if it’s something which requires a reason), I don’t like the way being single opens you up to people discussing your fertility and private life! As Dolly explains, ‘while it would be completely inappropriate for me to do appraisals of my friends’ relationships when you’re a single woman, your life is fair game for commentary and analysis.” She also quotes Jennifer Aniston’s recent frustrations that a woman’s success appears to be measured in her ability to procreate.
Dolly echoes my own annoyance that non-single people assume there has to be a reason why you’re single. (Beyond to the very obvious answer – you haven’t met someone you want to shed your single status for!). And I appreciate her frustration that society seems to see being single as a waiting game, particularly for women. As she explains rather accurately “It seems to me that so much of a woman’s life is still meant to be about waiting for someone to jump start it. Waiting for a right swipe on Tinder, waiting for a man to ask for her number, waiting for a key, a ring, a baby.”
I love the imagery of the jump start. As a happily single woman, like Dolly, I’m currently focused on living my life fully in the fast lane, not broken down on the hard shoulder. And if the right man wants to come along for a ride (not a euphemism! 😛 ) then he’s more than welcome to join me!
So, yes, I’m single. And yes, I would like a relationship at some point. But that doesn’t mean I’m unhappy or that I’m living my life in the shadows.
Whilst I don’t like the way Dolly’s article started, I love the way it ended –
“No pity needed here, pal. I am single – and if you’ll excuse my immodesty – I am sort of nailing it!”
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx