Why is it that some guys assume that just because a woman is single, she must be looking for a date – with him?
I just got my fourth message from a guy asking about a woman he saw in some photos I posted on Facebook from SingularCity’s recent outing to an art museum.
“What’s her name?”
“Well, that’s not much information. Is she single?”
And when I didn’t respond, a few days later: “You never got back to me about Paula.”
Now normally, questions like these wouldn’t bug me that much, but I’ve had numerous debates with this guy over the definition of single. For him, being single means one thing: you are open (strike that) you are looking for a romantic partner — actively seeking a sexual and / or romantic connection. In my book, that doesn’t define what it means to be single. Just look at the success of all those married-and-looking-for-an-affair websites like Ashley Madison.
Yet, just because this woman attended a SingularCity event, this guy presumed that she was looking for love (not friendship, not recreation, not even the free ticket we gave to SingularCity members) and therefore, should be interested in meeting him. That’s why when he asked me, “Is she single?” I wanted ask him to be more specific, despite knowing what he meant was, “Is the woman in the photo interested in going out with me? Can you connect us?”
Instead I get: “Is she single?”
OK, after six years of being on my Singular magazine soap box and ranting (often in vain) about how important it is for single people to shed the derogatory stereotypes about what it means to be single, I do get a bit testy when I continue to hear people define single people in such a narrow way.
I have single friends who have never been married, who are divorced and widowed. Some are not dating at all and some date sporadically. Others are in long-term relationships, yet still maintain their own household, bank account, health insurance and 401K plans. And most of my single friends have a social life that isn’t limited to spending all of their time with a romantic partner. Bottom line, their interest in dating (or not) does not define their single status.
Still, it amazes me that despite singles being the majority of the population, so many of us sidestep calling ourselves “single” because we continue to have this “icky” idea that it means one thing: you’re looking for a date, and even worse, that you’re desperately seeking someone (almost anyone) so you won’t have to be single anymore.
Most of the single people I know have a lot more on their minds than that. They’re available to date, when and if they want to, but they’re not actively on the hunt. They’re too busy with their careers, furthering their educations, traveling, learning a new skill, having fun with sports and hobbies, redecorating their house – in other words, living life. They’ve learned to be comfortable in their singular skin, notwithstanding being programmed by our culture to believe that being single is bad / being coupled is good. They enjoy their independence, their freedom, their ability to chart their own course in life without having to make decisions in negotiation with someone else.
They join SingularCity and attend our activities and events because they enjoy meeting people, making friends, discovering destinations in their city in an environment that, while developed for single people, was not constructed to make them un-single. In fact, if you’re looking for a typical “singles event,” you won’t find it at SingularCity – not under my watch!
And oddly enough, the old adage that you’ll find someone when you’re not looking seems to be true because ironically, many of our former members are happily married now. And for the others, they’re still just fine being single. But as for my Facebook friend — sorry, just because she’s single doesn’t mean she wants to hook up with you.