Call them unmarried or call them single, issue a press release, make a special week about it, but at the end of the day, single people still get screwed.
Last week was Unmarried and Single Americans Week, a “celebration” that was started back in the 1980s by a singles organization in Ohio, was handed off to the Singles Press Association, got a much needed boost from the advocacy group Unmarried America and additional muscle from the U.S. Census Bureau which now puts out an annual press release about it with links to current national statistics about living single in America.
Being the recipient of continual information about singles, my inbox filled up fast with links to stories like “10 Ways to Celebrate Being Single,” “15 Reasons Why Being Single Is Better,” “How to Enjoy Being Single” and such. There was one single writer with a blog titled, “Do We Really Need National Singles Week?” (The conclusion was that being single shouldn’t be a big deal, so why all the hoopla?)
But in our offices at Singular magazine? Nothing. Why? Well, besides it being “singles week” all year long around here, Unmarried and Single Americans Week reminds me of the problem: relationship status shouldn’t be something that needs a special week in the first place — maybe not even a special magazine.
It shouldn’t matter whether you’re dating, not dating, married, widowed, divorced, cohabitating or not interested in a romantic relationship at all. Your relationship status should not be something that others use to determine, in advance of knowing you, who you are and what you’re about. And certainly being single is not something that should relegate you to any kind of second-class status by the populace at large.
Unmarried and Single Americans Week is supposed to remind everyone that it’s okay to be single, even though if you’re not legally married, you’re missing out on a whole slew of perks and benefits that married people get by virtue of having signed a marriage contract with the State. And a singles week will likely not do a whole lot to keep your married friends from finding a way to let you know that you’re not quite as socially successful and mature as they are.
It’s also very likely that no matter how outstanding and noble your achievements, if you remain single and, even worse, never marry ever at all, it will be seen as a fatal flaw that casts a shadow over all of your other achievements. I don’t like it. I think it’s ridiculous, unjust and an outright travesty.
It might be “nice” that we have a National Unmarried and Single Americans Week, but what would really be nice is if our relationship status didn’t have such a big impact on how we are perceived by the government, influential institutions, our family and our friends.
Now that would be something to celebrate.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2013 Singular Communications, LLC.