Single and in no need of rescueComment on this story
London - When I think of one of my best friends, the word that springs to mind instantly is “amazing”.
She’s a celebrity and travel journalist, top of her field and her life is extraordinary. She’s always off skiing the Alps or trekking with gorillas in Rwanda or prancing about the planet doing something.
When she’s not being Lara Croft, she’s interviewing A-list celebrities or travelling to the world’s most stunning resorts for free.
She’s got her own flat, is slim, fit, gorgeous, intelligent, funny and sexy as hell. She has tons of friends, a family who adore her and doesn’t lack male attention. Not exactly someone you’d feel sorry for, is she?
But people do. All those achievements and all everyone can focus on is the fact that she’s single and doesn’t have babies.
Why as a society do we automatically think “problem” when we think “single”?
Everyone is constantly problem-solving my friend’s life.
“Stop being so fussy!”
“Ever thought of freezing your eggs?”
“Give up on men, have a baby on your own!”
She kindly and valiantly indulges them, but as someone who’s also career-oriented and been single for stages of my life, I know how frustrating and upsetting it is.
Why are single people thought of as charity cases? Why do we assume they need rescuing? Why do we think it’s okay to offer advice to our single friends when we wouldn’t dream of doing it to someone who’s married? Who decided finding a partner is the pinnacle of all achievements?
Contrary to popular belief, not all single people are desperate to be coupled up. They’re not desperate at all.
It’s incredibly galling (though well intended) when people whose lives you quite frankly do not envy, say “Oh Sweetie, come and spend the holidays with us. Don’t be all alone!”.
The single person is then supposed to reply: “Oh yes please! I’d love to come and sit in your kitchen, watching you spoon-feed the baby while your husband shuffles about in his dressing gown, selling me on his 52-year-old cousin who lives in a caravan and hasn’t had a job for 20 years but (here’s when the single person is supposed to burst into spontaneous applause) is single and wants to meet you! Hurrah!”
Meanwhile, you’ve already planned your holiday: five days in a five-star resort with another single friend spent lounging by the pool, drinking Mai Tais, reading and (who knows?) having a hot holiday fling.
I honestly don’t think most single women are doing a Bridget Jones and sobbing into their Chardonnay, eating tubs of ice-cream and looking at their iPhones.
Most single people I know are quietly getting on with it, creating lives that are possibly far more interesting and diverse than the ones they would have had if they’d taken the traditional husband-and-kids route.
I’m not suggesting single is better than married or that they’re even comparable because each offers things the other doesn’t.
But I do think it’s absolutely ridiculous that we look on high-achieving, happy single people with pity rather than admiration.
“Single” and “satisfied” aren’t mutually exclusive. – Daily Mail