Part 1 – Packing
On May 1 of this past year, I was officially offered a position at a university in Washington, DC. One of the reasons for my excitement is that a large city like DC is a much friendlier locale for us singletons than a Southern suburb like Newport News, Virginia.
However, this pandemic is providing a twist. I’ve moved quite a few times for work, and each time, I’ve socialized heavily, which I’m even surprised by, being an introvert and all. Not this time. I have gotten to see friends in small groups, which is nice for an introvert, but I didn’t get to really immerse myself in seeing friends as much as I would have liked. Part of it was due to my summer teaching schedule and part of it was just that a lot of us are on different schedules.
This summer, I did keep busy with writing and teaching, not to mention all the details that go with moving, like finding a new place (which I did, half a mile from work!), changing my cable, Internet and electricity, and all that packing. As I write this, 99% of my apartment is in boxes, bags, and bubble wrap. And it’s unnerving – essentially, my whole life is in boxes. And due to the pandemic, going out is a crapshoot. I’m constantly washing my hands, taking my temperature, and escapes from the mess are rare because, well, I’m following the protocol and staying home. Which I do agree we should do.
But as I write this, I’m grateful for the time I have gotten to spend with friends. I went miniature golfing with one and had a few nice dinners and socially distanced walks with others. I’m just going through the grieving process. Change is hard. And while I love singlehood, moving solo presents an additional challenge. But as I sit here in what was my apartment, the eve before the move, I feel a mixture of emotions, most notably excitement and sadness. But I’m moving forward. And once I finished my perishable items, I began to enjoy some culinary delights (see pictured).
The phrase “’splaining” has entered the public lexicon lately as a way of defining how members of privileged groups “talk down” to marginalized groups. Mansplaining is the most common one. It’s defined as “the explanation of something by a man, typically to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.” I even found a really cool chart here that breaks it down. Ever since the tragedy involving George Floyd and subsequent protests, I’ve become more conscious of my own white privilege and have been researching ways I can be an ally. In this article a friend sent me, I learned about the term “whitesplaining,” which involves a white person trying to offer a “better insight/opinion” to that of a person of color.
In my book, How to be a Happy Bachelor, I coined the term procreamania, to refer to society’s obsession with procreation and the concept of “family.” Now, I’d like to add another, a term that I hope becomes a popular one: couplesplaining or marriedsplaining.
On the various single pages of which I’m a part, people vent about various aspects of singlehood. On the Single Serving Podcast page, many share about their dating horror stories or ask for dating advice. The Community of Single People page doesn’t have dating discussions, but people do share about slights and discriminations against single people. These two pages are safe zones, but when we exit those spaces, it becomes a different dynamic. I’ll start with an example from my experience.
I once posted a news report about how Vicki Larson argues that singles should receive the same benefits as married couples. Outside of my singles groups, I don’t typically get a ton of feedback or “likes” on those rare occasions when I post about these things. However, a married “friend,” decided to comment, “I’m not quite following. Married couples and families pay additional for benefits that cover additional parties” (I put “friend” in quotes because some of his previous condescending comments about singletons essentially caused me to not call him anymore, but since we go back to childhood, I still grant him a place on my Facebook page). That’s couplesplaining, mentioning how hard it is for married folks when singles try to advocate for themselves.
Fortunately, I responded with Bella’s article about marital privilege, as did she. Said “friend” had nothing to respond with.
Many singletons who aren’t “single at heart’ face challenges in their dating lives, so they may vent to their married/coupled friends. When they’re venting, they’re not looking for advice; they just want someone to listen. Marriage apparently doesn’t help everyone with their listening skills because some folks want to preach. “When I was dating my wife, yada yada…” or “Put yourself out there! Time’s a-wasting!” Coupled people need to learn to shut the f__ up about their “expertise” on dating. After all, some of them have been married so long they don’t know how dating works in the 21st century.
Oh, and if you’re a singleton and you mention your happiness around a married person, chances are, that married person might get uncomfortable. If he’s feeling really salty, he might talk about how good his marriage is, or how good marriage is in general. Bella (and I) would call that person a matrimaniac.
In a future post, I’ll write a bit more diplomatically about how coupled people can support singletons. But, for now, the moral of the story is: coupled folks, please shut the f___ up about our single lives.
My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.