“Are you Chazz?” “Are you Chazz?” I’ve never been asked that question so many times in one setting. “Chazz Pop” is my Facebook pseudonym so that my students don’t find me. If you’re a student of mine and you’re reading, it’s nothing personal; I just like to keep my private and professional lives separate. But yes, I’m known as Chazz on the Community of Single Page (CoSP) page, and it was fun meeting folks I’d only known by their discourse on the page.
I will admit, though, those lines too blur when it comes to my work in Singles Studies. Like most of my fellow Singles Studies people (whether they be academics, artists, advocates, “living the life” or a combination of two or more of those), we’re embodying singlehood and doing a damn good job at it. And it all came together the night of December 10, 2023 when Bella DePaulo, the pioneer behind Singles Studies and our pro-singlehood movement, came to Busboys and Poets (B&P) to read from new book, Single at Heart, and converse with Kris Marsh and Joan DelFattore, other revered figures in our movement.
To say I was ecstatic about this night was an understatement. Kris had spoken to my students at UDC about her new book, The Love Jones Cohort: Single and Living Alone in the Black Middle Class, which they had read. Joan and I met for coffee at Tryst earlier this year. Bella and I had worked on a few small projects, and she had spoken to my students a few years prior about her book, Singled Out, which they had also read. But meeting her in person would be, well, the best analogy I can write at the moment is that it would be like how many of my fellow Phishheads would get at the possibility of meeting Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, or Page McConnell Dead (I’m listening to a Phish show as I type this).
And it was just that. My good friend, Kevin, whom I met through CoSP, came to my apartment building. His drive from Wrightsville, Pennsylvania is an example of his devotion, as was that of Tanya coming down from Philadelphia. Special hats off, though, to Karen, who flew from Boston for the event.
Kevin and I enjoyed good conversation on the Metro to B&P. I anticipated a long line to get in, much like there usually is at Madison Square Garden an hour before a Phish show. But there wasn’t; our crowd filtered in gradually, though we did sell out and pack the place. We saw Tracey, a good friend and another member of our tribe, who was happily indulging in an appetizer at the bar. Christina followed, then Antionette. We had a few conversations going before we were let into the venue.
As I walked in and saw Bella, Joan, and Kris chatting in those chairs on stage, a la The View, I felt a bit of hesitancy. Should I go up? Is my sweater tucked in? Do I have something in my teeth? Those thoughts escaped once I met the night’s Holy Trinity. More folks piled in from the two Meetups I posted this to: Childfree Singles of the DMV and Asexuals and Aromantics of the DMV. A few people asked “Are you Craig?” I met Laura, Janel, Cenk, Armando, Thomas, Andrew, Stewart, Rolf, Lizzie, and a few others I can’t quite place. They had found their way through the Meetup site, and for those fleeting moments, I was the representative for happy singlehood (as I tend to be in a good number of my circles).
The show kicked off with Bella’s reading of excerpts from her book, all of which resonated with the Single Person at Heart who’s writing this. Then came the conversation between her, Joan, and Kris. And then the Q&A. The following themes/quotes stood out to me as I rewatched the event on YouTube:
There’s many more, but I don’t want to write forever. The post-reading dinner was fun. I felt like a tour guide, leading our group down a rainy U Street toward Shaw’s Tavern. I had the opportunity to converse with more CoSP folks, some of whom I’d met in person and others I only knew online: Janel, Alicia, Susan, Kelly. And there were those local folks from my Childfree Singles Meetup group. I enjoyed a nice, buttery Atlantic Salmon with rice and vegetables as I continued to talk singlehood with other folks.
I also met a dating coach who showed up, and I had to ask what she thought of the Single at Heart concept, as someone who tries to help people date “successfully” (I put that in quotes because success can mean different things to different people). She said, “I have many clients that need to be single.” And for those who want to “ride the relationship escalator,” enjoying one’s single life is a needed skill if they’re going to bring their authentic selves to the dating game – and to a possible relationship.
Kevin and I headed back to my place (with a quick stop at Insomnia Cookies on the way to the Metro), and once home, I was in a place of bliss. The world privileges coupledom (for now), and I often feel on the outside. But tonight, I was in my element. I do dream of a real-life Community of Single People. A town with Single at Heart people in it, where we can have laws and policies that favor singles. Maybe tonight was the first step.
Side note: I drive to New York twice a year to visit my Mom and brother. The anticipation of that trip stresses me out. When Kevin left, I empowered to just get in the car and head up. It’s interesting how that psychology works.
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.