For this week, students read Chapter 3, “Social Defiance,” of Elyakim’s book. After a quiz (“What ideas from Chapter 3 resonated with you?”) and freewrite (“How can the material in the chapter benefit married couples?”, we discussed how we might overcome some of the ways the system is set up to marginalize singles. We had an interesting discussion of “discrimination” vs. “marginalization” as relates to relationship status. Mary brought up the idea that couples exclude singles from their gathering is small potatoes compared to laws. Her quiz, in which she reacted to it, suggested a passion for wanting to change some of the laws. I’m looking forward to our assignment later in the semester where students advocate for changes to policies that favor the married.
Tammy brought up that having a positive attitude about yourself as a single can actually change people’s perceptions. I brought up how whenever someone asks whether I’m married, I say “I’m happily solo.” If you compare it with “no,” the former conveys a position of confidence in one’s singlehood in the face of a potential singlist/matrimaniacal comment. I’ll say “I’m happily solo,” or “I’m in a relationship with myself.” Most of the time, people appear to respect that, and I get a look of admiration or two. Like the “childfree by choice” response, these few words contain several implicit messages: 1) I’m solo (which I think sounds more powerful than “single”); 2) I’m happy that way; 3) I like me; and 4) I’m not looking to be set up. It’s empowering. (Part of this paragraph is taken from my upcoming book.)
We discussed “amatonormativity” in more detail, which is present in college students. Mary lamented about how a lot of the time, when someone couples up, that person forgets all about their friends. I remember having that same complaint about one of my best friends in high school when he got together with a girlfriend (now his wife). It’s a bummer, but one of the pieces of advice I give to readers when they couple up is not to abandon their single friends. If the romance dies, they will need their single friends to help them “reacclimate” to single life again.
However, while they’re coupled up, the best thing one can do is find new single friends, or, even better, to enjoy their own company. That’s the impetus behind the Solo Dining and Solo Cinema assignments. This was the week students went to the movies solo, and reactions were mixed. Some enjoyed the experience, feeling that it was just like being at home. A couple of students felt liberated that they didn’t have to wait for a partner/friend to see a movie they really wanted to see. A good realization, indeed! Two students saw The Photograph, a new romantic drama with Issa Rae, and they felt alone because the audience consisted primarily of couples. When (not if) I do this assignment in the future, I might advise against seeing a romance movie, particularly as I tear them down quite a bit in my work. It’s a learning curve for me as well.
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.