So thanks to “the ‘Rona,” our classes have gone remote (as has just about every class at every institution of learning in the free world). So we did an online discussion of Chapter 4 of Happy Singlehood. This chapter discusses socializing as relates to singles. A number of students identified with Sarah, the woman who mentioned becoming anxious on Sundays, because that’s typically a “work-free day.” A couple had concerns as to how they might negotiate those feelings.
While I am a big advocate for singlehood and singles’ rights, I’m not naïve to the fact that singlehood definitely has its challenges. When your network seems to be coupled, it can be isolating, even if you’re a happy singleton. One student felt self-conscious during the solo dining exercise because of the couple nearby. A few others expressed anxiety about the big question: “how will I manage when I’m older?”
I’ve faced both of those issues, and there’s really no clear solution to it. The only advice I can really offer, even as an experienced singleton, is: 1) cultivate your social networks. My platonic friendships are my most meaningful. You never know when they can help you; and 2) learn to enjoy your own company. I love a good Netflix binge or a day spent reading and writing. I always have. A lot of married/coupled people don’t develop either of those skills, which is why many feel adrift when they become divorced/widowed.
The out-of-class assignment revolved around pro-single films. In preparation for their pop culture critique assignment, students watched films that advocated for a pro-single message. One person chose Sister Act, which I put on the list, thanks to Nicole (no romantic subplot between Whoopi Goldberg and the detective!). A couple of students chose Freedom Writers, in which Erin Gruwell sacrificed her marriage for her teaching (and it’s a good thing for the kids, and education in general, that she did!). Two chose How to be Single, a subversive in the rom-com genre. Girls Trip, a film that celebrates platonic friendship, showed up as well, as did Dolemite is My Name (my heart sunk when Dolemite first meet Lady Reed, as I thought it was going to be another romantic subplot, but it turned out their relationship was strictly platonic, and to my knowledge, Rudy Ray Moore never married, as it might have gotten in the way of his legacy).
One new film was introduced to me, How to Get Over a Breakup (thank you, Brandy, for that introduction). It’s a Spanish-language film about a woman who, after a breakup, begins blogging about singlehood (were the filmmakers spying on me?). I may need to watch this in my social distancing.
Whiplash also appeared. Michael liked that the character sacrificed his romance to focus on his drumming. While my first thought was that the film portrayed the breakup in a negative light, I can definitely identify with the choice to pursue an art over a relationship. J.K. Simmons’ seemingly sadistic bandleader, Miles Fletcher, got into Andrew, the young drummer’s head, and, while his methods are definitely outside the mainstream (and that’s putting it mildly), they do push Andrew to be the best drummer he possibly can be. I don’t have a Miles Fletcher to do that in my writing, but I do have good friends (Christina and Nicole, for example), who help me stay accountable. For me, romance would be a distraction from my craft.
Over the next couple of weeks, students will be working on their Popular Culture Critiques, so it’ll be a bit before the next class blog, but if I come with anything, y’all will hear about it. Stay safe and healthy, and don’t forget to do the five!
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.