I have to credit Joan DelFattore with the title. Within hours of Will Smith’s legendary slap of Chris Rock at the Oscars, memes and articles crowded up the Web, and I got to see arguments for Team Will/Jada, and others condemning the slap.
I’m more in the latter camp; while the joke about Jada’s alopecia was definitely in poor taste, there are better ways to react to being disrespected, and I immediately thought about my own Bella DePaulo-inspired crusade against singlism and matrimania, which came from a place of anger.
Many decry anger, but anger can be beneficial if used appropriately and constructively. Before I discovered Singles Studies, I was subject to microaggressive comments like “Why aren’t you married” and unsolicited dating advice and offers to be set up. And those types of interactions led me to make relationship decisions that weren’t healthy for me (like getting into them, for example).
By the time I was introduced to Bella’s work through her website, that anger had built me up, and reading her work helped to give it a name. Writing about such experiences helped to dilute the anger, as writing tends to do (journaling is another area of scholarship I’m looking to pursue). I wrote about comments I’d heard, microaggressions I’d received, reflections on material I’d read and shows/movies I’d watched, among other things. Around the time I started writing, I discovered Community of Single People, a group started by Bella to finally provide a space for singles that wasn’t focused around dating. My blog found an audience, and this regular writing practice eventually led to my publication of several articles and a book.
The point is there are better ways to address disrespect than walking up to someone and hitting them. There’s Tweeting (even Trump knew how to do that). Will Smith is an articulate person (after all, he is a performeer); he could have easily said something in his Oscar acceptance speech or to Chris privately. They’re adults! There have been instances where I’ve wanted to throw water in someone’s face or introduce them to the back of my hand when they made a singlist comment, but I don’t do it because that’s just not what an adult does.
But perhaps I’m being self-righteous. I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes of Jada and Will’s union. And I don’t know the history of Chris/Will/Jada. But what I do is that when I felt anger at singlism, I used writing, which is a tool that has way greater impact than that of the fist.
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.