"We need to find you a man!"
This phrase isn't music to my ears, yet it is something I hear all the time. Whether people are aware of it or not, they are single shaming me with that phrase.
Now, if you are reading this and thinking, what is "single shaming," then you clearly are in a relationship.
Single shaming comes from the thought that if people follow the designated path and get married, they will be much happier in life. "Single Shamers" as they are called, make single people feel that they need to be in a relationship to be happy. We as single people feel that the "shamers"are judging us because we choose to live our lives outside the norm.
Therefore, single people then feel automatic shame. We begin to question ourselves...Am I not worthy? Is something wrong with me? We then lose confidence and doubt ourselves, and start to focus on our flaws.
Well, I'm calling bullshit.
Us single people aren't spending our days and nights in clubs drinking and dancing the night away. (Well, some possibly are...) But, we have jobs. We have lives outside of being single. Being single doesn't define who we are, but that's all people hear. SINGLE. Then, all of a sudden, before you know what happened, you are listening to how so and so has the perfect man for you and they are already planning your wedding.
I used to tell people I was single and be met with "Good for you," or "You have your whole life ahead of you," but now, now I get quizzical looks and sympathy along with "Oh, you'll find someone," or "There's someone out there for you." Sometimes even a pat on the back or a hug! I've even been told, "You're not getting any younger.." and "You're biological clock is ticking..." Um, thanks. I'm well aware of how old I am...
I encounter single shaming daily...not on purpose, but it's still there. Whether it is being tossed in my face as I am the 3rd, 5th, or 7th wheel, when I see a cute couple working out together or walking down the street holding hands, I see it. I feel it. I even encounter it at work. Colleagues question why I still haven't settled down and even my middle school aged students question why I don't have a boyfriend.
I'll tell you a funny story...I was teaching one afternoon, and two of my male students, (13 years old, mind you), asked why I didn't have a boyfriend. I replied that I hadn't found someone I wanted to commit to. They gave me funny looks and one asked if I ever wanted children. "Of course I do...just not right now," I told him. His response? "You're not getting any younger...and your clock as they call it isn't slowing down. You need to find someone, and fast!" They started doing the math, my age, when I should marry, and have children. I was speechless.
I was getting single shamed by 13 year old boys. Wow. Thanks society.
I told my friends the story a few days later over dinner and drinks, and they laughed, but they too, gave me the look. The look said it all. They agreed with my students! They thought I should settle down and become a wife and mother because well, time is ticking.
Now let me say, many of my friends are in serious and committed relationships, whether it be through marriage, an engagement, or dating. I am happy, and occasionally jealous, that my friends have found amazing people to share their lives with and it gives me hope that one day I will too.
Don't get me wrong. I've had my fair share of boyfriends and relationships, yet thankfully realized that I didn't want to spend forever with any of them.
I'm the single friend...
...And yet, my friends still find the need to try and "find me a man." I have allowed them to try and set me up, yet many times I question if they know what I truly want. I love my friends dearly, but I'm fine being single. (Most of the time anyway...) I am enjoying my life, meeting new people, and watching as my friends navigate the uncharted waters of their relationships.
Yes, I want to find a good man who keeps me laughing and on my toes and have a healthy, strong, and committed relationship with him.
I'm just not there yet...and I won't appease others and settle for what they think is missing in my life.
I'm feisty. I'm sassy. I'm picky. I have an edge. But, I refuse to settle with someone because society tells me I have to. I love my friends, my life, my apartment, and my job. And when the right man comes along for me to add to my list, I will. He will add to my happiness...not be the root of it. And there is no shame in that.