Key Words: Singled Out

With Thanksgiving being next week, I know a lot of Bearkats are really looking forward to the holidays. We’ll break bread with relatives that we’re thankful to only see twice a year, eat astounding amounts of overly fattening food, and take a moment to consider all the blessings of the past year.

For many freshman, especially those who live a considerable distance away from Huntsville, it will be the first time they’ve seen their extended family since starting college.

I, for one, am not particularly looking forward to Turkey Day. I’m not dreading the strange food or the relatives who fell far, far away from the family tree. What makes me cringe, however, is the question that I know I will be assailed with over turkey:

“Why aren’t you married yet?”

It’s a question that I know I’ll be asked at least 6 or 7 times over dinner, if I’m lucky. I’ll hear it from everyone, from grandparents wanting great grandchildren to my younger cousins who have just recently or soon plan to get married themselves.

The biggest problem with this question are the assumptions it makes. It presumes that I plan to get married, and more offensively, implies that there is something wrong with not being married already.

It’s not just my family. If you’re single and 25, society starts treating you in much the same way I imagine they used to treat lepers. People legitimately think that there is something wrong with you if you are not actively seeking a mate.

You’re immediately assumed to either be someone trying to have sex with as many women as possible, or a gigantic loser who couldn’t get a date to save his life.

Either way, like our leprous brethren of yesteryear, we end up shunned.

The older you get, the worse the treatment becomes. As more and more of your friends enter the Twilight Zone that is holy matrimony, they start seeing you as the odd man out.

Married couples have married friends. They do things together, as couples. Single people, for whatever reason, are not allowed into their exclusive club.

We end up with awful labels like third wheels. I’m continually thankful that, as a man, no one will refer to me as being a spinster or a cat lady.

This demand that people get married is likely a source of a lot of societal problems. People end up getting married because they feel that it’s time, that they need to do it to feel like a whole person and to live up to everyone else’s expectations.

With a divorce rate over 50% in this country, perhaps we should consider that all this settling down is causing an upset.

So why am I writing this column?

Am I hoping deep down that some beautiful and ambitious young woman will read my plight in The Houstonian, be overtaken by my incredibly sexy author picture, and fall madly in love with me on the spot?

That’s a big negative.

The truth is, I am rather happy living the way I currently am, and it’s a lifestyle that I could not maintain if I was in a committed relationship. I am free to do what I want when I want, without having to check in with someone to make sure it’s okay that I take off every other weekend to coach the debate team.

I can pull all nighters when I need to, and hang out with my female friends without worrying about making anyone jealous.

At this point in my life, I am not nearly ready to get married.

This column is not for me. It’s for every other single person out there who’s been made to feel like they are less of a person because they’re not in a relationship. Simply because you don’t have a significant other does not make you insignificant.

It’s time we as a society recognize how valuable single life is and take a stand against settling down.

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