Single living has been in the news a lot lately. From Kate Bolick’s Atlantic Monthly article, All the Single Ladies, to the publication of Eric Kilnenberg’s Going Solo, everyone seems to be talking about us. You likely would have had to be actively working to not pay attention in order to not know that today nearly 50% of adults live by themselves or that 43% of adults in the United States are single. We are the new demographic to be pursued by marketers and those seeking to win our votes in the next election.
Now of course everyone wants to know why this trend is occurring and everyone has their various theories, but what really seems to be bugging people is why women are choosing to remain single. I admit that as a single woman who writes a blog about single living that my eye is more likely to be caught by a headline professing to offer up an explanation as to why there seems to be a sudden uptick in the number of solo living females, but no one seems to be in any sort of panic over why there are just about as many single men living in the US as there are single women.
The theories abound but they tend to fall into one of three areas: we are too picky, we aren’t willing to make the sacrifice thatcommitment requires, or that we are deluding ourselves into thinking we actually enjoy our lives, because deep down we secretly want nothing more than to be partnered up and married off and what we really suffer from is a case of the grass-being-greener. After all, marriage and being part of a forever pair is something we, as women, are supposed to desire above all else while men on the other hand, have to be convinced that it’s something they want.
I suppose if one is the sort that really believes that marriage is the cornerstone of a civilized society the increase in single living women could be perceived as a threat. One half the marriage equation is suddenly being uncooperative and not fulfilling their prescribed role. Except of course none of these folks are making the follow up argument that without women convincing them to settle down all those unhitched single men are going to turn into wild barbarians creating havoc and destruction wherever they go. Apparently men who are single do just fine; it’s only the women who are deluding themselves.
Maybe I am just one more self deluding female unwittingly doing her bit to bring about the downfall of civilization as we know it…or maybe, hmmmmm, maybe I really am pretty darn happy with my friend filled, busily creative, ever changing, solo living, unmarried life because when I take a look around, the grass beneath my feet really is pretty darn green.