Poignant Jezebel article "When Can I Say I'll Be Alone Forever?"

My username may not have the nerdy inclination you think. It’s a Heinlein reference, just the closest thing to a nickname I ever had. And those aren’t the only circles I travel in, unless a curling club is also nerdy.

My relatives never bring up the subject.

I’m sure I brought some of my own interpretation to the author’s words, but I’m not sure we’re completely disagreeing, either. I’m fine with it much of the time (got half a cryptic crossword done over dinner tonight), but there are those days when I can barely drag myself out of bed, too.

I usually find that people who give this lame-ass lecture have little experience being truly “self-sufficient” for long stretches of time. They may think they are experts in self-sufficiency because they had a dry spell for a year or two. But even then, they usually had friends and family to fill the void.

The lecturers are usually the same people who talk about the importance of loving oneself before finding Ms/Mr. Right. As if only fully self-actualized happy people are capable of having significant others. As if low self-esteem is always the cause of failure, never the result of it.

These are Fair World notions.

I tell you what. It took everything I had to plow through that pretentious intro.

Son of a minister? WTF is that supposed to mean? :dubious:
The rest of her article seemed rather obvious to me. Maybe not so much to a 20-something year old though.

[Spoken as gently as possible]A Sci-Fi reference? Curling? And you’re not sure if you are checking the nerdy boxes? Um…[/Spoken as gently as possible]

In general, of course I am; but probably not the specific boxes suggested by my username.

Anyone else thinking of the “Lowered Expectations” bits from MadTV?

Yeah, I can see that to an extent, but her own wording casts her life in such a negative light. She insists there’s no language to talk about being happily single, but that’s nonsense. For example, why focus on words like “single” and “lonely” when you could be “independent” and “self-reliant”? She has a “scorched-earth vagina” when she could be having great sex as a single person, whether of the battery-operated or partner-assisted variety. Maybe she’s not having sex because she’s asexual? OK, great, that is also a self-affirming thing.

Instead, what she says sounds more like depression talking than an honest appraisal of her choices.

Seems perfectly obvious. Are you really confused about what that means?

Sure, I know the implied meaning. And it’s off the charts stupid.

I think you and the OP are projecting your own feelings onto her. There’s nothing in that piece that sounds depressing to me. She’s venting some frustrations, but that’s it.

I think your opinion is evidence of what she’s talking about. It is practically impossible for a single person to talk about their “forever aloneness” without people making a negative judgement about that person. She can’t just be someone talking about her own journey to self-acceptance without any sugar-coating. No, she’s gotta be depressed AND delusional.

I don’t know what a metaphor would be, the closest I can come up with is a person who is not active in the church in a very religious society. In a society like that, if you aren’t active in the church there is something wrong. Either you want to be but can’t (probably due to some defect) or there is some defect inside you that prevents you from wanting to be active. The idea that a person can be whole, complete and acceptable and not be active is not a valid option in many people’s views. A single person can’t admit to being single (and there are a long list of reasons a person might be single for long stretches, if not for life) without other people trying to fix the situation or treating them like there is something wrong that needs solving.

I really don’t know what the answer is. As single people you are looked at as having something wrong with you. Either you do not have the ability to get married due to some defect (ugliness, bad social skills, mental illness, entitlement, etc), or there is something wrong with you that prevents you from wanting to be married (commitment issues, selfishness, fear, in the closet, damaged, etc).

I’m not sure who, if any, are considered role models for the perpetually single. Tesla? Thats about it. But even he was considered highly attractive, the mentality that it isn’t ok to be single unless you are highly attractive is also part of the problem IMO because if you aren’t, then people can just say ‘you are single because you are ugly’.

I think society also underestimates the difficulty of getting in a relationship, or getting married, etc.

Society thinks that as long as someone meets an anywhere-near-decent level of attractiveness, or isn’t too shabby, that it should be a piece of cake to be in a relationship/be in married.

In reality, for a large percentage of people, that’s actually quite hard. Portraying it as falsely easy, only adds more salt to the wound. It’s like people who cannot fathom how someone could go for 6 months of job applications and still not be hired, when in fact in the modern US economy plenty of folks have applied for dozens of jobs and gone months without being hired.

This article is very relevant.

Wesley, I think the closest thing to this is fat acceptance–as controversial as that may be.

Yeah yeah, we know that fat people tend to be less healthy than non-fat people, all things being equal. And yeah yeah, we know that very fat people are generally considered less attractive than non-fat people and fat people. These are facts. We don’t need to waste time arguing about them.

But I totally get why someone may eventually come to accept their fatness, even while fully acknowledging the above. For lots of people, the struggle to lose weight has done more harm than the weight itself. Maybe they’d be better off concentrating on the actual contributors of poor health (like lack of exercise or junk food consumption) than eliminating a single risk factor like high BMI.

Yet people bash fat acceptance just like they do “singlehood acceptance”. People assume that fat people who are fine with their bodies are in denial or delusional. Like it simply can’t be that people are able to adjust to their realities so they can find contentment in what they have. No, if you aren’t in constant pain over what you don’t have, you must be doing it wrong.

I don’t know what makes people so smug, but it’s messed up whatever it is.

She may be venting minor frustrations, but

  1. she’s in tears over these frustrations
  2. she doesn’t have anything good to say about her life

If she wants to convince me she enjoys being single, there are better ways to say it than “I am quite excellent at being by myself. I have learned to enjoy my own company and when I’m not enjoying it, the world offers plenty of distractions.”

This is the closest to a positive thing she says in the entire article and it’s not exactly a sales pitch for the single life, is it? Nobody aspires to distractions.

That was a very good article, and articles like that are rare. Nobody wants to admit that they want to date and have relationships, but they can’t find anyone interested in them. If they do people either try to shush them by telling them they have low self esteem or that they just haven’t been looking in the right places. That or they give them advice on what to change and improve.

But if you assume that a person’s sex appeal follows a bell curve distribution, that means half of people are below average in sex appeal. And a minority of people are way below average. And yes, people with lower sex appeal may end up dating or in relationships, but that doesn’t solve the problem for the people who feel left on the shelf. The lower you fall on the distribution, generally the fewer options you have and the more trouble you will have finding people who want to date you. Combine that with other issues and some people are involuntarily celibate their whole lives.

Louie CK did a bit about ugly people and dating.

The reality is a lot of people on the lower end of the bell curve end up settling. There is no perfect match for everyone. Really, only a minority of people are truly attractive as sexual creatures or as long term mates and lots of people just aren’t attracted to people who are objectively in their league. That or even if they are, those people don’t reciprocate the attraction.

She’s in tears because her friends were being dicks. Having tears in ones eyes when people are being dicks to you is 100% understandable and not at all indicative of depression, but rather having a beating heart. Not all sadness and disappointment is OMG DEPRESSION!

She’s not obligated to sing the praises of her life just to convince the skeptical peanut gallery that she doesn’t have a sad and miserable life. I have no doubt that if she did play up the good things in her life, you or some other person would snort “Is that all? Sounds like a big loser.”

So you think the point of the article was to convince you that she’s happy being single? No wonder you’re confused.

I thought the point was expressed pretty clear in the title. She wants to be able to tell people about her life without having to listen to a bunch of bullshit psychobabble or sit through a bunch of stupid advice. Even if she is 100% unhappy with her life, that does not mean she should have to endure an interrogation.

Why do you think she was trying to sell you on the virtues of singlehood? There is absolutely no indication that this was her angle.

I agree with this 100%, and I also think male anger terrifies women. It literally scares them for their physical safety. And men are supposed to meet everything from spiders to job loss with a stoic attitude and to broadcast security at all times.

Nothing wrong with that. We exist as partners to make others feel safe, wanted, and loved. It’s not unfair at all, it’s what we need from our spouses.

The impression I got from reading the article was she was discussing how being perpetually single was a lifestyle and not a holding pattern until she reaches completion as a human being as a part of a relationship. According to the author, there are some drawbacks like the lack of intimacy, but in our society there are no words to describe the perpetually single as anything other than defective but still searching.

Some people, for a wide range of reasons, quit searching. And that is not because ‘it falls into your lap when you stop searching’. They really stop searching.

In my experience, the perpetually single who got out of bad marriages get a little more slack from society. I get the impression the author was never married, but people I’ve known who got married young, then said they would never marry or be in a serious relationship again are given a pass. Especially if they have kids from the first marriage. Those are about the only perpetually single people that society will tolerate. That and the extremely attractive who, if they wanted to, could easily find a relationship. Although society does deride the attractive who choose not to get married as ‘afraid of intimacy’ or things like that. If you do not fall into one of those two categories, society treats you like you are defective and in need of a mix of advice and pity until you come around.

Independent and self-reliant for six months or a year can get pretty damn lonely after a decade or two.

it depends. it’s one thing if you desire companionship and have difficulties finding someone, but another if you don’t desire companionship. the former can lead to loneliness. the latter? well, all I can say as someone who hasn’t been in a relationship (and has never tried) that I have no problem being alone. I don’t know if I actually prefer it, but it’s what I’m familiar with. and I know that after 8-10 hours of dealing with people at work every day, I’m ready to head home, unplug, and recharge in relative silence.

Despite my dismissive attitude earlier towards Aimée Lutkin’s employer, it seems clear that her real problem is with other people’s judgmentalism and inability to relate. Especially when she leads off with describing others’ reactions as “eye rolling,” or “have you heard of Tinder,” etc. I suspect it’s harder (in different ways) for women. AFAIK nobody says anything about it to me, at least not directly. At most, the biggest “problem” I have is the inability to relate to my peers. at my last job, we were a small office and they had a custom of going out for “group lunch” on Fridays. I quit going after a while because I got tired of having to spend an hour listening to people talk about their kids non-stop.