All the single ladies

Guys, too: National Singles Week challenges the shaming of single people.

Bronwyn Miller

That’s right; it’s National Singles Week. And yes, I’m proudly single.

Maybe it’s because I’ve seen way too many episodes of Law and Order: SVU, and I’m basically expecting to get abducted at all times. Being trigger happy with Mace doesn’t make the best first impression. Or maybe it’s because I’ve always refused to forward chain emails, so I’m pretty much destined to a life of misery.

In all honesty, the reason I’m single simply comes down to not wanting to commit to anyone in my life right now. Much of this relates to an argument you’ve heard before — I’m single because I don’t want to settle — and I’m sure you’re skeptical, wondering if it’s really just because no one will date me. This assumption relies on the stereotype that someone who thinks she can be happy without a significant other is just kidding herself.

I implore you to consider that I’m not in denial. The truth is, I’ve seen way too many friends turn into real-life versions of Ronnie and Sammi, and I’m not interested in engaging in that level of dysfunction. A relationship should genuinely enhance one’s life, not just exist as something we fall into to avoid being branded with the stereotypes of singles: lonely, pathetic, promiscuous and, my favorite, ugly. If and when I commit to someone, it will be because I legitimately believe we could be better together than we are by ourselves — and that’s a rare feeling.

I do have a fierce “no scrubs” policy, but I’m not against dating. Rather, my past relationships — good, bad and everything in between — have taught me that the best relationships come when you don’t need them to. We all know the type who just can’t be single. In high school, that was me; relationships were my way of distracting myself from other issues. Feeling wanted by guys allowed relief from how inferior I felt in other areas of my life.

But college brought some much-needed clarity. I realized that I could not be happy with someone else until I was happy alone. A relationship should not fill a void; the other person should supplement one’s already established stability and contentment.

The fear of being alone pervades society, though. The societal preference for couples — those who fit heteronormative standards, at least — often prompts people to start or continue a problematic relationship just to prevent the taboo single life. Single people, regardless of our successes, are seen as flawed; without a partner, we are not considered complete. Having a “plus one” seems to be the only way to legitimatize oneself as a functioning member of society. Single women in particular can have stable jobs, great friends and be all-around fabulous, but we’re still lacking — think of any “Sex and the City” plot ever. Society’s version of self-actualization requires having a partner.

The point here is not to knock relationships but rather to question the stigma against being single. National Singles Week is the perfect opportunity to remind ourselves that the anti-singlehood values within society are distorted and problematic: Relationship status does not define our success or even our feelings of isolation. Some of the loneliest moments of my life have occurred while I was in a relationship.

Yes, I am perfectly content with the fact that the guy most frequently dialed in my phone is Jimmy John’s. As far as I’m concerned, what we share is far superior to any other relationship prospect I currently possess. He always comes right when I want him to, and there’s never a chance of getting pregnant.