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Davis, California

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Column: Single rights movement

People say maintaining a happy relationship is one the hardest things to do in life. I say maintaining happiness as a single is even harder.

As we go about our lives, we’re constantly surrounded by twos. A table for one is secretly a table for two — you plus the lack of a relationship staring back at you in the form of an empty chair. Nowadays, large meals can’t even be ordered alone without a waiter condescendingly advising us that our meal is meant to be split with another person. Even condiments are paired to remind us once again that one doesn’t make a whole.

Let’s face it, the world was built for two.

As progressive as our society claims to be, there remain a few milestones we’re all supposed to reach by the ends of our lifetimes. Marriage, children, a stable home — but what if we don’t fit into this mold? Are we doomed to a life of constant scrutiny for choosing to be single? Or are we able to break this mold and fight for the right to remain unattached?

The struggle between couples and singles isn’t an entirely new concept. This idea dates as far back as the biblical age when Noah gave priority to all coupled animals and left singles to fend for themselves.

Apparently, somebody forgot to tell Noah that what he did was both rude and incredibly singlist — a term coined by the members of the recently burgeoning single rights movement formed out of built-up angst in response to the criticism received for being single. It’s ironic to think that even back in biblical times your choice was either to form a couple or die — needless to say, painfully and alone.

In modern society, however, singlism takes place in an entirely different medium. There comes a time in daters’ lives when they look forward to the moment they’re able to utter the words “I met someone” in casual conversation with their closest friends. In a world of romance-hungry individuals, these three words equate to the news of a dire emergency in the way that people will drop whatever topic they’re currently discussing to hear about your romantic escapades.

Whether these conversational topics are news of lifelong achievements, or tales of family personal problems, it seems that no matter what, a scandalous story about flirting will always be the ultimate trump card that steals your thunder.

In a society built upon the idea that there’s power in numbers, it’s no wonder why single voices are slowly becoming silenced beneath the bellowing of relationships.

The wedding industry currently stands at approximately 40 billion dollars — couples being responsible for 99 percent of that (the other percent belonging to Kim Kardashian). Not to mention the extra expenses spent by single friends in the form of gifts and expensive plane tickets to celebrate this momentous achievement.

Why is it that we only celebrate occasions involving someone else?

Engagements. Marriages. Babies. Two of which are celebrations for the same achievement, but where’s the Hallmark card to congratulate us on being single?

After graduation and our birthdays, events celebrating single accomplishments are scarce. Even the muffin baskets of work-related achievements pale in comparison to the multi-tiered cakes of wedding ceremonies.

The more I think of it, the more I have to agree with this newly found single movement.

With the rapid increase in dating and relationships, singles are steadily becoming the minority. And like any minority, don’t we all just want to be treated equally?

Maybe single doesn’t have to be this embarrassing term we shy away from. We should take pride in being single and the active choice of being selective, instead of conforming to societal lifestyle expectations.

Single no longer translates into being pathetic and undesirable. It could just mean we’re having fun and taking our time figuring out who we are and what we want.

I say we raise our glass to the life of being single.

Who needs to get married when you’ve been in a lifelong relationship with yourself for a good 20-something years? This is something most of us need to concentrate more on.

And this is one relationship that’s truly ‘til death do us part.

JASON PHAM would like to thank every single person that reads his column. If anyone’s wondering, he’s registered at jpham@ucdavis.edu


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