Last week, I was honored to take part in the filming of a documentary by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) on single people around the world, called Flying Solo (to be released, Fall, 2013). As you probably know by now, there are more single people than married people, for the first time in U.S. history. What you may not know is that this trend is happening all around the world. In just about every developed country, the number of single people is rising. (As in the U.S., some are single for life, some marry later, others are divorced but at any given point in time, the percentage of singles is trending upward.)
Scott Harper and his crew showed up at my apartment around 8am to set-up. We filmed for 3-4 hours, including a lunch I had with some girlfriends at Eolo, an Italian restaurant in my neighborhood.
It was at this lunch that I was reminded of one of my favorite blog posts by another blogger. Scott asked us something about the difference between single and married women. I paraphrased a line from a blog post by Jen, at Sheality, a blog written by five women: “It’s about what you’re willing to tolerate; being lonely -or- being annoyed.” Here’s a lift from the Sheality post:
“I have a theory. There are only two kinds of people in the world: lonely (and single) or annoyed (and in a relationship). I think we all have a higher tolerance for one – either you’re better at being lonely or you’re better at being annoyed. But they are really your only options. Either you’re lonely or you’re annoyed.
I mean sure – early love is great and you want to be with that person all the time. When you live with someone, you can get a hug at the end of a long day, or someone to make your coffee in the morning. I have been there. But sooner or later, the lust wears off and their annoying habits and idiosyncrasies start to surface – like I don’t know – their breathing – in and out, in and out, in and out…
When you are alone, sometimes it is awesome – like when you are so comfy because you have the whole bed to yourself. Or no one is around to judge you when eat an entire can of frosting or don’t wash dishes for a week. But sometimes you want someone to talk to, or make you tea when you’re sick, or have sex with you.”
The first time I read this, it was like a lightbulb when off in my head. Aha!
That’s it! It is a perfect description of me. I, a single woman, am much better at tolerating the occasional loneliness I feel than I would be at tolerating the frequent annoyances I feel I’d have to put up if I lived in the same house with my (non-existent) husband. One of the other single women at the lunch agreed that this description also fit her well.
And the married ladies? They also thought it fit them. They acknowledge the continual annoyances they must tolerate when sharing living quarters with their husbands, and also acknowledge that they’d choose those annoyances over living alone.
I love it! I think this is the perfect analogy. (Actually, I’m not sure it’s a true analogy…but you get my point.) I now have the answer I can give to concerned people who like to ask why I’m not married: ”I choose loneliness over annoyance.” To me, one’s not better (or worse) than the other, they’re just different.
Can you think of any other non-scientific comparisons that explain this whole “single vs married” thing? Make it fun!