Have you ever noticed that fully-grown single people sometimes get treated as if they are not fully adult? Their coupled friends invite them to lunch (if that) instead of dinner, to their children’s birthday parties but not to movies on Saturday night with the grown-ups. When traveling, singles get the back seat of the car, and when they arrive, they get to sleep on the couch in the living room instead of in a room with a door that shuts.

I’m not saying everyone treats single people that way, of course, but I am quite sure that single people get the children’s treatment far more often than coupled people do.

I wrote a lot about this in Singled Out. I thought I had heard just about every variation on the theme. Thanks to the Motherlode blog at the New York Times, I just learned about a new example.

The post was written by Robin Marantz Henig, whose work I really like, and her daughter, Samantha Henig, whose work I am just getting to know, but already like it.

The relevant section begins in Robin’s voice:

“I had a perfect opening to talk adult birds-and-bees with my younger daughter Samantha when we were co-writing a book (to be published in November) called “Twentysomething,” about the consequential decisions young people make in their 20s. We had just interviewed a 31-year-old woman who was thinking of freezing her eggs. So I asked Sam if she’d ever considered this for herself. She was 27 and single at the time.”

Samantha: It’s funny that my mother thinks the answer to the limits of reproductive technology is for parents to get involved earlier. Who says they should be involved at all? In her book “Singled Out,” Bella DePaulo writes about the tendency to infantilize single people — and this to me seems like a classic case. My mother wouldn’t (and doesn’t) insert herself into my older, married sister’s reproductive choices, because those are decisions she expects my sister and her husband to work through together. I may not have a husband with whom to discuss my eggs, but that’s hardly an invitation for my parents to take even partial ownership of them.

It is an interesting post; you can read the whole thing here.

What do you think of the Motherlode conversation? And what other examples of the infantilization of singles have I missed?

 


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    Last reviewed: 25 May 2012

APA Reference
DePaulo, B. (2012). When Single Women Freeze Their Eggs, Who Is the Baby?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 23, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2012/05/when-single-women-freeze-their-eggs-who-is-the-baby/

 

 

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