At the 2018 Emmy Awards show, the award for best director for a variety special went to Glenn Weiss. Instead of just accepting the honor, he used the occasion to propose from the stage to his girlfriend, Jan Svendsen. The camera pointed to her as she enacted the predictable big display of emotion, complete with the covering of her face with her hands. Then she went up to the stage, as Weiss got down on a knee and proposed. She accepted.
Today (September 16, 2018) is the first day of Unmarried and Single Americans Week, or Singles Week for short. It is a week for recognizing single people and all that they contribute. It is a celebration of living single, and not of dating or any other attempts to escape single life.
Do people know how others view them? It is an interesting and important question, and years ago, Professor Dave Kenny and I reviewed all the studies we could find on the topic. Dave was a professor at Harvard when I was a graduate student there, and years later, we were still collaborating.
If you are single and have no children, is there any blueprint for how to live your adult life or do you just have to make it up as you go along? At least as far back as the 1950s, scholars have been describing the stages of adult life, on the assumption that everyone marries and has children. (I described one of those models here.) But they don’t.
In the 1950s, when educational psychologist Robert Havighurst described the stages of adult life, he seemed to just assume that of course every adult would marry and have children. I suppose that’s understandable in a way, since the nuclear family model of adult life was then at its peak.
Ah, marriage equality. Historian, pioneer of LGBTQ studies, and social-justice advocate Martin Duberman knows that a majority of LGBTQ people – or a majority of those who make their opinions known – cared about that issue. They wanted it on the agenda.
If you are a single woman of a certain age with no children, or if you are curious about the lives of such people, I have a memoir for you: Glynnis MacNicol’s No One Ever Tells You This. I’ll have a lot more to say about the book eventually. For now, I wanted to share some of the author’s insights and observations about single life.
If you are a single person, do you think there are pillars of support you need in order to lead a satisfying life? For her book, The New Single Woman, sociologist E. Kay Trimberger (who has written guest posts for this blog) interviewed long-term single women, 35 and older, in depth. Her initial interview with each woman was followed up with another one, seven to nine years later.
[Bella’s intro: If you are a single person and you are thinking about going into therapy, what might you expect? One of my worries is that some therapists don’t understand that single life can be a good, meaningful, and fulfilling life. Fortunately, other therapists are more enlightened, and Tricia M. Parker is one of them. Readers of this “Single at Heart” blog have enjoyed her previous guest posts: Loneliness: Change your story about them, about you; Debunking parenting myths; and 5 keys to effective and joyful independent parenting. I think you will enjoy this one, too. Thank-you, Tricia Parker, for sharing your insights with us.]
I think friendship may be the most important relationship in 21st century life. It is also greatly undervalued, especially in comparison to romantic relationships, which suck up far more than their fair share of attention and esteem. Nonetheless, I do not have a syrupy view of friendship, so when a new book appeared in my mailbox – “The Joy of Friendship: A Thoughtful and Inspiring Collection of 200 Quotations” – I worried that it would be all lollipops and puppies.