I have been home alone, pandemic style, for nearly a month now. No one has darkened my doorstep in all that time, except to drop off items such as the groceries I got delivered for the first time in my life.
As a person who has studied single people for several decades, and lived single my entire life, I am starting to get inquiries from reporters who want to write about the experience of being single in the time of COVID-19. A few have been amazing. They already know not to pity all people who are single and living alone when social distancing is mandated; they understand that some of us love our solitude and are faring much better than the stereotypes predict.
It is coronavirus time. In many places around the world, we are being urged or even mandated to practice social distancing. For those of us who live alone, that could mean much more time by ourselves.
A few years ago, I went for weeks without any contact with other humans. It was a time when the people I see most often all just happened to be away or otherwise preoccupied for some reason. Instead of doing what might have come naturally, reaching out to the people I don’t see that often, I decided to turn the experience into an experiment.
It happened again. You got pelted with a microaggression. You thought about the meaning behind it, considered the costs and benefits of responding, and now you have come down on the side of saying something to the aggressor. But how do you do that in a way that is educational and not off-putting? How can you get the person to think in a more enlightened way and not just respond defensively?
When, as a single person, you experience one of those “everyday slights, indignities, put-downs and insults” that are called microaggressions, one of the most important challenges you face is deciding whether to respond.
Have you heard the one about how people in marriages and romantic relationships learn to compromise? Or the corollary of that – if you want to learn how to compromise, you need to have experience in romantic relationships?
I have been pilloried for pointing out the microaggressions of single life. Whether I’m writing about them or discussing them in everyday life, I get mocked and attacked – sometimes even by other single people. So I -- along with all the people targeted by microaggressions based on other categories such as race, gender, disability, age, or size – need to decide each time whether to instead just ignore them.