To be single-at-heart is to feel that single life is, for you, the most meaningful way to live. People who embrace their single-at-heart status pursue the life that fits them best as individuals. That might mean spending lots of time alone or lots of time with friends or family. It might mean pursuing some passion, such as art or science or sports or social justice. Or it may mean feeling totally comfortable in a routine of your own making.
Being single-at-heart can mean lots of things, but what it does not mean is becoming a sappy, matrimaniac when many in the rest of the nation lose their collective minds over the 14th of February. I am so used to dealing with – or ignoring – hype about coupling every other day of the year that I would be happy to just continue rolling my eyes on Valentine’s Day. The problem is, February is peak season for people who just cannot believe that other people do not share their obsession with coupling.
Because I write blogs with “single” in the title, PR people send me their product pitches without bothering to read a word of anything I have ever written. That means that I get email messages asking me to pass along to my readers tips about how to nab their prince or princess in shining armor (yes, they use all the predictable clichés). They want me to tell you how to avoid gold diggers. They are sure you want to read all about how much women enjoy “doing it” (their words, their scare quotes). They want me to become the unpaid advertiser for their special potion that is supposed to make both men and women hornier.
Sometimes I just ignore these advertisers who are too lazy to do their jobs conscientiously. (That would involve actually learning about the people they are spamming; reading one or two posts before sending an entirely inappropriate pitch.) Occasionally I write back. For example, I told the love potion guy that I wasn’t interested and that most of the people I write for also would not be interested. He was incredulous. He could not imagine that anyone would not be interested in some special lotion that, in his opinion, would make sex more fun. He just assumed that of course everyone is interested in having lots of sex and would want to know tricks for making it better. I sent him lots of links to discussions of ways of thinking about sex that go beyond the conventional; he responded too quickly to have read any of them, and started asking me personal questions that struck me as creepy, so that was the end of that exchange.
In a much more positive email conversation with someone who did seem to know at least little bit about me, I was sent a link to a website that included this statement: “As one of my single ladies told me, ‘we’re all looking for love, whether we want to admit it or not.’” I doubt that the person who sent me the link, or even the person who made that statement, meant to be offensive. But that person is telling me that as a perfect stranger, she knows more about me than I know about myself. She believes, and is happy to proclaim to the world, that anyone who is not interested in finding a romantic partner is just deluding themselves.
I know that lots of single people are getting “treated” to the same assumptions that are cast my way every February. It will take a while before bigger, broader meanings of love become more widely recognized and accepted. It will take even longer for more people to understand that not everyone wants to be coupled.
Until then, for Valentine’s Day, I give you my heart – my single-at-heart. If you are single-at-heart, or even if you just have some single-at-heart leanings, know that lots of other people do, too. Indulge yourself, if you’d like, with some essays and articles about the single-at-heart. Even if you have no single-at-heart inclinations whatsoever, maybe you will enjoy reading a few things that will not say the same things everyone else is saying this time of year.
Also, if you are interested, here are some of my previous writings about Valentine’s Day:
- Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After (about Valentine’s Day, p. 104-106)
- Valentine’s Day hype: Name your emotional reaction
- Step away from that spouse! Another take on the value of friends (about Valentine’s Day)
- Chinese Valentine’s Day is for singles – but not in a good way
- 5 signs that this Valentine’s Day will be different from all the rest (from 2012)
Smiling woman image available from Shutterstock.