In graduate school, I shared an apartment with a roommate because I could not afford a place of my own. That was about 40 years ago. Ever since then, I have lived alone my entire adult life.
I love having my very own place. That’s not because there’s anything special about my current home. There’s not – except for its location in a tiny seaside village and the glimpse of the Pacific Ocean that I get from my little deck. I have no artistic talent, so I don’t know how to make my place aesthetically attractive. (I wish I did.) But it is open and bright, and unless I have guests, there is no one else there. I love that, too. I savor the time I have to myself.
When I’m out, even when I’m having a good time, there often comes a time when I want to be home. There is something about being by myself in a place of my own that is tremendously appealing.
The same is true for travel. I might be in a beautiful, fascinating place, maybe exploring with a cherished friend, and within a few days, I start longing for home – my home.
That’s not the way anyone is “supposed to” feel. Life with a spouse – that’s what’s supposed to be most fulfilling. The over-the-top selling of marriage and coupling that I call matrimania is relentless. It is everywhere. Even in The Looming Tower, a mini-series based on the book by the same name about the build-up to 9/11.
In a scene in which a young FBI agent, Ali Soufan, is in a bar with Barry James, an older inspector from Scotland Yard, James asks Soufan if he is married. He says no.
James then says something like: “I’ve been married 23 years. If you find the right woman, you could be out having the best time in the world, and all of a sudden, you want to go home.”
Okay, so he is lording it over Soufan, boasting about how awesome he is for being married. That’s matrimania. But he doesn’t leave it at that.
“That must be the worst feeling in the world – not wanting to go home,” the married James says to the unmarried Soufan.
There they are, two people in the thick of the pre-9/11 chase for Bin Laden, and the married man takes an opportunity to shame his colleague for being single. He’s adding the sting of singlism to the stink of matrimania.
Shame on him.
Here are a few of the things you are not supposed to think to yourself when you hear dialog like that:
- Some single people are out having the best time in the world, and all of a sudden, they want to go home.
- Some married people don’t want to go home when they are out having a good time without their spouse. Even if they found the “right” person and have been married for 23 years.
- Some married people don’t want to go home when they are out without their spouse and not having a good time.
That must be the worst feeling in the world – not wanting to go home when your spouse is there waiting for you.