Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Reason I Dislike Single People

chuffly pointed to this recent article, and I notice that Mike Flynn also gives some brief discussion of it. And it is connected with something that is really a pet peeve of mine, namely, people who never stop whining about being single.

I am single myself. The number of ways in which I am a stereotypical bachelor cannot be counted on only two hands. And yet there is almost nothing I hate more than people whining about being single: the Church doesn't do enough, society doesn't do enough, why do married people have all the perks, blah, blah, blah. Look, while anyone in any state of life may do important things, marriages are treated as more important than single life because married people are doing something important simply by being married and single people are not doing something important simply by being single. Singleness in itself is not an achievement. Singleness is the default of human life; it's what everyone is when they are not being something more important. Everyone can do it, and by definition everyone can do it on his or her own. Married life is not the default of human life. It is one of the things that people do that is more important and can only be done in cooperation with someone else. Every marriage is an achievement. Single life, as such, contributes nothing of importance to human society, although single people may in their various capacities contribute important things. Married life, however, contributes the human race itself: in marriages we have the standard contexts for the having and raising of children, and all families and educations in one way or another, directly or indirectly, form only because marriages are the seed-crystals around which they develop.

What irritates me about the whining is that I did not sign up to be in the Kiddy League of Life. We do not all get consolation prizes whenever things do not go our way, and we do not all get trophies whether we win or not. The world does not exist to validate us. Moreover, we are all perfectly capable of handling this fact. And even to suggest that single people need to be treated in such infantile ways, spoon-fed through a state of life that by definition can be handled by anyone and which, considered in itself, has no standards of excellence that have to be met, is an insult to all single people everywhere. I don't care how lonely you feel. Get over yourself and do something important, and then maybe you'll get a pat on the back.

The article, however, is amusing in its conception of what a wedding is: "a time when people travel from afar to bring you gifts and toast your life decisions", or in Sex and the City words (the source itself should make our ears prick up for signs of infantilization), an "occasion when people celebrate you". Let me tell you what, if I ever marry and any of you attend, if any of you ever suggest that the point of the wedding is simply to bring me gifts and toast my "life decisions" and "celebrate me", I will have no problem beating you up in front of all the other wedding guests for the insult. The point of a wedding is to solemnize a marriage, not to have a party. No gifts are necessary. No toasts are necessary. No 'celebrating me' is necessary. These things, when not simply made up by wedding planners trying to scam clients or greengrocers trying to imitate royalty, are just things people throw in to make attending a little more fun for everyone and the commitment a bit less scary for the bride and groom. None of us exist to give you gifts and toast your decisions.

Now, if you, as a single person, want to do something really important, like say, commit to helping someone else raise children well for as long as you live, should you ever have any children, then feel free to send out invitations. And we'll come if we can, and we'll gladly call it a wedding, for, of course, that is what it will be.

10 comments:

  1. MrsDarwin9:29 AM

    "Let me tell you what, if I ever marry and any of you attend, if any of you ever suggest that the point of the wedding is simply to bring me gifts and toast my "life decisions" and "celebrate me", I will have no problem beating you up in front of all the other wedding guests for the insult."



    Oh, please invite us, and then invite someone who will do this so we can watch. I promise to bring a nice gift like a blackjack or brass knuckles. :)

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  2. ladycygnus10:27 AM

    As a single woman don't I have a right to a wedding? Why all this bias and hate against those who are born without a soul mate? We should have the gifts, party and the tax breaks as well! You're just a mono-sociophobic meanie!

    Actually, all joking aside, this is a great piece. I've known too many people who see the wedding as some kind of social where they get presents and not as the initiation of a sacrament. I think the problem with the "suffering singles" is that as a society we are promised a life without suffering. How often are we told that if child is going to "suffer" because of some illness, isn't it better for that child to never be born?

    "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." Oh how true when you think of the wedding industry. Funny thing is the easiest way to avoid all that pain is to avoid the lies of the "perfect wedding".

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  3. SententiaeDeo11:34 AM

    St. Paul highly exults the single life (1 Cor. 7); he advises marrieds to practice detachment and be as though they're single: "…brethren; the time is short; it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none." (v. 29).

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  4. branemrys12:29 PM

    Actually, Paul exults devoting one's life entirely to the Lord, even to such an extent that one marries. That is not something that automatically comes with being single.

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  5. branemrys12:30 PM

    I like the phrase 'monosociophobic'. I think you're quite right that this is connected with the notion that everyone has the right not to face any difficulties.

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  6. Clare2:08 PM

    This is awesome. Thank you.

    --A happy spinster

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  7. John Farrell2:54 PM

    You know, Brandon. It isn't often you get this peeved. :)

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  8. That would be a little more fun for everyone attending, except for the person on the receiving end of the brass knuckles... I'd probably be too timid to do anything more than simply politely disagree, were it my wedding.

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  9. This is freaking awesome. It gives me the strong desire to set you up with someone just for the pleasure of seeing the marriage carried out according to the principles described.

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  10. branemrys12:11 PM

    Well... I guess that means I'm going to have to be suspicious if you ever set me up on a date!

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