Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

What Would Make Your Life Better as a Single Person?

Name your wishes, from the tiniest to the most sweeping

Some of the people who write about single people and dole out advice to them seem to be clueless about what single life is really about. One person, for example, said that single life is unappealing because when you are sick, there is no one to bring you chicken soup. That’s like saying that the only person who could ever bring you chicken soup is someone you are having sex with. There are more single people who live with other people than who live alone. Just because those other people are not all sex partners does not make them incapable of caring. (Also, there’s always take-out.)

The point, though, is not just this one silly example or any of the others. It is that single people are the ultimate experts on what would make their lives better. So tell me, single people, what do you wish for to improve your life?

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I often talk about big, sweeping reforms that would change all of our lives. I’d like a fairer tax code, and a broader rewriting of the Family and Medical Leave Act so that we could take time off to care for the people we cherish, and they can take time off to care for us, even if we are not married to them.

I want businesses to stop making purchases cheaper by the couple. I want grocery stores to package items – especially perishables – in smaller quantities without charging disproportionately more.

I want to obliterate the norms that dictate that social life is coupled life. Everyone from marketers and business people to your friends and relatives in everyday life should just stop assuming that social events should be organized by the couple. Skip the couples-only dinner parties and vacation plans. Heck, I’ve even seen fundraisers promoted in ways that assume that only coupled people give to their favorite people and causes. We don’t all come in twos, and even when we do, the second person isn’t always a spouse or romantic partner.

But I’m interested in the littlest things, too. Someone just asked me if I could name some things that make life easier for people who live alone, such as inventions for making furniture easier to move when you don’t have another person around to help you.

Think about the entire sweep of your single life, from the biggest, broadest issues to the tiniest, most trivial concerns, then head to the Comments section and tell us all about your wishes and fantasies. Or share what you have already discovered or created that has made life better for you.

Repeated contributions are most welcome. Even if you have already commented once, come back and post again if you think of something else a few days later.

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.

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