About Those 10 Ten-Minute Life-Enhancing Tips

Onely calls out singlism at PT blog

Posted Nov 09, 2010

Thanks for this post goes out to our friend Christina over at Onely. She recognized a significant act of singlism here at Psych Today, and wrote about it at Onely. Apparently, she and several others noted in the comments section their displeasure at the singlism, but those first comments were deleted. (Some subsequent ones are still there.)

I asked Christina if I could quote from her at length, and happily, she agreed. What I'm republishing below is (I.) almost the entirety of her first post, then (II.) her rewrites of the singles-dismissing sections of the PT post, then (III.) parts of the follow-up post in which she mentions that some of the comments pointing out the singlism were deleted. I'm also including (IV.) some of the relevant comments that were not deleted from the Psych Today post. (Also check out the Notes at the end.)

If you are one of the people who posted a comment that was deleted, please post it again here. I'll even move it up to this post itself (rather than leaving it just in the comments section).

What Christina is doing is significant, and I thank her for it. It takes some nerve to point out singlism; often the reaction to doing so is hostile. But I think all of us - singles, obviously, but everyone else, too - benefit from a society that does not diminish or dismiss people for gratuitous reasons, such as not being part of a couple.

(You may also want to check out the post, Sweating the small stuff: Micro-inequities and micro-affirmations, over at All Things Single (and More).)

I.
Here is most of Christina's first entry on this topic, originally posted at Onely

Enhance Your Life-10 Ways if You're Coupled, 7 if You're Single

Here are 10 things you can do to enhance your life - if you're coupled. If you're single, you can only enhance your life 70 percent as much as a coupled person. This is according to a life-enhancement-activity list on Barton Goldsmith's "Emotional Fitness" blog on Psychology Today, where three of the ten items require a conventional romantic partner.

In order to take the life-enhancing step of watching a sunset, you have to do it with a "mate" (and not the Australian kind). God forbid you should watch it by yourself or with a friend, ewwwww:

"2. Spend a little while watching the sunset with your mate. Nothing extra is necessary. Just sit and take in the natural beauty of the sky and appreciate being able to share it with the one you love."

And if you want to write a thank-you note, it has to be to a mate. So your coworker Heimliched you at lunch when you were choking on that brussels sprout? First, thank your mate for picking his underwear out of the ficus this morning:

"4. Write a thank you note to your mate. When was the last time you thanked your partner for just being who he or she is and being with you? Doing this in writing will give your partner something to cherish for the rest of his or her life."

And if you want to go to bed ten minutes early, you have to do it with a mate:

"8. Go to bed with the one you love ten minutes earlier than usual. Then spend that time just holding each other. Let the feeling of warmth from your mate move through you."

II.
Here are Christina's rewrites of the 3 posts that wrote singles out of the picture:

Spend a little while watching the sunset. Nothing extra is necessary. Just sit and take in the natural beauty of the sky and appreciate being able to share it with yourself or with whomever you f&cking please.

Write a thank you note. When was the last time you thanked someone for just being who he or she is? Doing this in writing will give that person something to cherish for the rest of his or her life. And if you want, go ahead and write a letter to yourself. Mail it, too. (And stick a twenty in there while you're at it.)

Go to bed ten minutes earlier than usual. Then spend that time just holding your ferret/watching the headlights on the ceiling/reading graphic novels/eating toast/breathing/planning your next novel. Let the feeling of warmth from doing what you enjoy move through you.

III.
Here is most of Christina's post about the comments that apparently were deleted:

Psych Today Post Deletes Comments from Progressive Singles

November 7, 2010

The 30-percent-offensive post "10 Things You Can Do To Enhance Your Life" I wrote about recently is one of the five most popular posts on Psychology Today. It was fifth this morning and now it's number three. Why is this a huge problem? Reasons A-C below, where C is the most disturbing:

(A) As I said in my previous post, three of the ten suggestions assume that the reader has a "mate". (Watch a sunset with your mate; go to bed ten minutes early with the one you love, write a thank-you note to your mate.) Presumably thousands of people are reading these suggestions and internalizing the insidious notion that everyone must either have or strive for a mate, in order to lead an enhanced life.

(B) Several people left comments on the 10-Things post, saying how "awesome" and "lovely" all the suggestions are, and presumably thousands more have read the comments and further ingested the notion that it's "awesome" and "lovely" to watch a sunset with a mate (and, by extension, perhaps less lovely without one).

(C) On the day I composed my original post griping about this, at least three astute Psych Today commenters had left comments challenging the inclusion of the three "mate" items in the list. As of yesterday, and as of today, those particular comments are gone-presumably removed. I don't have any record of their existence (why would I think I'd need to make one?), but I know I saw them. I also know that Onely made a comment which has since disappeared.

IV.
Here are three comments that were not deleted:

Well pleased to see that I
Submitted by happychappy
Well pleased to see that I regularly do seven out of ten of ten and until I meet that special someone (and I'm looking), I'm quiet happy to watch sunsets as one, write me little thank you notes and go to bed ten minutes early for a bit of cuddling heheh. Get yourself into a bit of trouble too - live a little. Look at life from the wolf's perspective now and again. Good luck.

While I appreciate seven of
Submitted by Onely
While I appreciate seven of the points, I'm concerned that three points presume that all readers have a "mate." I would have much preferred to see them written in a relationship-neutral style, such as "watch a sunset/write a thank-you note to someone important to you/go to bed ten minutes early."
I mentioned my concern in a previous comment maybe two days ago, and I am puzzled as to where that comment disappeared to. At the time, I also noticed three other commenters had expressed similar concerns. I am not seeing their comments here now and that puzzles me too.
Christina, Onely.org

Life-enhancement ignoring 50% of the adult population
Submitted by Rachel
I agree with happychappy and Onely that your list leaves out the almost 50% of the US population who does not have a "mate." So, I would like to add an 11th thing we can do to enhance our life: Call out couplemania when you see it.


[Notes: (1) For other terrific guest posts by Onely, click here, here, and here. (2) I've added to my previous post, Where's that blog post I remember reading, a list of some previous discussions of friendship - especially between singles and couples; I've also moved up into the text a great tip offered by John A in the comments section. (3) I'd love to continue making improvements to my newly redesigned website and my All Things Single (and More) blog, but the person who did all the great work on it is no longer in the business. My site was built in Joomla with a Wordpress MU (MU standing for Multi User) plug in purchased from Core php. If you know of anyone skilled at both parts (Joomla and WordPress MU), please let me know.]