If you have been single since you were born, or divorced for about 15 minutes, you know a thing or two about the lifestyle, like:
Being Single Doesn’t Suck.
But parts of it do.
Because parts of everything suck; clearly, parts of being coupled suck. Dealing with another person day in and day out, year in and year out, with only the promise of death part can be mighty sucky.
Sharing closets sucks. Cleaning OPMs (other people’s messes) sucks. Sometimes the mere sound of another human breathing sucks enough to make you want to silence it with your bare hands.
Not that we ever hear about the dark side of duos. The media and all forms of communication made for mass consumption reached the intractable – and incorrect –conclusion that being married is better than anything, including hitting the lottery and modern medicine.
Just for today, let’s throw them a bone. A big shin bone. Aim for the head. The talking head.
Since that is not likely to knock sense into anyone, let’s agree to disagree about whether marriage is better or worse, and hop on, no, HIJACK the bandwagon. If someone tells you being single sucks, say loud and proud:
“HELL YEAH, IT DOES! You think you know, but you don’t. I do and I am going to tell you.”
Now you’re cooking. Keep fanning the fire. You are right: 90% of opinions about the suckiest part of single are wrong. Opinions of people who are not single, that is. Unlike beauty, sucky is not in the eye of the beholder.
When you are single, what sucks for you might not suck as hard for someone else. We can debate going to weddings solo versus the pitying looks you get at the buffet line but that’s for rookies.
Instead, here for the wedded-and-obsessed world, in a full-on assault of agreement, we present the popular and truly unpopular parts of unmarried life and, as only the oppressed are able, name the number one, single suckiest part about being single.
The Single Suckiest Part about Being Single
8) It’s not loneliness. The reason many unmarried women are lonely is simply stigma. Imagine being told for your entire life that you are the one thing that is not like the others, i.e., the thing that doesn’t belong. However, most singles have larger social circles and more close friends than their married counterparts.
7) It’s not taking out the trash, all the trash, all the time, even though it feels like that every Wednesday morning. Despite how much you despise hauling garbage, holding your nose for five minutes once a week is not as bad as, say, being an actual sanitation engineer. Or taking out other people’s trash.
6) It’s not climbing into bed alone. About 60% of single women have a pet. About 99.9999% of those pets get in bed with us. Actually, they get in bed before we do and promptly position themselves in your spot. Horizontally.
5) It’s not leaky faucets or heavy lifting. You can become a DIY Diva or pay a plumber. Some strapping man…. Ok, some strong-enough person will eventually be in your house and be willing to help. What sucks here is how unwilling singles are to ask for assistance.
4) It’s not having nothing to do or no one to talk to. Single women are known for their ability to create and maintain friendships, acquaintance-ships and social networks IRL (in real life). If we are bored we go out. If we want to talk, we have neighbors, phones and a local hang-out.
3) It’s not being sick by yourself, although it sure feels like it when you feel like shit. This is the one time, guaranteed, friends, Romans and countrymen- er- pretty much anyone you tell wants to know what you need. (PS- I need you to walk my dog, do my laundry and take my trash out.)
2) It’s not having no one to cook for. Cook? What is this thing you speak of- cook? When you are single, you don’t even have to keep food in the house. Besides, if you cooked, where would you store the empty pizza boxes until recycling day?
1) The single suckiest thing about being single is MONEY.
Ask any single woman on the Sweet Side of 40 what keeps her up at night: money.
There is never enough and it can all disappear in the blink of Goldman Sachs eye.
By 40, you know with every fiber of your wallet, “two can live cheaper than one.” You also know down to the last cent in your checking account, life for one costs two times as much.
Your income is 78% of a man’s and has to cover 100% the expenses when you live alone. Over the course of a 47-year worklife, a woman will lose between $700,000 and $2 million to the wage gap.
That is money NOT going into a retirement plan.
One income to pay the mortgage and keep the roof over your head and leak-free.
One income to cover taxes and utilities. You might not cook but you like lights and heat in the dead of winter.
One income to insure you, to clothe you, to educate, entertain and nourish you.
One to pay the vet and Pet Smart. One to get you from here to there and back.
One income to keep you hydrated, to keep you safe and to keep you shorn.
Speaking of shoes.
There is this myth that single women spend money with reckless abandon only to end up desperate old bag ladies forced to eat cat food. HA! The number of shoes you have is Carrie Bradshaw-ish but how many have red Louboutin soles and how many came in orange Payless bags -that you save, just in case?
No, the reason single women can’t save gets back to where we started. Emergency funds and retirements are the true luxuries.
Personal note: I launched SingleandtheSweetSideof40.com because being single does not suck and I want to tell the world. Singles are discriminated against and considered defective. That really SUCKS and the website is my way of trying to serve you and set the record straight.
That said, SingleandtheSweetSideof40.com was also supposed to be the beginning of my “encore career,” my post-telecommunications-consulting work, filled with passion and creating change. In other words, this blogging thing was supposed to be a second income. Instead, it’s been out-go.
That’s what I worry about most right now. Where to take SingleandtheSweetSideof40.com so it continues to be a source of comfort and laughs (I hope) for you and at the same time, create that critical second income. I worry 24/7.
The “Let’s Make a TV Show” project is an experiment. I intend to see if we develop a viable show concept but I also intend to use all the ideas you shared in some form. A book, for instance, or short story.
What else should I try? Should the website tell stories, instead of giving advice? Should it be stories from my life? What have you done to create a second income?
Please email me at sweetsideof40.gmail.com with your thoughts, ideas and successes.
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This week, on our “Let’s Make a TV Show” project: Rachel and money. She is a CEO, which makes her ultimately responsible for the income of every employee. She also has the same core money worry every single woman has: becoming a cat-food-eating-homeless-bag-lady.
Show Genre: Drama/Mystery Heroine: Rachel Dennis, CEO
Concept: Rachel developed an algorithm to enable dynamic authentication of commenters on websites while in college. She founded and continues to run a network security company that provides cloud-based credentialing and certification services. To date, none of her solutions has been penetrated; her clients’ data and networks have been 100% secure. Realizing this unblemished record is statistically improbable if not downright impossible, Rachel quietly examines her company and finds some troubling patterns.
Rachel is the boss.
How many employees does she have?
Is Rachel’s company profitable?
Does Rachel have any trouble making payroll? Did she ever?
Who is the highest paid employee?
How much money does Rachel make?
Is Rachel’s company overly-reliant on one or two customers?
Could Rachel’s company survive a physical disaster or act of God?
What are Rachel’s long term financial plans and goals?
Is Rachel generous to friends and family? To employees?
Has Rachel’s generosity or lack thereof caused problems?
Do Rachel and the company have a reputation as good employers?
What is Rachel’s personal financial situation? Does she own her home, car, significant possessions? Does she spend money without much thought, and can she afford to?
Who does Rachel trust with money, her own and the company’s?