Please forgive me if I don’t “wax nostalgic” over New Year’s Eve. This holiday, as several others, leaves unattached singles at loose ends particularly at the stroke of midnight. What are we supposed to do?
New Year’s Eve is all glitter and flash which can be fun…. But, it is also most often associated with expending gobs of money and excessive use of alcoholic beverages. I like my wine occasionally, but have never ever been a “bar fly.” It’s okay in small doses, but I’d rather be somewhere else.
However, this is just one example in which single professionals “going it alone” are at a distinct advantage in our society.
We have made great strides in acknowledging single parenthood and even coupled parenthood without the benefit of marriage. There are single adults by choice, and/or never having found the right person such as myself; There are those who are single by divorce or widow(er) status and don’t want to “try again.” There are many in the LGBTQ community who may chose to habitually shop around versus commit to anyone. There are disenfranchised people whose lifestyle choices and habits may always make them a single outcast. (You know who I mean…) It’s the professional singles who are often “left out in the cold” whose interests are never considered. Thank God we have evolved to the point of singledom not being “just a temporary holding pattern” until the white knight appears. Maybe we don’t need the white (or minority) knight! Maybe the white knight would be too high maintenance for some of us.
Consider the Facebook post I wrote on New Year’s Eve 2016-17 to reach out to others in the same boat as I.
SINGLES PROFESSIONALS UNITE! God needs to invent a holiday for single people. Truth be told, I’ve never cared for this holiday. We are forgotten by Hallmark, by families, by our legislators, by society as a whole. Occasionally, we are mentioned if we have “disposable income”, but that’s basically the extent of it.
It’s too bad, because we are a valuable resource, have a lot to offer the world and are just as important as the married people and parents. But, who ever realizes us as a group? So, to all the people in my group, you are important and don’t need to be defined by someone on your arm tonight! Upward and onward in 2017. Be who you are…even if you are single and like it that way!
In most cases, we are not considered in the family dynamic for what we can offer surrounded by the married ones; We are conveniently left out of coupled invitations, “the third wheel”. We are never considered by our elected legislators as needing fairer laws and public policies to help us meet financial burdens and future retirement. We seldom have appropriate greeting cards for our busy lifestyles.
With 51 percent of the America unmarried as of 2012, sociologist Eric Klinenberg wrote in his “Going Solo” book, that more than a quarter of us are living in a one person household and (irrespective of romance) we’re not “getting a lot of love” regarding fair treatment.
For example, New York psychology professor, Dr. Bella DePaulo points out that we can start right from the top in government –
The U.S. government not only turns a blind eye to the problem of “singleism,” but helps enforce it, activists say. Just look at Social Security. “A childless singleton can work side by side with a childless married person, doing the same job, for the same number of years, at the same level of accomplishment—and when the married person dies, that worker can leave his or her Social Security benefits to a spouse,” says DePaulo. “The single person’s benefits go back into the system.”
UNRECOGNIZED AND UNCHALLENGED
Why does anyone have to be part of any kind of couple to get the same federal benefits and protections as anyone else?”
They don’t get the same kind of tax breaks. Co-op boards, mortgage brokers, and landlords often pass them over. So do the employers with the power to promote them. “Singleism—stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against people who are single—is largely unrecognized and unchallenged.” Other arenas include insurance and health care –
People don’t notice singleism, and if their attention is called to it, they think there’s nothing wrong. That’s why, for instance, car and health insurance companies get away with charging less for couples and families. “They can attract more business [that way],” DePaulo notes. In the process, they leave single people to essentially subsidize the benefit by paying more. “When married workers can add spouses to a health-care plan at a discount and single workers can’t add someone important to them, that’s discrimination,” says DePaulo.
According to Seattle Law Professor Lily Kahng- Author of “One Is the Loneliest Number: The Single Taxpayer in a Joint Return World”, Hastings Law Journal,“Unmarried people also lose out when it comes to taxes.” Further – That married workers are able to transfer wealth and property to spouses—and others—tax-free, while the unmarried cannot; Ms. Kahng concludes that the joint return penalizes single people and should be abolished.
Married people had a supermajority of political power at the time the [current tax] rules were enacted, according to Ms. Kahng.
When we look at disposable income and quality time… by and large, single contribute more, says sociologist Eric Klinenberg –
“On average, singles have more disposable income. They’re fueling urban economies that would be in much worse shape without them. compared to married people, they’re more likely to spend time with neighbors, to participate in public events, and to volunteer.”
If you live in Europe – Marriage Historian Stephanie Coontz relates – “The penalties for being single in this country are worse than in Europe, where individuals have guaranteed access to health care, and they have options beyond a spouse’s death benefits for staying above the poverty line as they age.”
And then there’s Outside the Office – Did you know?
Biased thinking persists, “For the single homeowner or property renter, discrimination is rampant, because the Federal Fair Housing Act does not prohibit marital-status discrimination,” Langburt notes. “Not only do landlords discriminate again singles; real-estate and mortgage brokers discriminate as well.”
According to these experts, the problem is scattered and isolated for formal tracking. In fact, single women are the number one home buyers in the country, but there’s still a silent stigma that these women don’t have money to qualify or that they will be a flight risk.”
Being single – Not exactly a piece of cake… But I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way!
References and Literary Recommendations –
Book – Singled Out- https://www.amazon.com/Singled-Out-Singles-Stereotyped-Stigmatized/dp/0312340826/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483305894&sr=1-1&keywords=single+out+depaulo
Book – Going Solo https://www.amazon.com/Going-Solo-Extraordinary-Surprising-Appeal/dp/0143122770
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