“All Things Single” readers, I’m blogging to you first. My new book, Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matterse, and How to Stop It – written together with 28 other contributors – is now available. You can get it here at Amazon, though as I write this, Amazon has not yet added the description of the book. (They build book pages one or two sections at a time.) You can also get the paperback here, at the book’s own page, where the description does show up.
I try never to let a full week pass without posting here but I seem to have blown it this time. It is for a good reason, though. I have been totally engaged in working on the Singlism book, the one I described earlier that will include lots of contributions from other wonderful thinkers, authors, and activists as well as my own writings. I’ve been organizing the contributions, doing some editing, and refining my own articles and essays. Now I’m rereading every page to be sure it is all in order. I’m very excited about this.
When I discovered the book “The Challenge of Being Single,” I was excited to find a book that was helpful for navigating our couple-centric world. Marie Edwards’ book grew out of workshops she offered for singles to overcome their shame and learn to be comfortably single. It was published in 1974. These workshops are no longer offered, though her Singles Manifesto still rings very true. It still very much is a challenge to be single. So, I decided to offer a workshop inspired by Edwards’ work but also informed by newer research by Bella DePaulo and Kay Trimberger. I call this workshop a Singles Empowerment Workshop.
If you’ve read Singled Out, you know my take on the so-called marriage penalty in taxes – it is actually a bonus. Single people are the one who get penalized. A law review article comes to the same conclusion.
There’s a different sense of the marriage penalty that actually is real, according to sociologists Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian. They talk about marriage as a greedy institution, because it wants all of the interpersonal time and attention for itself. As I’ve been discussing at Living Single, people who are married pay less attention to other people in their lives than do people who are single. They are less likely to stay in close touch with their siblings, friends, parents, or neighbors, or to support them in emotional or practical ways.
Knowing my interest in different kinds of personal communities, a friend recently gave me a copy of Isabel Allende’s 2008 memoir, The Sum of Our Days. She thought I would appreciate what Allende calls her “tribe.” She was right about that. Allende has all manner of important people in her life, including her grown children and the people dear to them, her spouse (the second one, Willie), her grandchildren, a pair of lesbian Buddists who become parents to one of her granddaughters, a stranger she meets in a bookstore, people who work for her and the people around her, a circle of close friends she calls her “sisters of disorder,” and many more. She doesn’t just keep in touch with those people – she wants as many of them as possible living in her own home or nearby.