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Spokesman for the Single Rights Movement This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

People say that maintaining a happy relationship is one of the hardest things in life to do. I say maintaining happiness as a single person is even harder. As we go about our day-to-day lives, we're constantly surrounded by twos. A table for one is secretly a table for two: you plus your nonexistant significant other staring back at you in the form of an empty chair. Ordering a lavish meal gets you a condescending speech from the waiter about how the portions are meant to be shared. Even the condiments on the table are paired, constantly reminding us that one doesn't make a whole. It's virtually impossible to patronize a convenience store without being assaulted with headlines about who's together, who's married, and who's just adopted a foreign child because the single life is just too hard to face alone (I'm looking at you, Sandra Bullock). We can't buy a carton of ice cream without the ­blatant “Buy one, get one free” subtext, loosely translating to “Buy one, get one free for your mate – or have fun crying alone with your extra tub of ice cream.” Let's face it, the world was designed for two.

The idea of couples isn't exactly a new concept; it dates back as far as the biblical age, when Noah gave priority to saving coupled animals, leaving the singles to swim for their sad little lives or perish. What Noah did was both rude and incredibly singlist, a term coined by members of the burgeoning single rights movement. It's ironic to think that even in biblical times, the choice was either to pair up or face a sad, lonely, desperate fate.

Singlism takes many different forms in modern society. A high school girl I knew recently moved on to college. She was a bubbly, vivacious character who was a tad bit boy-crazy (“tad bit” being a tad bit of an understatement). Everyone thought she would find a romance worth documenting via Facebook within the first weeks of college. But a month passed and she had added nothing to her college album, except a picture with her roommates and an unappetizing photo of a plate of half-eaten dorm food. Her close friends responded by half-jokingly, half-seriously calling her out as a transitioning lesbian. This wasn't the first time I'd witnessed “playful” homophobic banter directed at single people. Recently I heard about a guy who enjoyed eating alone; others couldn't understand his lack of interest in pursuing the opposite sex during mealtimes. They labeled him as gay.

Is this our only option? Either pair up, or be single and have others wonder about our sexuality? As a single gay man, I can say that if it was true that every single person out there was homosexual, there would be a lot more gay couples and a lot fewer bitter writers preaching about single rights.

Every girl looks forward to the moment when she can tell her friends, “I met someone.” To our romance-hungry society, these words are equivalent to an S.O.S. signal – people drop whatever they're doing to listen rapturously to their friends' romantic escapades. Currently, the hierarchy of common female conversation topics ranks in the following order, from lowest to hightest: family issues (they're too uncomfortable to discuss for very long), work achievements (let's face it, after the obligatory congratulations, what else are we supposed to say?), and finally, your love life (otherwise known as verbal crack for daily gossipers). In a society built for couples, no matter how great your personal achievements are, your friend with the salacious story about a guy will always steal your thunder.

Through careful thought, I've come to the conclusion that maybe gays and singles aren't as different as I initially thought. I mean, aren't both groups trying to get recognition for their cause? With the intense social focus on dating and relationships, any single is bound to feel like a member of a minority group. And like any minority, we simply want to be treated as equals.

Gays want the right to marry; singles want the right to stay unmarried. The wedding business is currently a $40 billion industry, couples being responsible for only 99 percent of that (the other one percent belongs to Kim Kardash­ian) – not to mention the extra expenses expected of single friends in the form of gifts and plane tickets to help their couple friends celebrate. And don't get me started on the booming divorce industry.

Why do we mainly celebrate occasions involving couple activities? Engagements. Marriages. Births. Two of those are celebrations for the same event! Where's the Hallmark card to congratulate us on being single and fabulous? I say we make a toast to the single life. Who needs a mate when you're enjoying a successful relationship with yourself? And this is one relationship that's truly 'til death do you part.

To any of my friends who are interested in helping me celebrate my singlehood, I'm registered at Walmart. Papa needs the new season of “The Vampire Diaries.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the February 2013 Teen Ink Nonfiction Contest.




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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

GLoveGG said...
Feb. 7, 2013 at 12:20 pm
Omg, I LOVED this article soo much. And...then, I read the last sentence.. I began laughing so hard because this article sounded a whole lot like me.. I love the Vampire Diaries. :) Hehe..
 
alliperkins This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 30, 2013 at 11:35 am
I thought this was really funny. And true. I read it in the magazine, and it's probably one of my favorites this time. :) I think it's a little odd though, that it's under "love" when it's not about love or heartbreak, but wanting to stay single without judgement.
 
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