Before we start, a quick lesson in denotation and connotation.
Denotation- the literal, explicit, direct meaning of a word. The dictionary definition. Think denotation, dictionary.
Connotation- The associated meaning of a word. Remember this by thinking an idea connected with the definition is the connotation.
Let’s take a concrete example. We will use the word “home”.
Home- A type of shelter used as a residence by an individual (or multiple individuals).
Home- A comfortable, safe place full of warmth and love.
See the difference? Textbook definition, and then interpreted version. Of course, home could have other connotations: broken place full of hatred and loathing. Some people won’t have a definition of home, especially if they have never lived in one or experienced one.
Moving on to the true purpose of this blog entry.
The other day I had someone (an female, older than me) say “Aww, you’re still single? That’s too bad”.
HOLD UP. Why is being single a bad thing?
Let’s apply what we learned about denotation and connotation to the word single.
The explicit meaning of single, according to Dictionary.com (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/single) is as follows.
As an adjective (a word describing a noun)- one in number, unique. Distinct from other things. Individual. One dollar bill. Composed of one part.
As a verb (action word)- to pick or choose one from others (usually followed by out, “single out”), an accommodation suitable for one person only.
The connotation, on the other hand, is far less positive.
Contemplate these groups of words. After you read, close your eyes if you need to, and just let yourself see the first image or hear the first idea that passes through your gray matter.
Relationship Status: Single
What automatically comes to mind, whether it is jokingly or serious, when a female pulls a wad of singles out of her wallet?
I for one, am TIRED of the negative connotations associated with the word single. For our society, the word single is just a constant reminder of some kind of evil disease. To people today, the word single means ALONE.
Surely I am not alone. I am not the only person left on the face of the planet. I have friends and acquaintances, I have family members and even a cat capable of some kind of distinguishable and understandable speech patterns.
So the sympathetic response I get when other people find out I don’t have a boyfriend has got to stop. The days of “Oh, I know someone who would be perfect for you!” and the “Let me set you up with one of my boyfriend’s friends” are over. Oh, and before I forget: DON’T ask me about my previous relationship, or as you tend to so kindly put it, my breakup. I know people love to gloat in other people’s misery (schadenfreude), but seriously, stop pulling my breakup apart while you try to analyze it. It is called a breakup because it is broken. End of story.
Anyway. People in relationships automatically attach a stigma to the word single, and unfortunately, that stigma has purported every facet of life for both males and females. I can’t speak for the dudes on this subject, but I can speak for the chicks. It is like my female friends who are currently in relationships have completely forgotten what it is like to be one entity. Separate. Unique. An individual.
I’m not saying that people in relationships lose their uniqueness and their individuality. But they do lose the ability to understand what it is like to exist in your sole capacity. Some of my friends have been in relationships for so long that they are afraid to be “alone” and they don’t know what they would do if they weren’t in a relationship, so as soon as one ends another begins.
And don’t get me wrong- relationships can be great. It is a fantastic feeling to have someone in your life whom you love to talk to and spend time with and can relate to on multiple levels. Snuggling up on the couch with your significant other, a bowl of popcorn and a good movie is fantastic.
But I can do those things an be unattached or non-committed. I love to talk to my best friend, and I love to spend time with her and we can relate on plenty of levels. We share common bonds and experiences. We can jump on the couch, wrap ourselves in blankets and pig out on popcorn and snacks and watch ridiculous movies together. I can even do that with my cat! (Seriously, I can. She even eats the popcorn with me.)
In conclusion, yes, assorted family members, I realize that I am the only granddaughter who is old enough to date who isn’t in a relationship. Yes, I realize that I am not getting any younger. Yes, I realize that in order to someday have children I will need some assistance from someone with a y chromosome. Yes, someday I want to be in a relationship.
But not right now. I’m not forcing something that isn’t there. Eventually I will meet someone who makes me weak in the knees and light at heart. Some day I will come home from a date with my cheeks flushed and my hair a little wild. It doesn’t have to happen today, tomorrow, next week, month even next year.
So I will dance around to Single Ladies by Beyonce, enjoy my nights out with my friends, and not have to worry about shaving my legs every SINGLE day.
Note to society: If you stop lacing the word “single” with so much negativity and sympathy, it makes it a hell of a lot easier for us girls to have self confidence and understand self worth. It makes me sad when I see young girls desperate for the attention of the opposite sex. Stop indirectly teaching females that you are more likely to be in a terrorist attack than you are to have a successful relationship. Us single women are not diseased. We are not unlovable, we are not cursed, we are not damaged goods.
We are wonderful.