I visited my hometown last weekend to check in on my parents, but mostly to get my hair done (my Mom and Dad will probably out-live us all, not to mention I had just seen them the weekend before when we went to the Phillies game). Waiting for me upon my arrival was a stack of magazines, almost up to my knees and in that pile were a couple of Marie Claires.
See, my mom has a subscription to just about every magazine published. She curates from her collection a selection that she think I would enjoy and leaves them in a pile for me.
My mom was most excited to show me your June issue. Right there on the cover, she pointed out, was a story I was sure to love: “The New Revolution. Love and the Single Girl.”
The next day, over breakfast, my mom asked me what I thought of the article. I rolled my eyes and told her it annoyed me. I then started explaining why. The problem is, I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was that so bothered me.
Then, last week, I was talking to Hot Attorney, really trying to concentrate on what he was saying and not fantasize about all the things I wish he was saying when it hit me – the second vignette. The second vignette in your article is what pissed me off. I went home a re-read it and I was exactly as I remembered.
It started out so well: “Putting themselves first and a wedding ring second, a new generation of women fights for their rights to be left alone (literally) and then went on to point out all the recent attacks on single women (even some I didn’t know about or really perceive as attacks). The article actually has the words, “We are living through the invention of independent female adulthood.”
What isn’t there to love about this article?
Well, after the one page of celebration, with all your quotes and facts and figures, the three vignettes followed. Three little stories about three different single women at three different points in their lives, all expressing a different hardship of being single.
Now, I am not an us versus them sort of girl. I have nothing but respect for married and coupled women. Almost all of my friends are married or in relationships. However, in the instance of Vignette Number Two (or VNT as I’m gonna call her), I have to say it: she isn’t single. She never was single. She was dumped and is now presumably back in a relationship. Using her six-months wandering the city looking for a karaoke bar where she could shine in a article about how awesome it is to be single is like using a woman that likes to make out with her girlfriends when she is drunk to the delight of all of the male bar patrons in a story about living as a lesbian.
Was VNT’s story adorable? Yes. I am equal parts impressed that she went to karaoke bars and got up and sang all by herself and glad that she found a new dude and they are getting married soon. However, you should have saved her triumph over tragedy for the inevitable getting over him piece you will run in February. Because it has no business in an article about women choosing to be single.
I get it. You prefer to include three vignettes because three is a magic number when it comes to examples to back a theory and choruses in pop songs. But there had to have been better examples out there. Why not talk to my friend who called off her wedding when she realized she wanted to be married more than she wanted to be married to her fiancé. Or, if you were looking for a happy ending (which you clearly still define as in a relationship) then talk to any one of my now coupled off/married friends that were single well into their 30s, dating like crazy but never settling down until they found someone that was worth it.
Further, why were the other two vignettes about how hard it is to be single – a pesky father and always having to move over a seat at a bar so a couple could sit down? Where were the triumphant stories of dates so terrible they still make your friends laugh. Or stories about girlfriend-only vacations or the good they are doing throughout the world because they aren’t tied to a home and a family -- there has to be one female doctor out there curing some disease that can shrug and say, yeah, saving lives doesn’t leave me a whole lot of time to date. Where was she?
Do I seem a little over upset about this article? Maybe. But it is just because I had such high hopes. My mother and I both did. And it was just such a disappointment.
Then again, maybe I should stop pinning my hopes to a magazine with other coverlines that included “Extreme Weight Loss Confessions” and “Get it Now! Sexy Summer Style.”