"You have a pretty full
fridge for a single gal," my friend Kathy said as she reached in for a
It wasn't the first
time someone had commented that my refrigerator "doesn't look like a
single person's." I've never understood what this means. Is there some
rule that single people can't have fresh food?
People, or at least the
people I know, have some strange ideas about singlehood. They seem to
think that singles must settle for less -- and some of them are single
themselves. For example, one woman said she wouldn't turn on her home
air conditioning on one of the hottest days of the summer because "it's
just me." I'm not sure whether this rule also applies to her furnace on
really cold days. Others don't bother with things such as decorating for
the holidays or even celebrating holidays. And cooking? Never, unless
you count microwave popcorn.
"Oh, I'd never cook
just for myself," people tell me. I don't get that. It's less work to
cook for one than to cook for a group. Plus, I know the meal will be
something I like and there probably will be leftovers.
People who haven't seen
my house at Christmastime assume that my decorations amount to nothing
more than a Charlie Brown tabletop tree. I'm fully grown; there's no
reason my Christmas tree shouldn't be, too.
And you should see the
looks I get when I tell people I make Christmas dinner for my family.
This tradition started a few years ago when I bought my condo. The group
isn't the same each year, but it's always some combination of parents,
siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews, and usually numbers about a
Now I'm not saying I'd
want to cook for 12 people -- or even a smaller group -- every day, but
I enjoy cooking for guests occasionally. Also, it helps dispel the
notion that all single people eat their meals either in restaurants or
leaning over the kitchen sink at home.
Maybe I'm the oddball
because I don't fit the single-person stereotype. But I've been single
all of my 43 years and I just don't believe that unmarried people have
to settle for less. If I had subsisted on takeout food and microwave
popcorn and never turned on my air conditioner, I'd probably wouldn't
have lived this long.
Most of the time I just
have to laugh at people's theories about singles. One of those came up
during the blackout of 2003, which hit just as I was starting my shift
at The PD.
When it became clear
that we were going to be working in the dark all evening, I went out to
get the big flashlight I keep in my car. It's in there for road
emergencies, but this seemed like a good time to bring it out.
"Must be a single woman
thing," a co-worker said as I returned to the newsroom. "My sister is
single and she keeps one of those in her car, too."
Well, sure. As everyone
knows, when a woman gets married she doesn't have to give up her name,
but she does have to give up her flashlight.
We singles have the
power to change things. We don't have to drive compact cars, live in
studio apartments, buy our soup in single-serving cans or order only
We don't always have to
be the ones to work weekends and holidays "because other people have
families." We can hold our own weekend parties and holiday functions
(now that we've moved out of our studio apartments).
We are free to turn on
our air conditioners in the summer and our furnaces in the winter, even
if we're home alone.
And we women, even if
we get married, will refuse to give up our flashlights.