GOOD executive editor Ann Friedman, who has no interest in getting married, has proposed reframing the term “spinster”: “I want to reclaim it, like ‘bitch,’ until it carries the same connotation as ‘bachelor’: free, fun, independent, loving life.” For long-term singles like us, constructing jokes around the #foreveralone hashtag helps recode activities society sees as lonely and pathetic to ones we see as lonely and awesome. I often listen to a sad song that has a lyric that goes like this: “I know you feel how I do, too, and even though I’m close to you, I can’t be what you need, ‘cause you’re just as lost as me.” He sings it like it’s a sad thing, but I think it’s really romantic—one of my life goals is to be close to other people, but not to get tied down to them, and that song helps me remember that.
I liked this piece for a lot of reasons, but my favorite concept is the one she mentions at the end — having the goal of creating intimacy with people without being “tied down to them.” I think part of getting to happy for most of us – in relationships or not — is learning how to be in relationship with people without being suffocated by the roles that come with that. One of the scary, alienating and sometimes adventuresome and exciting things about being single is that you get to choose the boundaries of what it means to be close to another person romantically or socially. Since our culture is in flux, I think it’s even harder to determine what a normal version of that looks like romantically.