Every part of life, the world too, is storied. Stories are the thread that hold histories and truths together. Stories are at the core of myth-making. Everything that we know is part of multiple crisscrossing relational storylines that we raise and those that we have no power in raising.
Marriage also feels complicated when one approaches it through the lens of feminism. Marriage throws in two people and often their families into a system designed to perpetuate patriarchy, subjugate women, and bind men and women (in heteronormative marriage) into strict roles in the marriage.
If we are to reimagine coupledom and sexuality, we need to expand and challenge our ideas about togetherness, romance, love, intimacy, desire, sex, attachment, and so on.
Both rejections and affirmations of the couple are skewered on this doubleness: It is the fullest expression of love and proximity available to us, and it bears all the insufficiencies of present social relations. Monogamous romantic commitment, like infallible lifelong attraction to only men or only women, is surely a minority tendency expediently elevated to a general social principle.
I now feel comfortable entertaining the thought that my ease with my selfhood does not necessarily have to be threatened by the possibility of love in coupledom. Indeed, comfort with one’s self can actually evolve into healthier forms of love towards the other(s).
In this issue of In Plainspeak our contributors reflect on and reveal the myriad facets of being single – is it a choice? A condition? A state of being? Lonely? Joyful? Not one or the other, but a glorious mix?
The only hitch was that neither the agents nor the landlords who lurked behind those rentable flats were particularly keen on leasing their precious properties to a – what! Divorcee??!! No, no, madam, but this flat is only for families.
Emma Watson spoke to British Vogue about the incredible amounts of stress and anxiety that follows, “…if you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby, and you are turning 30, and you’re not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career, or you’re still figuring things out…”
By the end of the evening, the room was suffused with the celebration of singlehood, rather than any explanation or apology for it. It appeared that the solitary life was envied and extolled by those who have opted out of it as well as many who haven’t.
Growing up, for me, has been about accepting that the loneliness and sadness woven into the fabric of my being do not go away with entering conventional arrangements like monogamous relationships or marriage.
For a queer person, or for someone who remains single by choice, everyday existence requires strength and will. That is the embodiment of kun faya kun as a personal philosophy: to manifest the person you want to be through sheer will.
I believe that queer friendships and intimacies are sheer resistance, which not only swallow the despair and pain that might be perpetrated on gender-nonconforming people by their families, but also recognise all the lies about love that have been sold to us.
I am 27 now and marriage is the most brought-up topic of conversation by my parents and relatives. Now, choosing or wanting to stay single is inversely proportional to my reputation, respect, and worthiness.
The social value of the platonic relationship needs to be restated: Too many boys today grow up with the idea that their relations with women (who are not their mothers and/or sisters) are confined to an oversexualised romantic bubble.