I very rarely, if ever, write about truly personal subject matters on this blog; I try to reserve it as a space to discuss my professional and creative endeavours. However, over the last six months or so, since I went on my first Photobooth Expedition trip, it seems like one personal matter keeps creeping up into my professional life.
I unabashedly have been single for the last 3 and half years. To be more specific, in the last two years, I have casually dated but I never considered myself to be anyone’s girlfriend. Nor have I wanted to be; my singlehood has served me well! (Just look how happy I am in this photo without a real boyfriend!)
I get asked fairly regularly, “how do you get so much work done?” And one of my answers is “SINGLEHOOD!” If you think about it, relationships, especially at the start take up an enormous amount of time; everything from going on dates to shaving your legs on a regular basis. It adds up and I’m very particular with how I choose to spend my time.
I’d like to iterate that I’m not anti-relationship and my soul isn’t bitter and shriveled. Like many people, I hope to grow old and wrinkly in someone else’s old and wrinkly arms. In fact, I even look forward to it!
So here’s where this factors into my professional life. Usually after I finish an interview for Photobooth: A Biography and the interviewee and I have bonded over geeky photobooth facts, they often casually make a comment about my relationship status. Sometimes it’s a polite inquiry into how am I able to sustain a relationship with this type of work and other times it’s more adventitious and presumptuous.
This summer I was asked this question in some form about a dozen times. (And one time these were the exact words, I had the audio recorder going.)
“Is your boyfriend okay with you doing all this traveling?”
Oh boy, let me break that down. Firstly, it presumes my sexual orientation. Secondly it presumes that because I’ve got my life together that I must also be in a relationship as part of that package. And lastly, it implies that this supposed boyfriend is stuck in the 50s if he’s on the fence about me going off on my own.
I’m not so sensitive that I’ve been outwardly offended by these questions, I just simply explain that I've chosen to be single for this part of my life. And I’d like to stress that I’m not bringing this up to slight the wonderful people who’ve helped me with this book, they’ve all be fantastic and wonderful. I expect I would get questions like these regardless of the reason behind my travels.
My issue is a societal one. One where the assumption is that a “together person” can’t also be a single person. And furthermore, the major assumption that being in love is always preferential to not being in love.
So here’s my honest truth-- choosing to “not be in love” over the last few years has been the best thing I could have done for myself, for both my personal and professional development. It’s not hard being single but it is sometimes difficult to explain to my loving family why they shouldn’t fret about my love life. I would love for singlehood to be recognized as a healthy choice people are able to make instead of as a circumstance they’re stuck in.
I know there are a whole lot of people in this boat, I'd like to hear your comments about single stigmas or support too.