September 18, 2003
Someone call Oliver Stone, I've uncovered a conspiracy. The system is trying to keep the single woman down. That's right, the world revolves around happy little couples. And who pays the price? I'll tell you who pays the price. Single people, that's who. And we're not going to take it anymore.
Think I've lost it? Think I'm a few bagels short of a dozen? Well open your eyes. The conspiracy sticks out like a tall man in a synagogue.
Flip to today's travel section. See all those great cruise deals? $249 for three days to Baja; $549 for five days to the Caribbean. Fine print reads: double occupancy only. Cruising alone? No discount for you. You're paying a single-traveler surcharge, baby.
The airlines are running friends-fly-free deals -- perfect for the happy couple going home for the High Holidays. But I'm flying solo, so I'm paying total. They don't give me 50 percent off one ticket rather than 100 percent off a second. And they won't let me use the free ticket on myself at a later date. Oh no -- we're talking companion fare or nothing.
And it's not just the travel industry. Health clubs are offering joint membership deals -- but only to couples who live together. This makes no sense, since it's McDaters like me who spend hours running, sculpting and sweating at the gym, hoping to perfect our come-meet-me bods. Even Verizon Wireless runs a two-for-one cellular scam. Still think I'm crazy or can you hear my conspiracy now?
And this monopolization by twos goes all the way to the top. It's evident throughout Judaism: Noah's animals came aboard by twos; the two tablets of the covenant; the two Torah scrolls; two Shabbat candles. Don't even get me started on the Jews who say unmarried women can only light one candle. So let me get this straight. The married woman gets a full set of candles and a husband who's obligated to make her happy on Shabbat, and I'm lighting my own single flame? Something's not kosher, I tell you.
And check out your local synagogue gift shop. That's right. Flip through the sisterhood cookbook. All the recipes for kugel, brisket and chicken -- they serve four, six, sometimes eight people. Perfect for those couples-only holiday dinners. But what about me, the single cook, who noshes alone? If I follow the published recipes, I'll be eating brisket until the Best's Kosher cows come home. I know, I know -- I could divide all the measurements proportionately and prepare something small for myself. And I often do. But just once, I'd like to see a single-serving cookbook that forces the oh-so-cute couples of the congregation to multiply the recipes to fit their needs.
Restaurants are in on the racket, too. They set tiny tables for two, then make a scene over sweeping away a setting when I arrive alone. The host whisks away the plate and announces to the waiter -- and everyone east of the 405 -- "table seven is a one top. I repeat, table seven is ... well, she's a loser." One day, I'd love to walk into a restaurant that has a preset table for one.
When will restaurants realize, the matrimonially challenged need food, too?
And this conspiracy goes beyond the marketplace, it seeps into the public psyche. Members of the married majority look at us like we're pathetic. Just last week I took myself to see "Pirates of the Caribbean"at the Arclight in Hollywood. Since the opening credits were already rolling, I ignored my seat assignment and asked a woman and her husband if the seat next to theirs was taken.
"No. But there's just the one seat."
"No room for your date."
"Yeah, I don't have date."
"Oh," she said with a sigh and that familiar head tilt, "I'm so sorry."
I don't need your sympathy, lady. I'm not the Maytag repairman. My phone rings (sometimes). I want to explain to this woman, to the whole theater, that I see a movie a week by myself because I like it. I see what I want. I sit where I want. And nobody spends the car ride home asking me to play pirate babe. My point is, I don't feel bad about being alone, so I don't want anyone else to feel bad for me.
Which is why I hopped up on the soapbox today. I want to get my message out there. I want to change society's attitude toward singles. And change starts from within. Society doesn't market to singles because we don't make it worth its while. We don't travel alone. Or dine alone. Or catch flicks alone. And when we do, we don't do it with dignity. We duck into the theater after the previews start, we order in food from Wok Fast and we take Contiki bus tours through Europe.
No wonder the marrieds feel sorry for us. But no more. No one puts Carin in the corner. I'm taking a stand. That's right. I will no longer be a victim. I will bring the establishment down like the walls of Jericho. I'll put an end to this anti-single conspiracy. And I'm here, today, to ask you to join the revolution.
I'm looking for a few good singles to rally with me. Do I have any volunteers? Preferably male. Tall. On the athletic side. What? Like I want to be single and proud forever?
Carin Davis, a freelance writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.