If You're Still Single, That's On You!
Rapper T.I. recently asserted that a woman wouldn't be a good choice for president because they are too emotional.
There's so much that can be unpacked from that statement about sexism, culture, society, patriarchy, and ignorance, but for now we'll just examine the issue of popping off at the mouth.
Oprah came to this concise and accurate conclusion about T.I.'s statement: "I think people just like to talk."
Not think. Not reason. Just move the mouth and let words tumble out.
Words can be disconcerting when they're delivered as if they're profound, like the often said, "If you're still single, that's on you!"
You've probably heard this said before. Maybe it was said to you or perhaps you overheard it in conversation. When you hear it, you know immediately by the tone in which it's spoken that it's not just an innocuous statement. It is an accusation. It is a clear message that your single status is your fault.
I used to get so irritated by the phrase because it sounded so judgy and arrogant. I mean, I wondered who was anybody to speak on my life without knowing my story? And who was anybody to speak down to me or place blame? It put me on the defense.
One day an ex-boyfriend and I were talking about this--he'd heard it before, too--and during the course of our conversation I realized that "If you're still single, that's on you" was in fact true. There was something about our conversation that altered my perspective. Before, I'd only considered the arrogance of the speaker and the framing of the phrase as an accusation. But then, I started to consider my side--why I was actually single and all the good that represented. It represented my ability to say no to and/or walk away from unhealthy and/or unproductive relationships. It represented my right to choose a partner based on what's best for me. And it represented hope for the future and trust in my decisions, which were and still are the reason for my relationship status. I am single, it's on me, and I own it.
Even if I've made bad decisions, that's fine, too. Life and learning.
There was one more thing I considered about the phrase that I hadn't before. And that is how darn profound the speaker believes themselves to be stating the obvious.
Here's what's obvious: any place you are in life is on you. Married, single, divorced, sad, happy, content, whatever, it's on you. We're all responsible for our decisions and the outcome of those decisions. Not that that's a revelation or anything. Ironically, this truth seems to be lost on anyone who ever speaks these words, but neither truth nor disappointing trivial observations seem obvious when someone is "just talking."
To take a queue from Captain Obvious's playbook, let's go over this:
If you're coupled, that's on you.
If you're happy, that's on you.
If you're angry, that's on you.
If you're on a cruise ship, that's on you.
If you wore hammer pants in the 90's, that's on you.
If you're on the phone, that's on you.
And if you're single? Yep. On you.
Here's the thing. Sadly, we're forced to deal with Captain Obvious at every step of life's journey. Take for instance how people love to inform me that I'm short, as if I have no idea and as if noting it makes them clever. We can't escape it. It's a fact of life. People just like to talk. And guess what? That's on them!
Photo credit: Gabriel Santiago via Unsplash