Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Apparently people of my generation look at the word "single" differently than people of earlier generations.
I spent the New Year's weekend in West Virginia with my mom and grandmother. I am not sure how the conversation was initiated; I sort of tuned in halfway through to my mom and grandmother talking about how the "kids these days" don't define "single" the same way that they do. According to mom and grandma, you are single until you are married. No ifs ands or buts. I was confused.
"So do you consider Teresa to be single?" I asked.
Teresa is my sister. She and her boyfriend are celebrating their third anniversary today in the home they own together with the dog and cats they adopted together. However, they are not married and therefore both mom and grandma consider Teresa single. I found this a little confusing.
"Do you go around telling people that Teresa is single?" I asked.
Apparently, mom does. That seemed strange to me. In my mind that is like denying her relationship with Mike in someway or passive-aggressively indicating you wish Mike didn't exist. However, it is nothing of the sort. Mom likes Mike. They are just not married, so they are single.
It doesn't work that way for me. If someone was to say to me, "Hey, your sister is hot. Is she single?" I would most definitely say no. If I said yes, I would be indicating that she was available in some way, which she obviously is not.
I also do not consider my littlest sister single. She has been with her boyfriend for at least two years, which is outside my definition of single. In fact, anyone with a significant other they consider their boyfriend or girlfriend would be outside of the single definition for me.
I am not sure if the two are linked, but I feel like the social networking sites I am on (read: facebook) cover all the possible relationship options that I am familiar with using. You are only single when you don't fit into any of the other options. Whereas mom and grandma would consider everyone single who didn't fit into the married category, though I suppose they would make room for engaged. I am curious if this is a pretty standard generational discrepancy in word usage or if there are regional or religious elements that come into play as well.
Posted by Cale