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A Single Manifesto

Punk legend Viv Albertine on Fresh Air today:

“I don’t intend to enter into any more relationships. I absolutely have had it and I’m pleased and feel privileged to be in that situation because I’m solvent. I have a very interesting life.

I have a daughter. I have my imagination. I have friends. I, in no way, am going to louse that up with some idiot man, frankly. They drag you down — I’m talking about my generation of men. Ok, I’m sure out there there are some good ones, and I say in the book, either I can’t pick a good one or there aren’t any around. Either way, I’m out. …

I really think it’s a complete and utter con. I feel sorry for girls getting caught up in it and still thinking they have to define themselves and their success by being in a relationship, straight women, straight girls, by being in a heterosexual relationship or being in any relationship as if that’s in any way a mark of what kind of successful human being you are.”


16 comments for “A Single Manifesto”

  1. Lauren says:

    I was inspired to comment after her statement “I feel sorry for girls getting caught up init and still thinking they have to define themselves…by being in a relationship” I was that girl a decade ago when a lot of my girlfriends starting getting married and I was still single. I wanted what they were having. But after a decade of being single and making my choices based on what I want I am the happiest I have ever been. Currently I am in a relationship with a man who is gets “caught up in it” and I defend myself by asking him why it is so important to DEFINE THE RELATIONSHIP! We live in a time where we get to set our own rules about love and independence. I like to think as long as we keep sharing all of our experiences and live in our own truth we will have the best relationship with ourselves. The magic IS in me.

  2. Liz says:

    Very powerful – thanks for sharing it, Wendy. How true are her insights for women much younger than she? I think still very relevant.

    • wendy says:

      She’s in her 60’s, and already has a daughter. So, in a sense, it’s a luxurious position to say, I’m done. But still, I so appreciate her point of view. It would have helped me to have read that 20 years ago.

      • Claire says:

        Wendy, I also thought she’s coming from a bit different position as someone single with no children. She may not be interested in any romantic relationships but a child certainly provides a type of meaningful relationship that is different from friendships. I love this thought that the magic is in you.

        • wendy says:

          I don’t know from first-hand experience about the relationship with a child – except for the one with my dog, and that’s pretty magical.

          • Claire says:

            I don’t have kids either. But I think it was All the Single Ladies that made it seem children without a partner could be a great and maybe in some instances, desirable, experience.

          • wendy says:

            The single parents I know work their butts off –

      • Dee says:

        I think it is a luxurious position to say “I’m done” when you’ve already had the experience of being in a relationship and having a child. I don’t want a child, but I sometimes feel like I’m missing out never having had a long-term relationship at 40. It’s so much easier to say you don’t want something, when you’ve already tried it. I’m just left wondering and trying (sometimes floundering) to make a single life with nothing to compare it to except some doomed short-term flings and bad first dates…

  3. Gigi says:

    This could not have come at a better time! I just deactivated my on-line profile from OK Cupid before I came here. The closer I got to getting a date the more afraid I became. I kept asking myself why am I messing with my perfect life, my friends, my family, my alone time, my financial and personal independence and health.

    Love takes a leap of faith but at my age of 60 I wonder do I want to waste a good leap on love something I already have in my life? I have yet to witness a marriage that makes me sad I don’t have one.

    It’s like donating all those pencil skirts when I retired it felt so liberating. To realize I only need myself to have magic in my life is the most liberating feeling of all.

    Love love love this post Wendy, thank you so much for posting it at the perfect time:)

  4. Amy says:

    Sorry to play devil’s advocate here, but I wonder if the right person did happen to come along if she would take back a bit of what she said. Just saying it could happen. At any age. I personally know some great marriages, and if I could find that I would trade it for my single life in a heartbeat.

    • wendy says:

      I absolutely hear you, Amy. During the interview, Terry Gross really pushed back at the notion that there aren’t any good relationships. (Gross has been married for decades.) I still found Albertine’s comments very liberating.

  5. Petra says:

    I reread this post and while agreeing with the basic sentiment of “don’t define yourself via a relationship”, I’m a little annoyed at her putting the onus on straight women. Getting one’s self worth from a romantic relationship is by no means limited to heterosexual women.
    That said, I do remember The Slits and they were badass!

    • wendy says:

      I understood this point, particularly if viewed from a historical lens before marriage equality. I came of age in San Francisco, and many of my friends at the time were gay. And being single, I felt kinship, as if we were all relationship outsiders together.

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