I’ve just finished reading a poignant piece by Charlotte Brozek, widowed recently called No husband, no friends where she talks about the invisibility of single people. The world is designed for couples and us singles are irrelevant. She writes about her isolation after the death of her husband. Couples they used to be friends were suddenly nowhere to be seen. This is by no means only a problem for those whose spouses have died. Us divorced people are just as invisible.
It’s interesting that I came across this article now, because in the frenetic pre Diwali festive season I spent many a moment wondering what was wrong with me, my life, my stage of life, my friends, the city I live in, the environment I live in, the times I live in because having a social life is such a huge struggle. Diwali melas were explored alone, shopping for gifts was a solitary activity, the one daughter who lives in the same city was away on work and friends simply finish their Diwali chores themselves or with their spouses. If truth be told most of them refuse to go to Diwali melas. I do so only because it’s not healthy for me to be alone at home 24×7. But I am the only person who thinks so.
The thought never crosses anybody’s mind – that there are single people, whose children have left home, who work from home, who have so little interaction with humanity that they have to figure out ways to be with people. Nobody remembers the singles. They need to keep jumping up and down saying -” Hi – how are you, I’m still here.”I am not speaking from victim position when I say this. I’m not complaining – simply stating a fact. A single person is an anomaly, a strange subterranean creature whom nobody thinks of. That’s just how it is.
Holidays. Grown up children don’t want to go on holiday with a single parent. They may go on holiday with a parent who has married again, on family weddings and family get togethers – that’s enough family time for them. They don’t want to have to ‘look after’ their single parent – making time to go on holiday with such a parent is really asking too much. Singletons then explore the option of group tours. Who takes those things? Clearly not families because they have more than enough company and plenty of requirements of the individual family members to plan their own holidays. Couples? I would think not since going on holiday as a couple is the ideal way to holiday. There are two of you ensuring you’re safe and there aren’t too many of you squabbling about what to do, what to eat, when to go out… But do you think these group holidays are aimed at singles? No way – everything is on twin sharing basis. We divorced people can either be truly adventurous and branch out on our own – easier said than done if you’re a woman… in India – the rape capital of the world, or we can try and persuade another single to share a room with one. But you need to have a friend you want to travel with. You’re also less likely to make new friends if you’re twin sharing with someone you already know but whom you wouldn’t necessarily choose to go on holiday with but only ask along because it’s convenient. Be warned – this act of expediency may cost you your friendship. The friend you enjoy a half hour’s natter with may be very trying on holiday in a shared room.
What’s left for us? All women holiday tours are safe – you won’t get unwanted male attention – but you”ll be with women who want to visit mandirs and not bars. I like going to both. All women holidays can be a little lame. They don’t have to be but they mostly cater to the less adventurous, less athletic sort of woman. I prefer a more balanced kind of holiday – not Brahmakumaris travel the world. So – I’m stuck – at least until I set out on my own somewhere and watch the world from the sidelines that I have been relegated to because I’m a singleton without a family. A highly unnecessary person. I am now feeling a little sorry for myself, so I’m going to stop.
Does anyone have any solutions to this travel dilemma?
Posted on November 4, 2013, in Divorce, Holiday festivals, Smug married types and tagged assumptions, children, festivals, India, singles travel, singleton, stereotypes, widows, women. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.