Ode to Guilt and Shame: Overcoming the Stigma of Solo


Colorful language warning!

For those of us who have ever experienced an unusually long dry spell in between Mr. Rights, the humming and tapping of our feet, waiting for that special someone to trip over us, can feel like an entire decade.

Millions of women each year, vow to get healthy, lose weight…etc, etc., but what they really crave is to be in a fulfilling relationship―despite their insistence that they’re never lonely, they love their life, the only fulfilling relationship they need is the one with their friends, and…if romance happens to come along, well, great, but they weren’t holding their breath.

“Oh, bullshit,” I say to that! Just makes you want to slap them, doesn’t it? Surely they can’t be serious..?

We can all think back to a time in our lives, preferably in another galaxy, when we felt empty without a man. Add in the reptilian need to get laid, and this made our desperation for a steady boyfriend that much more agonizing. The shame of being solo would push us to our lowest.

Those damn voices in our heads, which lacked even the most elementary self esteem, would do a real number on us, convincing us that we weren’t good enough. Fucking voices…Nothing was worse than emitting a stench of shame when there was nothing to be ashamed of.

You’d have this unexplainable hatred towards someone, for no reason, other than the fact that deep down, she reminded you of an aspect of yourself that you abhor. You would harbor jealous resentment of anyone in a relationship, or that was happy for that matter…especially friends with mates, who would smugly smile at you, damn them!

And you knew what the smile meant. I’m getting’ laid and you’re not. You knew the smile because you yourself were guilty of the same smugness, on the occasions you had a boyfriend.

Sadly, it’s a common trait among us. Many of us wear our men as proudly as badges. It all comes back to social acceptance. When one girl chimes, “Oh, my boyfriend this..” the others chime back, “Oh, well my husband that…my husband, my old man, my sweetie…my honey…” It’s enough to push you deeper into the shit hole of shame when you’re alone.

Now, maybe I’m being a bit harsh here, but too damn many of us who are alone, feel so absurdly bleak and covert about our loneliness. We’re all secretive and tight-lipped because the media presents singlehood as an illness that needs to be overcome. If you’re alone, you’re miserable and your life is tragic―If you don’t have anyone, you don’t have a life. “Bah, humbug!

And then there are those annoying “Ah, the joys of singlehood”- type pieces.

These are the stories that inevitably end up with the writer having some sort of revelation that she used to feel disgustingly desperate about being alone, but hey, it actually wasn’t bad at all! Now she was all spiritual and had become one with the Earth Mother…and the sun and moon were aligned, peace was guiding the planet and love was steering the stars!

Oh! For cryin’ out loud—It’s these passive-aggressive stories that induce enough worriment and angst to force you into therapy, or at the very least, self-medicating. When they’re not torturing you with articles meant to make you feel like a lifeless bum, these magazines and their “Lonely But Not Desperate!” or “I’d Rather Be Alone Than Be…” pieces, are overtly shaming you.

It’s just another way for these huge corporations to make money off our misery―traumatize us into buying shit that promises to make us look younger, thinner, hotter, smarter…hell, even emit pheromones and become irresistible to all feasible sex partners. Goddamn bastards!

As if it weren’t bad enough that we’re forced into panic and anxiety by reminders that our biological clocks are (stampin’ foot three times) tickin’ like this, you can count on the media to finish us off with their blatant messages that women, if they’re not attached to a big strong man (translation, have a resident penis on hand), they must off themselves immediately.

Granted, that may have been more ten years ago than now, but clearly the shame of being solo still remains. Just look at the size of bridal magazines, with their BIGGER is BETTER advertising. Clearly, this propaganda is working overtime to keep girls half my age panting after the matrimonial state.

Maybe it’s time we threw off this stigma of solo. Any hindrances that once were, are now gone, and singlehood is a valid lifestyle choice… So it would be apropos for us to point the finger and poke back at those bastards who imply that we are less than if we don’t have men in our lives. Maybe it’s time we look shame squarely in the eyeball, and say:

“FUCK OFF! (or “PISS OFF” if you’re English) There is NO shame in being lonely. It is okay to want a mate. A mate is a good thing. Mating is a good thing.

It’s that overriding feeling of shame that will destroy you―make you sick and full of self-loathing. So ward off the bad mojo. Own your loneliness. Laugh in your loneliness, and share your loneliness with others.

The truth will set you free.

For more of these fabulous, smart and engaging posts, visit: The Scarlet Dogma at www.thescarletdogma.com


About Author

Karen Catalan grew up on the upper west side of New York, and studied art and design at NYU and Queens College. She had been in the design industry since she graduated in 1984, until a few years ago when she started an online weight loss business and started writing for numerous article directories on the subject of successful weight loss strategies and tips for achieving long term health. With her common sense advice, encouragement and self-deprecating humor, it’s no wonder writing became a natural venue for her to express, vent and laugh at the absurdity of her life. From savvy New Yorker to cowgirl & Harley enthusiast, she managed to adapt just long enough to return to her roots five years later for design work. As if life wasn’t already interesting, Karen managed to gracefully segue into single-parenting…at 41 no less. Karen blogs at www.thescarletdogma.com



  2. Hi, I’m a Karen too . . . and single for longer than I care to admit.A fun read, thanks. I think piss off is Irish and bugger off is English, I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong before, once or twice 🙂

  3. Karen Catalan on

    Glad you enjoyed the piece Karen..and you’re more in the majority than you think. Women in general are staying single longer, especially the second time around, and maturity and self-confidence have a lot to do with it..along with the high divorce rate! It becomes easier to sniff out the wrong motives and hold out for someone worthy of you..

  4. Great read.  I have two teen sons and single after two divorces and one live in.  I delve into online dating every so often, just joined another site the other day.  It gets tiresome of answering the same questions in emails.  

  5.  I can identify with you Bonnie, although I’ve been out of the loop for the last year…Like you, I removed myself from “pond” just to regroup from the tiresome process of online dating. Given my no-nonsense nature, I found that if a guy’s message got a chuckle out of me or made me smile, even if for a brief second, it was worth a ‘brief” response…But the ones that were the equivalent of a cat call or grunt, I would roll my eyes at and delete…What would we do without that delete button! Ya gotta love technology:)

Leave A Reply