This is not the ark

A friend and I were venting about the affront of being asked as single travellers to either pay a whopping single supplement* or bunk up with a complete stranger that the tour company offers to find. The incredible thing is solo travellers accept this treatment.

It struck me how much society is biased against single people and how bought in to this bias single people are. Please note that I use the term “single” to mean both unmarried people and people out in public on their own.

Here’s a quick list of common activities many people are uncomfortable doing solo: Image

  • Eating in a restaurant
  • Going to a movie, concert, gallery etc.
  • Travelling
  • Attending a wedding or other social event
  • Having a drink in a bar.

It is fun to share experiences with others, but it’s also fun, or sometimes just necessary, to get out on your own.

To not live your life and do the things you want to because you are “just one” is cruelly self-limiting. To let society or business dictate what you are allowed to do and enjoy as one person is egregious.

This is not the ark. We do not need to go forth two by two. We are whole just as we are. We don’t need an “other half” or ~eesh~ a “better half.” And we certainly don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to be in public and do whatever we like on our own.

In Europe and North America there are now more single people (and single-person households) than married/partnered people. The world is seeing a social and economic shift. We can all help speed up that shift and make the world a more inclusive place for everyONE by venturing out solo (but en masse!) and claiming our space in the world.

*Single supplement. Isn’t that an interesting term? What’s actually getting supplemented isn’t the single traveller’s vacation experience but the travel industry’s coffers.

The Greek chorus of your life

Dramatic plays of ancient Greece included a Greek chorus – a group of masked performers who commented on the action taking place on stage. Very often this chorus of voices would express horror or warnings– “Don’t enter there!” – or revealed characters’ hidden motivations and feelings that the audience might not otherwise be aware of.

The concept of a Greek chorus always amused me. The collective reactions of a group of masked GreekChorusfigures sucking in their breath, moaning, jeering, warning and commenting on a character’s activities seemed so ridiculous.

But isn’t that exactly what we deal with when we cater to the dictates of society? Daily we are told to fit in, to conform, and especially as women to be nice and not rock the boat. We get approval and are rewarded for not being “weird” or “difficult.”

Television and magazines instruct us how to look, smell, groom, eat and behave. Advertising manipulates us to want certain goods. The media news tells us only what they want us to know. These are today’s Greek chorus.

We may not be conscious of this modern Greek chorus but that only makes it more effective. Once you become aware of the chorus and acknowledge its effect on you, you can challenge it.

Will you conform to its messages? Will you abide by its dictates? Will you continue to do what’s easy and pleasing for others? Or are you the hero of your own play, writing the action and plotline to suit your best self?