For those of you who don’t know, Sam Smith is a British singer, best known for his songs “Stay With Me” and “Latch.” (Note: the acoustic version of “Latch” is about 20 times better than the club version. Scientific fact.)
This was all I knew about him when I listened to his interview with NPR in June. It was a little staggering to hear him admit (so candidly it didn’t feel like an admission) that at 22 years old, he has never been in a relationship.
After listening to this, I was struck by a few things:
- There must be other people in the public light in the same boat, but I can’t think of anyone who has admitted it.
- I realized how incredibly isolating and stigmatizing it can feel being The Person Who Has Never Been in a Relationship. Which led to my final conclusion:
- It was so unbelievably refreshing to hear a celebrity say this when every song on the radio is about how incredible love is and how head-over-heels the singer is for his/her significant other. And his admission shows that other people can relate to what I’m going through, even famous people.
When I finished high school, I remember thinking that I was glad I didn’t date then because so many high-school relationships are superficial. When I graduated from college, I was glad I didn’t date throughout those years because I changed so much throughout them.
But that doesn’t make it any easier to be The Single One when every song on the radio, every formulaic rom-com and every melodramatic teen drama on TV is centered on love – usually young love, and usually implying that it is all-consuming and the be-all and end-all of life.
The fact that I’m 25 and have never had a boyfriend isn’t something I typically talk about for fear of making it sound like I’m throwing myself a pity party and seeking sympathy. Everyone wants to hear about your boyfriend; no one wants to hear about how you’ve never had one. So I never talked about it. And it wasn’t until this interview got me thinking that I realized, as mentioned above, how isolating that can be.
Because of this realization, it’s been an issue I’ve broached with many friends lately, and let me tell you, it’s been a load off. Apparently I had buried years of feelings and opinions on this subject, and now that I know how liberating it is to talk about them, I’m having trouble shutting up about it. Hence this post. Who needs therapy when you have a blog?
One of the main reasons I’m writing about this, though, is that I hope someone will read this who can relate and make her realize she’s not alone, the same way Sam Smith did for me. Just because you’re 18 and have never had a boyfriend – even if all your friends have one – does not mean you’re a failure at life. Consume media with a grain of salt. Remember that Hollywood portrayals are constructed products. Their business is to make films you’ll pay them to see.
So let’s start talking about this, because perpetuating the silence will just perpetuate the stigma that being single is somehow an insufficiency. To borrow the title of another Sam Smith song, I know I’m not the only one.