Sex and the Chester: A Woman’s Right to Herself

By Alyssa Velazquez
Elm Staff Writer

There are only two weeks left. Five days of academic classes, to be exact. My junior year at Washington College is almost over and I find myself growing increasingly discontent. At first I thought it was all the looming deadlines, my excess daily intake of coffee, and the ever present threat of a thesis that has had me agitated over these past few days. But this past weekend a stream of events occurred that made me realize what had really been bugging me all along.

I was made aware of a universally deprived female constitutional right–one that is clearly stated in the Bill of Rights: “the right of a person to be secure in their persons.”

Now I admit that I have taken that right out of its original fourth Amendment context. In no conscious sense were our forefathers thinking about relationships or individual females in the writing of the Bill of Rights. Nonetheless for single women everywhere, it seems the older we get the more we are made to feel insecure in our own persons.

On Saturday this past weekend, I awoke in the hopes of having a lovely home cooked breakfast, only to be confronted with the delivery of a rather disturbing flyer. On the cover of this flyer was a mother and father playing in the yard with their collection of kids, all very plastic America-meets-suburban bliss. The title read, for “all you need when shopping.”

As I opened the cover, there it was again: a mother, her husband, and their offspring. This time they were gathered around a table set for a Thanksgiving dinner in April. Those pages that did not have family portraits on them were pages littered with coupons for household cleaners, appliances, food, bulk convenience items, and children’s products.

After I had made it through the whole book, I decided to double-check the mailing address to see if this was in fact for me, or if our mail lady had made some innocent mistake in confusing my name with the name of a women with a husband, home, and toddlers.

Unfortunately, there was no mistake. There it was, my name clear as day. I was the female in her twenties that this coupon book was intended for, and apparently, they assumed I would no longer be single, alone, or childless. It was then that I tried to rationalize their distribution motives.

Perhaps this flyer was customary, a pamphlet given out to every female in a household within my district. Then I began to wonder on the flyer and its association with our society’s apparent commemoration of couples and the lack of celebration for singleness.

In life, each of us will celebrate birthdays, graduations, and maybe a handful of religious ceremonies. After that, the occasions of personal celebrations for the most part stop. The amount of time and money spent in celebrations for couples however, is vastly more extensive. Engagement parties, bachelor or bachelorette parties, weddings, baby showers, housewarming parties, bridal showers, and eventually all the subsequent birthdays, graduations, and religious ceremonies for whenever those couples have kids.

Never are single individuals given gifts for monumental stepping-stones in their lives, such as a promotion or published work, at least not in the same way that couples are throughout their momentous occasions. This cultural realization caused me to wonder: why, as a society, do we focus on the celebration of two? Whatever happened to the individual, the single, the you?

After I received that piece of mail, I attempted to brighten my spirits and to go out to dinner with my two cousins who, as it turned out, would not go to dinner without their respective partners. To add insult to injury, they wanted me to drive in a separate car behind the “couples car.” It seems that my single self made for an unwanted fifth wheel.

I realize that my tone and message could be easily misconstrued. To clear this up, I must say that this is not a rant from a bitter single gal who had two bouts of couple confrontations that she subsequently overdramatized.

The purpose of this article is to speak up for something I believe we, as a whole, have lost. I write on relationships a lot, and relationships take two people. Still, if we never stop to celebrate or even accept the singular individuals we start out as, how can ever celebrate those singular individuals we will meet along the way or the one half of a couple that many of us hope to become? Women of all ages should have the right to themselves before they find the right guy.

April 29, 2011
Volume LXXXI Issue 24

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