s it just slipping my mind or is there no word for this? I'm looking for a word for the attitude -- something like sexism or homophobia -- to signify hostility toward people for their failure to be married. I don't mean mere discrimination, such as we find in the tax code or employment insurance plans. I mean actual negative feelings toward the disfavored group. And I don't mean the attitude that has to do only with the suspicion that an unmarried person is gay.There are a lot of interesting responses in the comments; I have a few, noting in one of them that once anybody gets past the age of maybe 30 or 35, there are people who will seemingly look down on the unmarried as somehow being irresponsibile or maybe even a little less "adult." As I also noted, I tend to ignore those comments that are directed toward me, because most of the people who have said that over the years seem to be stuck in less-than-ideal marriages themselves--probably ones that were entered into because they felt like they "should be married by now" rather than actually having a truly marriageable bond with the person who ended up becoming their spouse. (I should point out that I've only found out about these comments secondhand; nobody's actually said that to my face.)
I mean something more general that would apply to the way people feel toward someone who remains single for any reason, including the inability to find a suitable partner or an unwillingness to accept monogamy.
It was also interesting to read some of the comments of the married people who viewed their single friends with "a mixture of pity and envy." (Most of the envy part came from married men, as you might imagine.) There also was a widely differing view of people who have been unlucky, uninterested or just "waiting for Ms. Right" vs. those who stay single because they find themselves unable to remain monogamous.
Perhaps the best comment on the thread came from a minister named Mark Daniels, who put up his own post on the subject. Here's my favorite excerpt:
Some people feel that adults have to go through certain proscribed life-hoops in order to truly be considered an adult. They tend to believe this all the more if they have, in fact, gone through those hoops, no matter the quality of their marital or family relationships. They see themselves as part of an adults' club and looking down their noses on those who haven't gone through the hoops is one of the "privileges" of membership.I think the good Reverend nailed it here. I for one am certainly looking forward to joining this "club," though I certainly won't have the least bit of disdain for "nonmembers." If I had jumped through the marriage hoop at 25, I would've fallen and broken my face. Now, whenever it happens, I'll be much more prepared.
If you're single, have you experienced this attitude? And if you're married, have you (intentionally or not) projected this attitude?
IN THE COMMENTS: Eric links to two earlier posts of his on the subject, and Mark Daniels pays a visit as well.
www.burglaryfordummies.com: A guy in Delaware surfed the Web while trying to break into the safe of the restaurant he had formerly managed. (He was searching for instructions on how to crack a safe.)
Thank you, now I can come again: I posted the other day about certain 7-Eleven stores being rebranded as "Kwik-E-Marts" this month in anticipation of the new Simpsons movie. The one in Dallas is here. (It's very close to my church, so there's almost certainly a Squishee in my near future.