Monday, July 30, 2007

On the single woman's apartment (because, of course, they're all the same)

Okay, so Jill at Feministe points us to a Gawker post listing what they're calling "singlefiers" - those telltale signs around the average bachelorette pad that one is, in fact, single (they specify that this means the apartment holds a single woman and not a couple; they don't mention whether a single woman with a steady boyfriend would have or lack said signs). Commenters have added their own "singlefiers" to the list.

Maybe it's just that I live in southside Birmingham and not Manhattan. Maybe it's that I don't like Cosmo and have never watched Sex in the City as a guide to life, relationships, and fashion. Maybe I am, in fact, less than a woman, and by merely conforming to the stereotypical heteronormativity of this list, I could find myself fashionable and no longer single.

God, I hope I don't have to.

I've done the courtesy of bolding those "singlefiers" that apply to me; if I feel motivated, I might even add actual photos to prove that I'm not just blowing smoke.

Gawker sez:
Piles of magazines everywhere, comprised of tons of pretentious ones that are clearly untouched and then severely thumbed-through Vogues and Luckys
Overflowing shoe rack and nothing in the fridge
Scented candles
Slovenly heaps of little-used makeups in the bathroom
Stuffed animals in the bed
Cat hair on the furniture
Cat smell
Cabinets full of mugs featuring the likeness of lady who looks like those hypertrophically-limbed Daily Candy illustrations, bearing the legend "I Love Shopping" or whatnot
Anything pink
Ornamental pillows
Unedited bookshelves, esp. if they include He's Just Not That Into You or anything along those lines
Lite cottage cheese in the fridge
Anything lite or diet around. Cases of Diet Coke. Weight Watchers 'Just 2 Points' bars
Inspirational or thinspirational things on the fridge
Framed posters
Handbag tree (NB: However, a tree that grows handbags? I'd be all over)

And commenters add:
Birth Control Packet with pills for Monday and Tuesday still in the case (it's Wednesday)
Greeting Cards taped to the wall like art
Madonna's Immaculate Collection
Your vibrator on your bed because, face it, nobody's coming over
Dried roses
'Emergency' pack of cigarettes
Copious empty wine bottles (preferrably Chardonnay)
Bridget Jones' Diary
Special DVD edition of Pride and Prejudice
The movie "How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days"
Furniture with slipcovers
Wall of 5x7 photo prints/ripped out magazine ads
The word "thinspirational" written anywhere
Workout DVDs that are kind of sassy--Strip Aerobics, etc.
Crystal Light
Tampon packages in plain view
A little basket by the sofa filled with frayed cat toys
A DVD collection that includes "Grey Gardens." A "Sex and the City" DVD is in the player
Ceiling lights that don't work merely because the bulb burned out
Two-liter white wine bottles
Don't forget the cats
Ironing board in the bedroom never quite makes it back to the closet... because what's the point? No one's in the bedroom anyway
Fuzzy slippers
Potted plants in various phases of dying
The ever-present laptop on the coffee table
Baskets of clean laundry that are folded but not put away (bonus points for underwear)
Inspirational sayings scrawled/printed onto white paper and taped up around the room
Numerous reminders to visitors/yourself of where you've traveled
That complete series boxset of "Friends"
Dead or wilting plants
A 26oz bottle of gin in the freezer, next to the Lean Cuisine (NB: A handle of vodka, actually, but close enough)
A box of white wine in the fridge, left over from a friend's wedding shower (actually in my and my roommate's fridge last year)
Underpants on the bedroom floor from days ago
Cookie dough in the fridge as dinner
A&E's "Pride and Prejudice" on the coffee table, and in the DVD
Any of the following in collection: Sleepless in Seattle, The Notebook, Say Anything, Serendipity, or that one with Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear

My question: Who are these people, and how does one get a job as a perpetual Romantic Comedy Adapted From Last Year's Chick-Lit Best-Seller Extra? Does it pay well? Is it exhausting, living a cliche? Is there a supervisor to come in on Thursday mornings and say, "Uh-oh, I don't see a single bottle of white zinfandel, and that issue of Harper's has clearly been read. And where's that cat we told you to get? You're definitely getting marked down for that."

And not to get judgey or anything, but do people not get tired of living in squalor? Come on, folks, it's two floors down to the dumpster, it's four feet across the room to the hamper; dirty underwear and overflowing trash cans are not required decorative accents, even if you're single.

Of course, the Gawker comment thread is hardly a random sample; it makes sense that Gawker readers might live lifestyles somewhat like its writers, and that Feministe readers might live more like blogger Jill than like Carrie Bradshaw. But even allowing for sample error, what gives? Is that extensive list of identifiers simply a factor of the average single woman's lifestyle, or do women live that way because they feel they're expected to?

How 'bout it, single gal readers? Am I really missing out by not living on a set dressed by Candace Bushnell, or is the apartment full of "singlefiers" more stereotype than reality? What's in your fridge?

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