You have to be ‘of a certain age’ or an 80’s movie buff to remember the classic Steve Martin film “The Lonely Guy,” but, boy, was it filled with truisms you probably weren’t aware of at the time. Unless, of course, you were, you know, pretty lonely.
Based on Bruce Jay Friedman’s book “A Guide for the Lonely Guy” and directed by Arthur Hiller, the 1984 flick featured Martin as greeting card writer Larry Hubbard, a man who just couldn’t break out of his ‘oneness’ until he wrote about it and became, essentially, an overnight sensation.
One of the greatest scenes in the movie is when Larry goes into a restaurant, is asked how many are in his party and he replies “One.” Everyone in the place freezes and stares at him, a spotlight follows him to the table and he orders a ‘todka and vonic’ cocktail.
Though the story’s basically a sendup of singleness, there’s a lot of truth to it. Then and now (and pretty much always) we live in a world that’s terribly prejudiced against the single guy or girl, from the grocery store to the rental house or apartment to virtually every known social activity anywhere.
Especially if you’re over, say, 30, the deck is overwhelmingly stacked against you.
Run into someone you haven’t seen in a while and you’ll be asked if you’re married, have kids, all that stuff. While that’s okay and socially acceptable, how most of them react when you tell them you live by yourself often isn’t. They’ll deny it, but if you give them that response you instantly know that a plethora of assumptions is running through their minds.
And you aren’t likely to be invited to drop by or join them for lunch because, well, you know, you’re alone and stuff.
The thing is, many single people are perfectly fine with their status, don’t feel that they need someone to “complete” them and, for the most part, enjoy life just as much as any couple or family.
At least to the extent they can. Try to find ‘single serve’ anything in the grocery store. Yeah, you can cook for an army and freeze the leftovers, but if you’re normal, what you want to eat you want now and you know those frozen leftovers will eventually be tossed out, oh, in a couple of years.
You rarely see any ‘onesies’ in movie theaters, and if somebody’s sitting alone in a bar the automatic assumption is they’ve probably got a drinking problem or are cruising for a mate.
Hey, Match.Com and eHarmony and all those Internet dating sites all grew out of the “popular” concept that nobody wants to be alone.
News flash: lots of people enjoy being single. Don’t hate them for it. Odds are that they’re not serial killers or antisocial or against being a couple. Really.
And a good many of them do like to date every now and then and don’t mind having friends who aren’t on their own and may, eventually, decide to ‘become a couple’ if the time is right.
Well, take a look at your single friend, neighbor or new-found acquaintance, and don’t hate them for that. They’re okay.
Except maybe in the grocery store.
Note to readers: If you’ve got a single friend, maybe give ‘em a call every now and then. Not out of sympathy, mind you, but just to say ‘Hi’. Wouldn’t hurt.