Emma Watson has managed to accidentally fire up western society’s jumbo hot take machine again, this time by using an inventive way to describe her single status.
While many have supported her use of the term “self-partnered” for its more positive framing of single life, it’s also prompted the usual groans from those who seem to hate everything female celebrities say and do. Piers Morgan, for example, called it “rubbish”, and asked if it means she can’t “get a bloke”.
While there have been some nuanced critiques, it’s amazing to see how much new terms can upset people. Isn’t this one of life’s small joys – to make sense of things in new, lighthearted ways? I’m not sad, I’m existentially challenged. We’re not about to all die on this plane, we’re simply flying to the scene of the crash. This parrot is not deceased, it is merely resting.
If I were to criticize Watson for one thing however, it would be for stopping at “self-partnered”. The English language still has a way to go if it’s going to catch up with all the different shades of alone-ness single people experience.
Here are five new terms that could help:
This is when you cannot for the life of you figure out how you’re still single.
You’ve tried everything. You’ve got all the apps, even the ones with desktop versions. You’ve asked for people’s numbers in bars. You’ve used Facebook Messenger for the first time in months to organize a catch up with a crush from university before realizing you have nothing in common. You’ve gone speed dating. You’ve posted a personals ad on Instagram. You’ve booked yourself into a salsa class before pulling out last minute because you realize it’s creepy to go to a salsa class when you have no interest in salsa.
There may be plenty more fish in the sea, but despite you being fully kitted out with a rod, tackle and waterproof trousers, you’ve somehow found yourself in dating equivalent of Urumqi, the most landlocked place on Earth. And as time drags on, it becomes more and more infuriating and confusing.
You may not know this already – because I’ve literally just made it up – but if you derive pleasure from matching with people on dating apps, you’re an apposexual.
Contained within apposexuality is one of life’s cruel cosmic balancing acts. For while you may enjoy the small dopamine hit of self-validation you get upon matching with someone Very Hot, you are both its beneficiary and victim. Why? Because a lot of people are doing exactly the same, and not much else (such as talking).
And once you’ve logged into this gamified hall of mirrors and start to see your self-worth in a match, can you ever truly escape?
Everyone knows about sapiosexuals, although as Mark Ronson proved, not everyone seems to know what it means (someone who finds intelligence sexually attractive).
But what is it called when you’re single because you keep dating people who turn out to be complete idiots?
Whether you like it or not, this probably means you’re a dopiosexual (or as some women might say, a straight woman).
This one is quite self-explanatory and not exactly a new term, but you may be surprised at how much of a common denominator it can be for single people. It’s like self-partnering but much more extreme, where you’re far too in love with yourself to love anyone else.
It’s rarely a label you assign to yourself, unless you’re being brutally honest. Rather, someone would say, “they’re not self-partnered … they’re self-centered”.
Being unethically monogamous with yourself
While you may have heard of ethical non-monogamy, which is basically an open relationship based on honesty and communication, being unethically monogamous with yourself is slightly less chill. In a nutshell, it means you’re involuntarily single and completely in denial why that may be.
The delusions often vary. “I just haven’t found the right person”. No – you’re unbearably picky and obsess over flaws you perceive in people. “I’m happy being single”. Wrong again! You’re just scared of getting hurt. “I’ll know it when I feel it”; let’s be honest, you haven’t felt anything for a while now, and it’s not the fault of the people you’re dating.
In truth, we’ve all probably been unethically monogamous with ourselves at some point in our lives. And sometimes we’re not delusional at all. But when we are, it’s mostly because being honest with yourself is hard. But if you don’t want to be single any more, it’s usually the best place to start.