When Cory Booker announced he was running for president, a lot of fodder was made about his status. His marital status. As in, he is single and America hasn’t had a bachelor president since Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th president, who married while in office. Booker, to his credit, has tried to appeal to America’s puritanical lust for everyone—everyone!—to pair off by dating actress Rosario Dawson during his run for the highest office in the land. But “for why?” While I’m sure the couple is in love on the campaign trail, sharing kisses over corn dogs at various county fairs, part of me really wanted Booker to hold onto his single status if only for all of us unmarrieds, never marrieds, divorced, widowed or otherwise without a partner at the moment.
Because, you know what? We are legion and could totally elect someone if anyone ever thought about us.
America hates single people. I know this because I’ve been ridin’ solo since 2002, and all I’ve ever been bombarded with is—when are you getting married and having kids? Not from my family, thank god, but from American society, which thinks something is terribly, terribly wrong with being single or childless, or both. Like last month we were accused, us singles, of not having enough sex. That more and more partnerless Americans are keeping it to themselves. Well, I mean, what do you expect? You (and you is “capitalism” and “the government” and “society” and in some cases “the media”) make life so hard that marriage is a status symbol of the wealthy, that people are waiting until they can “afford” to get married and start a family. You chastise people (and by people, I really just mean women, and especially black women) who have sex and get pregnant while single for, allegedly, “doing it wrong.” So, the solution? Stop doing it! Never do it! But now you want to complain about us not doing it at all after you created the perfect environment for celibate Americans, both the voluntary, “well, at least porn is kind of free” kind, and those weird, scary ones who take this way too seriously.
You can’t win.
But there are other ways that single people are treated as an aberration rather than the growing norm. Namely, our tax code is very pro-marriage, pro-kids, pro-nuclear family, as there aren’t many tax breaks for us who buck joining the “life partner gang.” Like, there is no tax break for paying your rent (unless you have a ... “home office”) even though the rent is too damn high, and for more and more people taking up more than a third of their monthly income. Donald Trump got rid of the write-off for moving expenses, something I’ve been able to claim almost every three years of my adult life as I’ve moved around that much as an ambitious single person chasing a career instead of a man. But why can’t I get bigger write-offs for contributing my tax dollars to the education of other people’s children via public school? Why can’t the single and overly-educated write off bigger deductions on their student loans?
See? Booker could get on all of this and create a single-person platform that appeals to the more than 110 million single American adults who could easily elect someone, especially considering only 137.5 million people voted in 2016. Enough single votes in one direction or the other and, bada-boom, you’re President Cory Booker.
So, it’s fine if Booker wants to find love and partner up. That’s cool. But he’s missing out on those pleasures only us singles experience — getting to do whatever you want whenever you want however you want without any real commentary. He’s also missing out on appealing directly to our voting block of fly aunties and uncles, living it up with all our extra money we don’t spend on pampers or providing for our family’s every need. I’m just saying, you’re leaving votes on the table, sir, in this pursuit of a rote heteronormative activity!
As a product of a nuclear family, (and a divorcee), coupling up is fun and all, but you don’t know living until you’re over 40 in your underwear eating cookie butter right out of the jar in your peaceful apartment where no one is bothering you.
Who wants the underwear-wearing-cookie-butter-eating vote? It’s still up for grabs for the now 19 some odd folks running for president. Anyone want to be down with the single crown?
The line starts here.