The Mary Tyler Moore Show originally aired from 1970-77
The Mary Tyler Moore Show originally aired from 1970-77

The idea that women might be lucky to be single has not been a part of popular culture since The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended in 1977. Too many women feel like they are on the outside looking in and believe their singleness makes them suspect. Mike Leigh’s 2008 movie Happy-Go-Lucky has at it’s center Poppy, a single woman who is content. Sally Hawkins gives a wonderful performance. In one scene, her pregnant married sister assumes Poppy must envy her life in some way and Poppy is genuinely baffled by this. Mike Leigh’s gift as a director is to capture on film characters who seem real and are honestly trying to solve life’s struggles. It is a glorious moment near the end when Poppy says to her single roommate, “Aren’t we lucky?”.

I want Poppy’s contentedness to infiltrate every corner of popular culture. There is not one way to live life! Joined energy makes life easier, no doubt about it. Be open to joining energy with a roommate, sister, favorite aunt or colleague. Start a walking group of women who laugh a lot or sing.

Happy-Go-Lucky, Starring Sally Hawkins as Poppy
Happy-Go-Lucky, Starring Sally Hawkins as Poppy

Creative solutions to loneliness are required. It’s so easy to get stuck in the “shoulds”. You should buy not rent. You should be married before 38. You should have children. Feminism was all about women having choices. Despite popular opinion, Feminism never laid claim to a new set of “shoulds” (i.e. You should work instead of stay home). As Feminism fades so do choices (Do you see anybody job sharing to be home part time?).

A Woman Without a Man is Like a Fish Without a Bicycle was a feminist tee shirt slogan that has sadly disappeared from the landscape. It is heart breaking when women ask me what’s wrong with them because they can’t find someone. They are attractive, smart, kind and have good hearts, yet they feel like leftovers in the back of the refrigerator. It doesn’t matter to them that Pittsburgh, like Washington D.C., Boston, New York and Philadelphia statistically have more women than men so it is literally harder to find somebody. Add to that, it is possible there are more good women than good men available and the odds are stacked against you.

Why has it been 32 years since there has been a satiated single woman character? Murphy Brown doesn’t count because she was a workaholic who wanted a child. Poppy and Mary Tyler Moore succeed in capturing the work/life balance. Their lives are rich in friends and experiences. Neither of them sits by the phone and waits for it to ring. Their satisfaction with their lives adds to their attractiveness. Once again, expectations of what life is supposed to be can kill off opportunities in the present. Life is ripe with possibilities and there is not one way for women to go about being successful.

Link about cities and singles in the U.S.A.:

Web sites to Expand your Pittsburgh Connections – as Ways to Meet New People:

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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