Why do people feel sorry for single parents? Take this incident in the bank, this morning:
“Have you thought about your life insurance lately Mrs Whittle?” the bank teller asked me.
I’ve got to be honest: I don’t do conversation on Monday mornings. Especially not before 10am. Just give me the cash. I’ve got a decorator waiting to be paid, and I need to get to Caffe Nero before I slip into a coma.
I try not to make eye contact: “Erm, not really, but I’ve got some, thanks.”
She’s decided today is the day to bring up the possibility of my untimely death. “What if something was to happen to you or your husband? Is your little one provided for? We’ve got some GREAT deals at the moment on critical illness.”
Oh God. She’s still talking. “Well, I’ll have a look but I think the policy I have does that.”
“Do you need to discuss it with your husband?” Yeah, because obviously THAT’S what’s stopping me from taking out a new insurance policy at 9.10am on a Monday morning.
“I don’t have a husband, thanks.”
She looks at me like my dog just died. Or maybe like I just confessed to having herpes. “Oh, I am sorry.”
“Oh, that’s okay, I had one, he was a bit rubbish, really.” Really, I must stop saying the first thing that pops into my head.
But the bank teller clearly feels that my being a single parent is – at best – embarrassing and socially awkward. But it’s often just that people feel sorry for single parents. But why? Personally, my life is easier in some ways for being a single parent, and harder in others. It’s not a better or worse situation than anyone else’s – just different. You don’t need to feel sorry for single parents.
As a single parent family we have cheaper holidays. I don’t have to share the TV remote on the evening. I get a whole king-size bed to myself. I set the rules, and we live a very happy, harmonious life together. My daughter has a great relationship with her Dad, and I don’t have to deal with him on a daily basis!
Why feel sorry for me?
Anyway, back in the bank the teller looks me up and down. She decides it would be kindest to gloss over the awkwardness I must be experiencing in confessing my single status. “Would you prefer 10s or 20s?”
Just in case you’re wondering, YES, Flea does have this t-shirt. And she’s so wearing it next time we go to the bank.