30 November, 2017

If ever there was a time that was invented to make people feel self-conscious about being single, it’s Christmas. This is especially true if your family is the type who like to pose together in a cosy group snap. There you are, flying solo, in a sea of smug marrieds (we paraphrase Bridget Jones here).

It doesn’t make any difference if you know that those around you argue constantly, or have a deep, seething resentment of one another. At face value, this is the kind of photo that shouts, “being in a couple = lifelong happiness”. And it’s easy to feel like a right tool languishing alone amid all that, ahem, “love”.

Read more: Your stories of solo travel

All kudos to Californian singleton Emily Seawright, then, for making a slight dig at this ridiculous scenario. As her family gathered around her for the annual Christmas card photo last year, she decided to make a statement about being single.

Standing next to her sisters who were all coupled up, and carrying signs such as “engaged” and “expecting”, Emily held a sign that simply read, “Emily”.

Though the banners are tongue-in-cheek (we hope), we love the way that Emily chose to subtly subvert the message that settling down is The Way To Be. Her placard rejoices in herself as an individual, rather than because she just happens to be getting married or having babies. Amazingly, in this day and age, women can hope to aspire to more than these honourable yet predictable goals.

Read more: How to start conversations with strangers abroad

Needless to say, the good folk of Twitter absolutely loved Emily’s stance. Her tweet sharing the photo has received more than 55,000 re-tweets and 300,000 likes at the time of writing. Better still, it inspired many people to share their own versions of singled out Christmas cards…

Quite why these Christmas cards place such a large premium on being in a relationship, we couldn’t tell you. After all, we know that being single can enrich your life in so many ways, from meeting new people to a greater appetite for solo travel.

Those who are coupled up, meanwhile, might be happy – or they might be bickering and frustrated all the way to New Year.

Read more: How solo travel peels back the layers of stress

Either way, it’s good to see people like Emily making a stand about the implicit propaganda that being in a relationship is everything, and being single is somehow wrong.

“We never expected the media frenzy that our daughter has put us in,” Emily’s mum, Diane Seawright, told ABC News. “She just has a great sense of humour. I don’t want people to think we’re this cold family that threw our daughter on the side.”

Photos: Twitter/@cantseawright

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