Susan Boyle Gets First Boyfriend at 53, But Why Are People Making That Into a Joke?
When I first heard this particular news story, I was among the people who were given a restored faith in life. After all, if Susan Boyle can get her first boyfriend at 53 years old, then the fact that I am still single at 24 years old clearly doesn't mean I'll be forever alone, right? It's a sad but true fact that in today's society, a single woman is basically treated like a bottle of milk on the table. The longer you leave her out, the faster she's going bad. Just look how many times Taylor Swift has been asked about dating despite the fact that she's been pretty upfront about that whole dating hiatus thing for the past year. Thus, Boyle getting her first boyfriend ever in her 50s is news because women are expected to get that whole dating thing out of the way long before that — even though things like moving out, getting married, and starting families are being done later in life these days.
According to People, Boyle shared the news of her first beau with The Sun. "I don't want to say any more about who he is right now as that would be unfair on him. All I'll say is we are around the same age and he was a very nice guy." Can you say awww? By all reports, Boyle seems to be incredibly happy and I'm both happy for her and happy to hear that age doesn't necessarily have to be a factor when it comes to first love. However, the Internet took the news with a lot less grace and a lot more condescension.
Listen, as far as I am concerned, there is a right way and a wrong way to react to this news.
The Right Way
The Wrong Way
It seems that as many people are being heartened by Boyle's adorable story, or taking it as proof that they themselves aren't defective because they happen to be single right now, there are just as many people who are making jokes about how horrible a fate it is to find happiness so late in life or, worse, discussing what might be wrong with Boyle that would result in her being unable to have a relationship before her 50s. And that's truly sad and disappointing to see, because I would think that this kind of news would prompt more happy or congratulatory reactions than it appears to be getting from the Internet.
You can find a thousand and one stories claiming that Americans are getting married later in life, or that some Millennials will never get married at all, and yet some people are reacting with shock that a woman as talented and (apparently) sweet as Boyle hasn't dated at all before her 50s? Why are we so quick to assume there must be something wrong with her for that to happen? Why are we so quick to cringe away from the idea of "sharing her fate?" Why has this made Boyle into a punchline? Don't get me wrong. I'm not ignorant to the fact that remaining single, especially if you're a woman, still carries a stigma in American society that's both unfair and nonsensical. I live that stigma.
But say it with me, guys: There's nothing wrong with being single. There is nothing wrong with being single. Not only is it a valid lifestyle choice, but it's also not an indication that you are a defective human being incapable of attracting another human being. A relationship does not define your worth as a person, and a lack of one does not constitute your one, gaping flaw in life. If anything, Boyle's story should be proof of that, because it shows that it doesn't matter if you're outside of the traditional time most people would consider "normal" to date for the first time — two people falling in love can happen any time. So, please, can we stop treating this like a joke and just start sighing at the cuteness of Boyle gushing over her new guy?