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Rebellious Solo Celebrities

SOLO 74 | Rebellious Singles

 

On occasion, Peter features rebellious singles on Solo. In this episode, he talks to one of his favorite, frequent guests about celebrities who are unapologetically unattached. Some names will be familiar, and others won’t – but they all have interesting perspectives.


Listen to Episode #74 here:

Rebellious Solo Celebrities

As you know, on occasion, I feature rebellious singles on the show. In this episode, I talked to one of my favorite frequent guests about celebrities who are unapologetically unattached. Some of the names of these rebellious singles will be familiar and others won’t. The show, the Solo Slack channel, and the Clubhouse Solo Communities continue to grow, so check out the Solo page on PeterMcgraw.org and the new page, SoloClubs.com. Thanks to those of you who have rated and reviewed the show. There are some negative reviews so I know I’m doing something right. I hope you enjoy the episode. Let’s get started. 

Our return guest is Mary Dahm. Mary’s a writer and high school English teacher. She studied English literature and history at Boston College and earned a Master’s in teaching from USC. She’s appeared on three popular episodes of Solo, number 19, Write Your Way Out, number 34, People Who Shouldn’t Have Married, and number 62, Nietzsche On Friends. Welcome back, Mary. 

Thank you. It’s too many.  

If you play your cards right, this will be your last one. You’ve already been banned from co-hosting. We’re here to talk about remarkable singles. Something that I do on occasion is highlight single people who are unapologetically unattached and who are living well. We’re going to have a good time talking about a particular style of remarkable single, the celebrity. 

How happy would you be if a celebrity for a tabloid uses the phrase, unapologetically unattached?  

I’d be thrilled.  

You would file an intellectual Copyright Lawsuit. 

No one else in the world is using unapologetically unattached, even though that is the Instagram handle for Solo. 

Even though it has such a few number of syllables. 

It does stick with you though. We each have come up independently with a group of celebs who are single and who are unapologetic about it. We’re going to ping pong back and forth and go through our list. Do you want to start? 

It’s small number of syllables. I said few number of syllables and it was bothering me because I’m an English teacher and it’s wrong. That’s my reputation. 

I feel that way about less and few. 

That’s what I mean. It’s similar. Anyway, I needed to retract.  

Speaking of syllables, who’s your first person? 

Jennifer Aniston. We’re starting with the big hitters.  

Who’s Jennifer Aniston?  

I had to look her up to do this. I wasn’t sure. Actress Jennifer Aniston, notably over 50, one of the few Hollywood starlets who ages and remains relevant. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen that much.  

Never married? 

She’s married twice and got divorced, which she’s not upset about.  

Who was she married to? 

She was married to Brad Pitt famously, and then she’s married to Justin Theroux who’s more attractive to me 

I think you’re in small company there. 

Brad Pitt is femininelookingMy marriages have been successful in my personal opinion. When they came to an end, it was a choice that was made because we chose to be happy. Sometimes, happiness didn’t exist within that arrangement anymore. She’s not regretful of her choices. I’m not a person that follows celebrities much. 

Neither I, which is the irony of us doing this episode. 

He didn’t know Angelina Jolie’s name. 

The woman that Brad Pitt got together with after Jennifer Aniston. 

What the tabloids in the media are saying is what informs the zeitgeist and the popular opinions of these things. In LA, we’re cynical and we don’t read that as news. If you go to Michigan, my family is from Illinois, they read those like journalists writing these things. Jennifer Aniston is America’s sweetheart so we accept her when she says these things. It shows that culture is changing.  

The tabloid doesn’t want her to be single.  

Our reactions to her comments being positive show up we’re progressing. The thing with the tabloids is there’s this insane duality with the way that they portray her. If she’s single, they portray her as this lonely spinster who can’t keep down a man and can’t find a man without him cheating on her with Angelina Jolie. If she’s in a relationship, they all speculate whether she’s pregnant, take pictures of her, and point and be like, “It’s a baby bump.” It’s their favorite word. This was a Huffington Post opinion piece from 2016 and probably Jennifer Aniston did not write this.  

They penned it to her name and I’m sure that she approved it. This is a quote and she’s responding to extreme barbs being thrown at her in the tabloids. “This past month, in particular, has illuminated for me how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status. Here’s where I come out on this topic. We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our happily ever after for ourselves.” I’m not a fan of the last line as you might predict. 

It seems like something a copywriter or PR person might write. 

It seems like something a bad PR person would write, but they’re writing for the audience that thinks that is real and cares about that. They’re speaking their language. 

We’re complete whether you’re single or not, whether you’re a parent or not, essentially. I like that line, in particular, because it captures my approach to Solo, which is marriage is over-prescribed. It’s not anti-marriage. It is pro-single. The idea being that everybody is single at some point in their life and we should not be thinking of that time as single people as a waiting game. That bugs me. 

This might be more about being childless than not being married because she has been married twice. It’d be different if she had never been married, but two big weddings, marriage, the whole thing. Childlessness is important here. The pressure to be a mother.  

On top of the pressure to be married and how they go handedly. 

Quick anecdote if I may. When I go on dates, I always tell people, I don’t want to have kids not because I’m trying to settle down, but because conversationally, it’s true. There are a couple of people who are like, “You will want to have them.” One guy says it in these words, but he thought it was not natural and I would figure out that was in my DNA at some point. I was just a late bloomer. The genetic purpose of a woman is to have kids. I like that part about it. 

Jennifer is a good choice for you also because everybody knows her. She’s easy to like and get behind. She’s a little bit of a sympathetic character. This fascination, even now, that her and Brad Pitt may get back together and become that A-list celebrity couple again.  

The greatest victory that could possibly happen for the media other than for Britney Spears to start touring again would be if Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were on their deathbeds and they’re knocking on death’s door. They’re 78 and they decide, “We want to be together in our final years.” That would be the best thing that ever happened to all the magazines. 

Can I make an observation before I move on to my first person? Part of the reason I wanted us to talk about celebrities is because there’s an interesting divide between what the media portrays and wants and what we often get. On one hand, we have all of these love stories and focus on these celebrities coupling up, and so on and so forth, and yet, sometimes in their own real lives and then sometimes on the screen, big or small, they’re solo. One of the things that is fascinating is that you do have solo people portrayed in the media in a way that is sometimes positive and sometimes negative. Friends that were about a bunch of solos, sometimes they were together, sometimes they were apart, and sometimes they were searching. 

They all couple up in the end. Every one of those.  

In real life, they don’t all couple up in the end, which is one of the things that is interesting. It would be fun to look at the cast members of Friends and how many of them are married and how many of them are single. Someone will tell. 

I don’t know. Not a big Friends fan. 

I miss Friends because I was in grad school at the time. Let’s get to my next person. He’s Henry Rollins. Do you know who Henry Rollins is?  

No.  

That means you’re uncool. Henry Rollins was the lead singer of Black Flag, which is a punk band. He’s gone on to write books, does spoken word tours, and has done some acting. You might have seen him in some movies back in the day. I’ve tried to get him on Solo and I’ve failed to this point. I’ve tried for three times because he’d be such an interesting guest. I’m going to read an interview that he did with Joe Rogan that is illustrative. 

 

I can’t be a good person’s other half. The work has always attracted me more than coming home to someone. I can’t stand the idea of someone living with a person. I never would want to wake up and she’s there. Every day, here we are together. I’m not wired that way. I would be dry like, “You haven’t spoken to me in twenty hours.” “I didn’t notice.” I’m work-oriented, so I’m not interested in wasting anyone’s time. I’m not interested in being mean. I’m not into it. A woman was hitting on me and she was persistent. I said, “Ma’am, I’m a hunting dog. I’m a dog. Just not the kind you pet.” 

I like Henry Rollins because he goes on in this interview and he talks about that he wants to come home, turn his phone off, and work on his music, spoken word, and books. He’s creative at heart. 

Beyond that, he’s being kind by having that self-knowledge. We are obsessed with Mad Men. Every character there is either emotionally abusive to their kids or is in such a bad cheating marriage that they shouldn’t be married. If Don had been honest and said, “I’m not going to be a good husband or father,” and be honest with himself and not done it. 

He wouldn’t leave a trail of broken hearts. 

The irony is people are living out of duty, so they’re coupling up for that reason because they think it makes them less selfish. It’s selfish if they have the type of personality that they make a terrible partner and parent. I know I’d be a terrible parent and that’s why I’m not having kids. 

It’s important to know your strengths than it is to know your weaknesses. 

That’s also not the only reason why, but you get my point. 

The sad thing about the world pressing people to couple up is that people feel like they need to do it. A) They don’t live their best lives, and B) They end up being a disappointment to the person who wants them to fit into that other role. Of course, Henry Rollins is a rebellious single. He was the lead singer of a punk band in the ‘80s, so he’s a fascinating character. He’s gone to 100 countries. One of the things that’s cool is that as Henry Rollins, he can travel around the world and no one knows who he is. If he’s in LA, people recognized him. 

We get it. He’s the love of your life. Do you think he’ll go out with you? Do you think you’ll ask him out? He doesn’t like the other person to hit on him.  

I would love to spend time with Henry Rollins. One of the cool things about him is he also goes to places that he might not be allowed to go if he was coupled up. He’s been to Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Korea. He says, “I’ve almost been killed three times. All three times we’re in America.” 

We need some new advertising for the solos then like, “Don’t get married. If you don’t, you can go to North Korea.” 

That would be a great Facebook ad. What I like about him is he knows. He’s like, “I’m a dog. I’m just not the kind you pet.” That’s interesting. We think of dogs as people’s best friend, so to speak, but there are pocketbook dogs, lap dogs, junkyard dogs, and hunting dogs. He recognized, “I’m no lap dog.” He’s like, “Ma’am, please.” 

That is not how I interpreted that. I interpreted it as a pun like, “I’m a dirty dog. I’m a dog, but not the kind you pet.” A dog in the other sense of the word.  

This is Henry Rollins so he’s using the term dog in more than one way. I don’t get the sense that Henry Rollins is a done one, womanizer type at all. 

I don’t know anything about him. Maybe I jumped to an assumption, so he wasn’t. That’s interesting. 

That’s not my sense at all. That’s what we want to talk about when we talked about long-time bachelors. 

That’s the stereotype. I went there because he’s a musician. 

He’s a hunting dog because he goes out on these adventures out into the world. He’s not the one who’s going to sit on your lap and let you pet him. 

He’s not going to sit on your lap, but you will sit on his lap. 

Let’s keep moving. Who do you have next? I hope someone I know.  

I can’t trust that you know anyone. Emma Watson. 

I know her because of her singleness. 

The way you said I know her, we are in LA, it sounded like, “I know her.”  

I’ve never met her. 

It’s absurd how this broke the internet because she doesn’t find it that interesting. In the 2019 Vogue interview, she calls herself self-partnered instead of single. She did it with Gwyneth Paltrow. Gwyneth Paltrow did the conscious uncoupling AKA divorce. This was something like that word, but what’s notable about this one is Vogue interviews are not short. They’re these long, beautifully written feature pieces on people.  

This was a lengthy interview that covered things like her Goodwill Ambassadorship and her launching HeForShe, which was a big feminist initiative. She launched a legal advice line for victims of sexual harassment. She’s done all this work around gender issues and the self-partnered line was one line in the whole interview. The title of the article was Emma Watson On Being Happily “Self-Partnered” At 30. That was truly one sentence in the article, but they were smart to do that because this thing broke the internet. It’s everywhere. 

In part, I noticed it because of my orientation. I don’t know what she’s in, but I know Emma Watson a big star. 

In my opinion, she peeked at Hermione in the Harry Potter in terms of acting ability. She broke the internet again because she said she’s quitting acting. It shows that she’s rebellious. She doesn’t care about what people think of her. 

The thing that’s interesting is it’s why I call them rebellious singles. This new narrative that I’ve been working through is this idea of you recognize our domestication, how the world is trying to domesticate you. You rebel against it, and then you reinvent yourself in some way because you’re living a different life. It’s not surprising to me that in the case of Henry Rollins who’s a naturally rebellious person, a punk rocker, and in the case of Emma Watson who’s rebelling against what you ought to do as an A-list celebrity, which is ride it out as long as you can. Keep yourself as relevant as long as you can to say straight up, “As a relatively young person, I’m done. I’m retiring. I’m quitting acting.” The self-partnering thing is cute. 

It’s clunky language, but the idea is that she’s trying to get people to think about it in a different way like you have. Single wasn’t good enough for the show so you had to make up a new word because it has a different connotation. 

There’s not a good language. I struggle with language all the time. I don’t want to criticize her use of self-partnered. It’s certainly cut through the clutter because of who she was at the age that she is. It goes against the media narrative that they want. 

She’s only 30. She’s not 40. It doesn’t matter. 

At 30, what’s typically happening is a woman is turning her attention to that stage in her life. 

We’re in LA. It’s like 35 is the new 25, but around at some point. 

I have an ex who said, “If at 32, you are not looking for your partner, you’re running behind.” It was her perspective. My point is that as a 30-year-old to be, “I’m happy doing this. I’m not looking for someone to complete me,” goes against it. The average age of people getting married in the United States is in their late twenties, so you’re behind, so to speak. Not in LA, but in general. If you wait until 30, you’re still outside the norm in the United States although that’s changing. 

How far outside the norm are you? 

Indeed, I’m far outside the norm. People would be surprised if we left her off the list. I have a quick one and it’s another musician. I have a feeling you’re not going to know who this person is because if you didn’t know Henry Rollins, you’re not going to know who Chris Isaak is. 

I found someone even more obscure than the other one. 

Chris Isaak is never married. He’s a singer-songwriter and his big hit was in the ‘90s, a song called Wicked Game. He has a wonderful album. He has several albums, but he’s best known, in my opinion, for an album is called Forever Blue. There are songs on it like somebody’s crying and the baby did a bad thing. Chris Isaak sings love songs for the most part. He plays acoustic guitar and has a great voice. He’s a good-looking guy.  

I’ll read the quote that he said in an interview. He says, “The longest relationship I’ve been in is with my band. My personal relationships have never lasted because my work was always number one. It’s not that I never thought about marriage and kids, but I was either busy writing and recording music, acting, or on the road. Kids are like sailboats. They look good on a sunny day and in the distance, but require a lot of maintenance.” 

I can see why you like that one. 

What I like about it is this juxtaposition of a man who goes around making his money, making his living, singing about love, singing about relationships, and yet, he is so focused on his singing, making music, recording, and touring that he doesn’t have time for that. He doesn’t have a desire to set that stuff aside in the same way that Rollins didn’t want to. My first two people show this tug of war that exists between something that they might feel passionate about the consumes them and the challenge of having a traditional relationship. What we call in behavioral economics, the opportunity costs of living that traditional relationship escalator. 

I don’t see any contradiction between his writing love songs and his being single because a lot of times, people who are romantics like that early whirlwind beginning part of love. That’s the part with songwriting that you associate with. It’s like the drama of falling in love with someone, but marriage is more of a friendship over time. It’s cohabitation. To me, it makes more sense that he would write love songs if he’s not getting married. 

One of those songs where somebody is crying is a song about heartbreak. One of the interesting things about heartbreak is that people experience loss. “There are not songs to celebrate. We had a wonderful relationship and it came to a natural end.” We don’t get songs about that kind of thing. In the same way that Jennifer Aniston feels like her divorces weren’t failures. Those marriages weren’t failures. 

Everybody was still rich afterward. That makes a big difference. 

It does help when it doesn’t devastate your pocketbook as well as your heart. Listen to Chris Isaak’s music, but know that he’s not going to write songs about making music. 

All of this was made up about what he said. Pete just wanted to talk about Chris Isaak. It’s one of his excuses to talk about him. 

I’ve also tried to get him on the showno luck yet either so we’re just going to talk about him. Chris, we don’t need you anymore. Who do you have next? 

Who I have next is Trevor Noah 

Who’s that?  

I knew him from his stand-up. Once Jon Stewart left The Daily Show, I was done. He is the host of The Daily Show and a stand-up comedian. He’s a prominent, another famous person. He had a notable interview on Howard Stern where he’s not anti-marriage. I don’t think he spoke specifically about this, but I assume that he’s not anti-marriage. He’s not anti-having kids. Not that anyone’s anti-having kids in general, but for themselves. 

I don’t know anything about Trevor Noah’s personal life. 

I don’t either, to be honest. 

It sounds like he’s a private person. 

He’s keeping it under wraps. His thing is that although he believes in marriage, he does not believe in living together. You get married and stay at separate residences. This is what he said.  

Look at you. Now listen to this. 

That is true romance when you lose the naivete of you just enjoy it all. 

That’s why I’m an advocate of living together before you get married.  

I’m a big advocate for not living together ever even if you’re married. One of the biggest reasons people get divorced and relationships break up is because of this cohabiting bullshit that we’ve come to believe is the way relationships are supposed to be.  

I’m going to recommend a relationship with Robin Quivers for you. 

The other person who doesn’t want to live with anybody. 

That’s what I’m saying. That’s good for you. You cannot tell me that everyone was designed to live the same way. Our intimacy can be expressed in different ways.  

What’s going to happen with you I wonder?  

I don’t know. That’s what’s beautiful. 

That’s what he said. The only thing is I honestly couldn’t tell from this whether he was saying. In general, this is a flawed idea that there were fewer divorces if people didn’t live together or if he’s just saying that he doesn’t want to cohabitate. It wasn’t totally clear to me. 

My sense of it is he clearly doesn’t want to cohabitate and probably recognizes that it works for some people and it doesn’t work for other people. We had an episode about Alternative FormOf Marriage and one of those is living apart together. There are couples who marry. They do the church, the contract, and the whole thing, but they live in a separate residence. Not even separate rooms they may sleep in but separate residences and maybe even separate cities. 

This is a luxury. This is a rich people’s decision. Now and historically, a lot of the reason for getting married is to merge your finances. Most people couldn’t do that if they wanted to. 

Children are expensive. If you’re going to live apart, you’re probably not going to have kids. 

I was assuming that. That would be odd. 

The other thing is it depends a little bit on how you decide to live. Truly, if you’re low-income living in a small apartment with two people saves a lot of money, but if you have two people move into a house versus two people living in separate apartments, it’s not that much different. It depends a little bit on how much of the American dream you’re pursuing, I suspect.  

It depends a little bit whether you want to even see them when you wake up in the morning. 

It’s a reasonable case to make. For me, I’m not thrilled and I’m not that excited to live with someone. 

That’s more of a euphemism than self-partnered. 

I don’t want to live with someone. I wouldn’t rule it out completely. 

Yes, you would. You would never live with someone. 

I don’t want to say I’ll never live with someone in the way I will say I’ll never have kids. Be that as it may. It’s less of a never kind of thing for me. The idea that you might live apart together to me seems like an appealing solution, which is someone would be happy to have a committed relationship in their life but doesn’t want to merge their lives. It sounds like Trevor Noah is one of those people. 

I feel ambivalent about making this dated lame reference maybe. In Sex and the City, which my roommate and I binge-watched all of it during quarantine, there’s an episode where Carrie is asking her female friends if she should do that type of marriage with Big. She’s like, “I miss the times when I miss him.” She missed the feeling of being apart from someone and then missing them. She was asking her friends if she should do it and they were all like, “That’s not marriage. You want three days a week off from your marriage?” I wouldn’t want to do this personally. 

You’re different. You like living with someone. You thrive when you live with someone. 

First, I lived with three other girls together in an apartment, my best friends, and then I moved in with one of them. I wouldn’t want to live alone. I live with my best friend. 

To call back to a previous episode with Amy Gahranshe is solo poly. That means that she has two sweeties as she calls them. That’s her term. She doesn’t live with either of her sweeties but she has roommates, so that is super interesting. Amy is not against living with people, but she doesn’t want to live with one or both of her partners. To me, there are two orthogonal things, which is do you want to live with someone? Yes or no? Do you want to live with your partner? Yes or no? I’m in a place where I don’t want to live with anyone, whether that person is a partner or not a partner. You would be okay with either of those things. You prefer living with someone. 

I have to. There’s a scary place in my head if I’m alone for too long. 

My next and final person is Whoopi Goldberg. I’m sure you know her. 

I know her. 

Whoopi’s breakthrough was The Color Purple in 1985. Whoopi’s incredibly accomplished. She is 1 of 16 entertainers to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award, which is incredible. Since 2007, she’s been a co-host on The View. It’s a daytime show of a group of women hosts. That’s all I know. She has a book, which is a great case study, and the title of the book is If Someone Says “You Complete Me,” RUN!. 

Now you can’t make that the title of your book. You must be upset.  

This book is filled with great quotes and great observations. I’m going to read a couple of them here to kick this off. 

Did you read the whole book? 

I read much of the book. It’s a fun book. It’s Whoopi. She’s funny and she’s bright. She’s a good writer or her ghostwriter is a good writer or one of the other. Who knows? On living single, what she says is, “I need you to understand that it’s okay to want to be by yourself,” which is such an interesting thing. We have to tell single people that it’s okay to be single. Imagine if someone says, “Mary, it’s okay to be married. It’s okay to go do that. It’s okay to give up your singlehood.”  

Instead, we have to do the opposite, which is to say, “It’s okay to forego this.” What should you be doing instead? She says, “Leading your own fulfilling life, learning new things, working on your career, your friends, and family, your causes and passions. Instead of sitting around waiting for some guy to call, go develop yourself,” which is essentially the fundamental idea behind Solo. Don’t sit around waiting. This is a great time in your life. Whether it be for now or forever, that’s there. 

I do have to say I don’t agree with that line of thinking though. Just because you are interested in getting married when you find someone doesn’t mean you’re waiting for your life to begin. You’re being black and white about this, to be honest. 

Perhaps I am but there’s a lot of conversation about waiting until that moment. 

I agree with you. There’s a lot of flawed messaging with that you’re not complete thing. It’s problematic. I also don’t know necessarily that many people think like that. 

She says, “You should run if you hear, ‘You complete me.’” She says, “If they complete you, they can deconstruct you as well. The idea that you’re walking around as half a person I find bizarre.” People say my better half. The idea that a unit is a high elevation, high-status thing. Until you’re there, you’re waiting to get into that place. 

I love that line, “If they complete you, they can deconstruct you.” 

I’ll end with this final quote from her book that says, “People don’t understand that friendships sometimes are the things that last longest in life.” The idea that lovers, husbands, wives may come and go, but oftentimes, friends are there. They were there before, they’re there during, and they can be thereafter. They’re often the ones picking up the pieces after someone’s been deconstructed. 

Should that be our new conscious uncoupling? We’re deconstructing. 

Whoopi’s gotten to the point in her life where she is unapologetic. She’s written an entire book. It’s not that the entire book covers that, but the premise of that book is you don’t need someone else. If that other person is seeking that from you, you should be wary of that person. In the same way, you shouldn’t be looking for it. You should look out for the person who’s looking for you to complete themselves. I’m not saying that everybody feels like they’re waiting around.  

As I’ve been thinking about the underlying psychology of singles, there are the singles in the world who are happily single, remarkable, and unapologetic. They may be that way. They may be single at heart. They may want to be single for life. They also may be open to something. That something may feel a little less traditional because they still feel like they maintain some independence. That’s one category with two subcategories, and then there’s the one that we know, which is the person who is hoping, waiting, looking, and feels like anything that’s not pushing them along that path is a waste of time.  

You see this on the apps. “Don’t waste my time.” What does it mean to not want to waste their time? When someone says don’t waste my time, what they’re signaling is, “I want this particular thing. I want to get on this escalator. If you take me away from that, now you’ve wasted my time.” Versus someone who might be happily single doesn’t see that as a waste of time. “I met someone there interesting. It didn’t work out.” 

I have a thing. Even if I sit down and I immediately don’t respect the man or I find him incredibly off-putting, I always stay at least 1.5 hours on a date because if I find them truly bizarre, then that’s entertaining. It’s just a weird night, and then I tell stories and maybe I’ll use it as a character in writing something. I will never leave. If you were in that mindset of like, “Here’s my night of the week where I’m looking for my husband,” then you’re like, “No, I’m leaving.” You close off to the absurdity of it. For me, the attraction is silly things, but it might be that you make friends. 

There’s a whole host of things that can happen from meeting someone for coffee or a drink and it’s not seen as a failure if you don’t walk down the aisle with that person. Who do you have next? This is our last person. 

The last one is Bill Maher. Out of all these, he’s definitely the most aggressive and out in the way he talks about it. If you don’t know him, he’s a comedian. He has done Real Time with Bill Maher. I don’t watch it but I know his stand-up. One thing he says is a great quote from 2002. This has been a while he has been talking about this. “I’m single and middle-aged, which of course is against the law in America. It means you’re evil, wrong, and commitment-phobic.” That’s how ingrained this is in American culture for a man. The stereotypes for men are different than for women. For a man, you’re a playboy or Peter Pan, and for a woman, you’re a spinster or the other way. 

On one hand, if you’re a woman and you’re this way, there’s something wrong with you and you can’t find the right person. If you’re like this as a man, you’re unable to commit. There’s something flawed about your willingness and your ability to do this important thing, which, of course, is like the idea that Bill Maher’s life is somehow less than because he’s been unwilling to do this. The man has been a comedian and he’s a thinker. He’s a combative individual politically and so on.  

He has been an advocate for speaking up for singles. In his show, he called out Mitt Romney in his speech. Senator Mitt Romney had referenced helping families a dozen times in his speech. This is about the pandemic and he was like, “FU. What about single people? They still have needs. They are still contributors to society,” and so on. Bill Maher, I’d love to have you on the show also. As well as Whoopi Goldberg, Emma Watson, and Jennifer Aniston. Of course, I’d want Jennifer Aniston the most. 

Good luck with that. 

It’s interesting the narratives that happen around these folks. Bill’s interesting because he’s not a terribly agreeable person. He’s a little bit sour, in some ways, his personality and his attitude and so on. That may be his on-screen persona. He might be quite a sweet man backstage, but one of the things about him is he likes his life. He likes to go out and tour. I remember that interview where he goes on and talks about like, “I have my money.” He is complete, which is interesting. He’s not wanting anything. 

He did say it wasn’t about the devotion to comedy. That wasn’t the reason for being single. 

In the way that Henry Rollins devotion to his creative work. 

This was different. The quote is, “I never understood how you can be with a person day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after-year.” It’s a little ironic because it sounds like he doesn’t want a commitment but that doesn’t mean that he’s an immature, terrible person. He’s like, “This is not what I want.” 

Here’s the deal. Immature, terrible people get married all the time and it doesn’t make them more mature and less terrible people. It’s not a prescription for growing up necessarily. People who don’t have their act together get married. It doesn’t necessarily make them get their act together. 

The prescription for growing up is having kids. I will die a youthful woman. 

Bill Maher is a rebellious single. He is willing to mix it up and go against the grain and criticize and so on. Comedians are naturally rebellious individuals. That’s a fitting end to this. 

Should all of these people date each other and then do this weird contradiction of absurdity. Jennifer Aniston dates Bill Maher. 

Who would go out with whom? 

I would put Emma Watson with Trevor Noah. 

That’s the obvious one. Bill and Whoopi, of course.  

I was just looking at mine. I don’t care about yours. 

As you think about the seven rebellious celebrity singles, are there any closing thoughts that come to mind as you reflect on this? 

I do want to say that, to me, the childless part is as important as being single part. Just to give my personal inclination, I’m not somebody who doesn’t want to get married. I would get married, but I know that I’m not going to have kids. That’s still I would say an alternative lifestyle. With women, there’s a lot of pressure to have kids, which is unique to women, and men experience that pressure but not in the same way.  

To go back to gender for who you started with, her pressure is twofold. One is to get coupled up and the other one is to have a child. The issue is I have readers who are single parents. I’m going to start a series on solo parenting because I don’t want to overlook them. Singleness tends to correlate, especially lifelong singles without having kids. It’s not complete. If you think about it, Jennifer Aniston could easily have had a kid. 

You’re married twice and Brad Pitt has enough kids. Maybe not enough. Maybe they should get some more. 

She could have had a child as a single parent without men. 

If Jennifer Aniston was 70 and wanted to have a baby, she could do it. There’d be some scientist who was like, “I’m up for bat. 

Eggs could be frozen and so on and so forth. My closing thoughts as I think about this list is I want to point out the different perspectives that these rebellious celebrity singles have. Some of them are okay with coupling up but does don’t want to live together. Others are like, “I don’t have time for that. I don’t want that. It’s going to get in the way of my joy and the way of my passions that are there.”  

Others warn against the risks of it in a way that is designed to solve a problem to complete oneself. It puts you in some ways at greater risk in the case of Whoopi Goldberg and so on. This has been super fun. I’m more interested in regular everyday people, my readers, my community members on the Solo Slack channel, on Clubhouse, and so on. These are people who managed to cut through the clutter with regard to their perspectives. Mary, thank you for doing the research and bearing with me people who you don’t know and maybe even my readers don’t know. 

I’m used to that.  

This was great. 

Thank you, Peter. 

Cheers. 

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About Mary Dahm

SOLO 74 | Rebellious SinglesMary is a writer and high school English teacher. She studied English literature and history at Boston College and recently earned a Masters in Teaching from USC. She has appeared on three popular episodes of Solo: Write your way out, People who should never have married, and Nietzsche on friends.

 

 

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