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Rough Spots DEAR SUSAN: I've had it with being single. It's full of potholes that never get fixed, and I end up alone, crying myself to sleep many nights. What's with me? Is every unmarried woman hiding tears like me? — From the "Single File" blog DEAR …Read more. Hermitude DEAR SUSAN: You're always writing about undependence — the word you coined that means wholeness, I guess. Well, I've proved that I can do it all — be a good parent, have a life, work, manage it all. But now what? I'm so darned lonely. &#…Read more. Life Support DEAR SUSAN: It feels as if it's all up to me. As a single person, without a partner right now, I have to be the captain of my ship, making all the decisions and choices. I could use a little help. — From the "Single File" blog DEAR BLOGGER: …Read more. The 'As If' Life DEAR SUSAN: Your work interests me. What made you choose single life to write about? — From the "Single File" blog DEAR BLOGGER: Back in the days of the covered wagon — now hold it right there! "Single File" isn't that old! To continue: …Read more.
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Devalued

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DEAR SUSAN: I had plans to go to a film with my BFF and was really looking forward to dishing with her over a meal afterward. But this afternoon, she phoned and canceled. Why? Because some new man in her life wants to see her tonight. What am I, chopped liver? — From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Ouch. It hurts to be told your company is considered second-rate, (distant) runner-up to the male. Even an unknown commodity — which this new man certainly is — gets preferential treatment when it comes to scheduling time. Not only are you, her best friend, given basement status but also the substitution came at the last minute, with little or no explanation or regrets. You certainly have a right to feel devalued as a person and as a same-sex buddy. Your BFF just announced that time with a same-sex friend is cheap, simply a filler until a man enters the picture. Like your best friend, many women devalue every form of companionship while waiting for The Man Who Isn't There. Because they consider themselves alone if they share time with someone other than a "live one," they almost turn cartwheels to share their time with a man. You are correct in feeling like an also-ran, because that's how you rank in your BFF's mind. (Incidentally, you might consider changing her title to BFUUM, best friend until and unless a man comes along.) By the way, chopped liver is considered by some to be a gourmet delicacy.

DEAR SUSAN: A good friend suggested I take a meditation course, and you know what? I panicked at the thought of making a commitment to go to the four-night course. Has living alone done me in? Will I still be able to make a love commitment when the real thing shows up? — From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Slip-sliding away from promises is part of living single.

Without a mate (or anyone else) to account to, many unmarried people become quite adept at gently bending their promises. (This isn't a built-in character flaw; it is acquired, the dark side of flexibility.) What I mean is that solo life can lead to an increased ability to sidle out of commitments and a decreased ability to follow through. (As in, "I'll call you soon, and we'll do lunch.) Every year of solo life compounds the fear of commitment.

Toning the commitment muscles takes time, patience and gentleness with yourself. So when you begin your commitment campaign, center the first few battles around nonemotional issues. For instance, arrange with a friend to exercise together on a schedule (every other day, if at all possible) and to pay a "fine" (e.g., dinner out with wine) every time you show up late or cancel. That should keep you diligent. Another thought: Subscribe to a series of concerts, films or lectures. The nature of the series is secondary to the fact that it's ongoing — and the tickets are paid for in advance. Unless illness strikes, be there. (Note: If a one-ticket outlay is better for you, do so. But the more money paid the higher the chances that you will honor your commitment.)

The point of this exercise isn't lost on you, I am certain. Strengthen your follow-through in ways only you know are necessary — and don't quit to follow the lure of an impulse! The payoff? You'll respect yourself for doing what you said you'd do. That has got to be one of the best feelings you can feed yourself.

If commitment is an issue for you, how on earth can you expect your love to follow through without a qualm? And how can you be certain you are not choosing partners with commitment phobias so that you can wriggle off the hook when crunchtime comes?! If you yourself are having trouble honoring commitments, think how dicey it will be to inspire a beloved to honor his!

Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at sumor123@aol.com.

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Comments

6 Comments | Post Comment
@LW1: This is called "sausage worship" and it's a custom among American women.
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The idea behind sausage worship is threefold. A sausage worshipper's goal is to display loyalty to a new piece of meat, to enhance her feeling of self-worth, and to assert social superiority over someone who she wants to treat as an inferior. To a sausage worshipper, friends (especially single female friends) are fantastic sources of support. They're the first ones who get a phone call when she needs help moving, or help unplugging a toilet, or a loan until payday, or just someone to listen to her latest tale of woe. But the second there's the prospect of some fresh sausage, she starts acting like the Queen Bee, and feels entitled to stand up her friends, break commitments, or occasionally not even return calls, E-mail, or texts.
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Woe betide the friend who actually needs help from a sausage worshipper. It doesn't matter if she's having surgery that will leave her unable to walk for days, or if her lease is up, or if she's had a death in the family. As long as the sausage worshipper has the scent of fresh meat in her nose, she's oblivious to everything but the demands of her... ego. The needs of people who have helped her before simply don't matter, because the *people* who have those needs don't matter. In fact, a sausage worshipper finds it necessary to do as much as possible to alienate her female friends, especially the single ones. Under the mistaken belief that members of a noble or entitled class generally treat their inferiors with obvious contempt, sausage worshippers are quick to show their (single female) social inferiors just how unimportant they are now that the Wurst has happened. Supposedly, by displaying extreme lack of respect and lack of consideration to others, a sausage worshipper feels as though she's elevated herself. In reality she's simply displaying a stunning lack of class and savoir-faire.
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A dedicated sausage worshipper who falls in Wuvv will go so far as to create a little artificial reality containing just herself and her fresh piece of meat, so as to better cement a Romantic Intimate Partnership (RIP). This means she can completely re-create herself if she wants to. She can change her religion, her appearance, her style of dress, or her major just to be more appealing to the sausage. The more she acts like his orbiting satellite, apparently, the better he's supposed to like her. It seldom works that way, of course, because men are not stupid. They seldom give a RIP once they realize they're hanging out with a person who doesn't understand loyalty or even basic courtesy, except when it applies to themselves.
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A romance with a sausage-worshipper is generally intense but short-lived. Most people, including men, can recognize a one-way street when they're on it. Nobody really likes to be used and then abandoned. However, for some bizarre reason, sausage worship is so commonplace that the ditched friends often welcome the sausage worshipper back after weeks or even months of being ignored or treated like something people scrape off their shoes. This simply reinforces the sausage worshipper's sense of entitlement and guarantees that she'll do the same thing the next time she gets a whiff of the next salami.
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If it's any consolation, be assured that you'll hear from the sausage worshipper again the second she wants something from you. She'll make mouth noises that sound like an apology, but they won't be sincere. She's "sorry" enough to feel guilty about how badly she's treating you, but not sorry enough to stop doing it. By all means enjoy her company and share some good times together, but don't rely on her for anything, and give to her only what you're comfortable giving with no expectation of reciprocity. She will surely ditch you in favor of the next serving of chorizo or kielbasa, because that's simply who she truly wants to be.
Comment: #1
Posted by: R.A.
Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:34 AM
When R.A. speaks, I listen. And sometimes laugh, too - all the better. What a hoot. And an eloquent hoot! It's better than the column. Your "There you go again" ("if you don't wish to actually find out what issues are actually affecting them, please don't ask any more questions of your single readers") speech belongs in a Hall of Fame.
Comment: #2
Posted by: ClayMore
Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:47 AM
Add me to R.A.'s fan list! Fantastic post and MUCH better than the column!
Comment: #3
Posted by: nanchan
Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:55 AM

LW1: Ditch this supposed BFF.
This person will NOT show you even a modicum of respect.
This is NOT someone you want in your life.
Know that you DO deserve better.


P.S. M18 Claymores work pretty damn good.
Don't believe me... just ask ClayMore (Commenter #2).

Comment: #4
Posted by: Captain Wastey
Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:13 AM
Re: Captain Wastey
I have trouble affording travel, but, if I ever can, the lunch offer still stands.

-- A fan of R.A., who had my back
Comment: #5
Posted by: OccamShave
Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:02 PM
@ R.A. -- That was good.
Comment: #6
Posted by: J
Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:46 AM
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