Are You Ladies Alone?

One of the jokes dear to my second wave feminist heart is the one where a group of women walk into a restaurant and the maître de asks: “Are you ladies alone?” Rifling through my notes of yore I came across the perfect answer to the question: “No, we’re together.” Almost two decades into the 21st century, the patriarchal, if not heterosexist underpinnings of the maître de’s rhetorical question are still with us. Despite the statistical rise in unmarried women among adults in the U.S. (by 2009 they outnumbered married ones) stereotypes and prejudices still persist. In her book Singled Out, How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, Bella DePaulo, writes that despite this dramatic rise in numbers, stereotypical thinking still persists: to be single is to be without family, unloved, unwanted, and “alone” no matter how much company you keep.