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A critical reading of singlehood, gender and time

“What are you waiting for?” Stop wasting your time” “You will die alone,” “You will miss the train and stay on your own! “. These are just some of the questions and warnings that single women hear on an everyday basis. In a similar vein, single women are constantly being asked whether they are ‘‘still single,’’ or being bid to get married next or soon. Still, soon, ever-after, waste of time, waiting, how long, when, all these form part of the rich language of time.

Table for one is the first book to consider the profound relationship between singlehood and social time. Drawing on a wide range of cultural resources – including web columns, blogs, advice columns, popular clichés, advertisements and references from television and cinema, Kinneret Lahad challenges the conventional meaning-making processes of singlehood and Time and raises pertinent questions about how people conceptualize their lives alone and with others.

Lahad’s unique approach gives us the opportunity to explore singlehood through temporal concepts such as waiting, wasting time, timeout or age and accelerated aging. Other temporal categories which are examined throughout this book as the life course, linearity and commodification of time enable a new consideration of dominant perceptions about collective clocks, schedules, and the temporal organization of social life in general. By proposing this new analytical direction, this book seeks to rework some of our common conceptions of singlehood, and presents a new theoretical arsenal with which the temporal paradigms which devalue and marginalize single women and women’s subjectivies in general are reassessed and subverted.

Open Access (free)

which we can reassess some of our dominant taken-for-granted conceptual frameworks. They give us the opportunity to explore and theorize singlehood through temporal concepts such as Ageism and accelerated aging (Chapter 4), Temporal economy (Chapter 5), and Waiting (Chapter 7). Other temporal categories which are examined throughout this book, such as age, the life course, linearity, and heteronormativity, enable a fresh consideration of our dominant perceptions about collective clocks, schedules, time tables, and the temporal organization of social life in general

in A table for one
Open Access (free)

course can evolve into an anxious wait. In this context, it is important to note that waiting, in common with many of the temporal constructs discussed in this book, entails gender-related differences and age/ gender-related role transitions which, in turn, form different temporal regimes and timetables for men and women. The waiting experiences of single women are WAITING AND QUEUING 97 juxtaposed with widespread images of women as passively waiting while recognizing the pressure of biological clocks and the threat of turning into “old maids.” In this

in A table for one