I’m single and I have rented a chalet for this coming winter with four other friends who are couples, so five of us in total. The layout of the chalet includes two bedrooms and one pull out couch—one of the bedrooms has a queen bed, and both the other room and the pull out are doubles. We haven’t decided who is sleeping where yet, but when the topic came up the other day one of my friends said, Well obviously Jess (that’s me) will take the pull out. My question is—is that such an obvious assumption? We are splitting the cost five ways and all of the beds fit two. Are my couple friends any more entitled to their own room than I am?
You are certainly not the first person to get the short end of a chalet rental and a whole bunch of other things based on your single status. I have one friend who used to regale me with bachelorhood horror stories—being seated at the kids’ tables at weddings, permanent futon status, etc. At 38, he had never once been invited to a dinner party…until he got a serious girlfriend and—with her—a passport into that magical world of baked brie apps, stemless glassware and awkward chatter.
Candace Bushnell, the creator of Sex and the City (who I once got to interview!!) experienced a comparable social downgrade after she split with her husband and found that suddenly the invites started to dry up: “Once you reach a certain age, people – at least other married people – are more comfortable with other married people. It’s a shorthand. It lets people assume they understand something about you and your life, whether they actually do or not. At this stage in my life, being single is my preference, but still, people think that deep down I want to meet someone or you just haven’t met the right person.”
Note that I have no idea whether you are single by choice or single because you haven’t met the right person, or single because the so-called “right person” ended up being anything but. Nor do I have any idea re. the frequency of your dinner party invites. I’m just saying that your problem is not simply an issue of who sleeps where, but rather a symptom of deep-seated societal prejudices.
Despite much progress with regards to the recognition of so-called “alternative lifestyles,” we still live in a nuclear–centric society that views singledom as, well, a second class #squadgoal. We idealize coupledom, we deify parenthood and we act like not viewing these things as the be all and end all means you haven’t got it all figured out yet. Again, this may be totally irrelevant to your sitch. Perhaps you are absolutely dying to walk down the aisle and have babies and experience the Bed Bath & Beyond stereotype IRL—you just don’t want to spend your winter relegated to the pull out because you haven’t got there yet.
If that’s the case, thanks for indulging my Independent Woman rant (throw your hands up at me). Now let’s proceed to your particular problem.
I am glad you were specific with regards to the size of the beds. Because yes, couples often get better bed options in a group scenario, but often that’s because secondary sleeping surfaces (a couch, a flimsy air mattress, the bath tub) are better suited to one body. If this were about who was going to take the single bed vs. the double, I’d say you were out of luck, but that’s not it.
When your friend says that the couples “obviously” get the bedrooms, what he or she is really saying is that as a duo, they are more deserving of privacy, a door to close, a place to keep their long johns after a long day’s ski. Or maybe it’s “obvious” because couples have sex and ideally, they don’t want to do it in the middle of the living room. This, however, is not your problem…unless you happen to be hanging in said living room at the time.
As stated, you’re all paying equally and should all have equal standing. Maybe write an email telling your friends that since you are renting the place over a full season, you think it makes sense for everyone to take a turn on the pull out. Perhaps be explicit in making your point that all of the beds sleep two, and also be prepared to stand your ground. Rosa Parks didn’t accept the back of the bus and you will not accept that pull out. Your friends may very well be annoyed, but part of standing up for yourself is accepting that you don’t exist to accommodate other people.
Alternatively you could really get into the whole 70s chalet vibe make it more of a musical beds/key party situation. After a night of stiff Harvey Wallbangers and smooth Steely Dan, sleeping arrangements may start to get a little more groovy.