Shani Silver Moves On From ‘Every Single Day’ Column NPR’s Leila Fadel speaks with essayist Shani Silver on the end of her Refinery29 column covering single womanhood.
NPR’s Leila Fadel speaks with essayist Shani Silver on the end of her Refinery29 column covering single womanhood.
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
This one’s for the single ladies out there – your self-love coach is breaking up with you. Shani Silver is stepping away from her Refinery29 essay series Every Single Day, after almost two years of sass, self-deprecation and empowerment. Silver’s first essay, published in October, 2018, was titled “I’m 36, And I’ve Been Single For 10 years. Spoiler: I’m Fine.” And that was her stated goal – to convince her readers and herself that being in your 30s and single is OK, that if you are, quote-unquote, “past your prime and single,” you’re not broken.
Shani Silver is with us now to help us lick our wounds and tell us everything will be all right.
Shani Silver, great to have you back on the program.
SHANI SILVER: Thank you so much for having me.
FADEL: So, first of all, ending the series was not your decision, doesn’t reflect any major life change for you. You’re still single. But after two years of writing about it, do you feel like you’re in a different place in your life?
SILVER: I think it was always going to be a journey forward. It’s been two years. I think there’s a natural amount…
SILVER: …Of growth and progression that we go through as adults. But for me, it doesn’t really end anything. I’ve been writing about relationships and dating since about 2013, and I’ve been writing specifically about single life for about the last two years on Refinery, on my website, on Medium. And I launched a podcast on the topic. So in that way, nothing’s really ending. But I did want to have a proper goodbye with the Refinery29 audience.
FADEL: Last time you were on the program, you had just written about your experience quarantining alone. Let’s hear what you said at that time.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)
SILVER: As human beings, when we’re scared, it’s helpful when you have someone to be scared with. You are alone for the duration of this, and that duration is uncertain. And that doesn’t take away from being very comfortable, being a single woman. It’s just adding on new feelings that I was not experiencing before the pandemic.
FADEL: Can you give us an update on how you’re doing now?
SILVER: Yeah, I’m kind of over it. I think I’m fine…
SILVER: …For lack of a better way to put it. It’s an alarming thing to realize, but I kind of got used to it.
SILVER: I don’t like that I’ve gotten this used to being this alone. That’s kind of uncomfortable. But also, it’s a bit of a mercy right now because this isn’t going anywhere.
FADEL: You spent a lot of time in your essays telling single people that they don’t need to constantly chase after relationships. Why was that an important thing for you to write about?
SILVER: Because I didn’t see anyone writing about anything else.
SILVER: All I ever saw created for single people – specifically for single women – was content about dating or services pertaining to dating or products pertaining to dating or meme accounts pertaining to dating. It was as if the only thing that should matter to a single woman is ending her single status as soon as possible, as if it was a problem that she needed to fix as soon as possible.
And I think the accumulation of all of those societal messages over time – that was a really big problem for me. And if it was a problem for me, if it was hurting me emotionally, or my mental health was sort of suffering at all of these constant messages that I was somehow wrong or failing or lacking…
SILVER: I wanted to put a new narrative out into the world. Because I think there is a false narrative surrounding, well, if she loves her single life, and she’s happy being single, that must mean she doesn’t want a relationship. And that’s not true at all. You can be happy being single and still really look forward to your next relationship. That’s possible. And I wanted to tell that story and share that perspective and broaden what we talk about around single life because there’s so much…
SILVER: There’s so much joy to it that we’re overlooking when we’re constantly just searching for another person.
FADEL: And do you think you are shifting the narrative on what it is to be a single woman?
SILVER: I really hope so. I mean, I’ve been at this a while. I really, really hope so. We’re in a time of new narratives. We really are.
SILVER: You know, when I open up a piece of email marketing that’s, like, selling me clothes, if I only see one body type, and it’s the same body type I’ve seen for the last 20 years of my life, I unsubscribe because that brand’s not getting it. That brand’s not getting that we want to see all body types. And I know it’s possible because there are incredible brands out there that are broadening that narrative as well.
Like, we’re in a time of new narratives. And this is the one that I’m really passionate about, and this is the one that I’m going to keep writing about because it means a lot to me that single people – specifically, single women – don’t see themselves as lacking or as failing or as these unchosen people. It’s just a very, very sad and lonely place to be, and I know that because I was there for a decade. I know what that feels like, and if I can come out of that, anybody can. And I want to help.
FADEL: That was Shani Silver. We’re celebrating the end of her Refinery29 essay series Every Single Day. But you can still get a dose of Shani on “A Single Serving Podcast,” which she hosts.
Shani Silver, thank you for joining us.
SILVER: Thank you for having me.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.
NPR thanks our sponsors