DEAR MISS MANNERS: When do you stop being “divorced” and start being “single”?
GENTLE READER: Divorced people are also, by definition, single, as no remarried lady since Hamlet’s mother invented the paperless divorce has wondered if she was “married” or still “divorced.”
After decades in which people fought to reduce the nosiness of motor vehicle departments, employers and bores, their descendants are only too eager to label themselves with alarming specificity to anyone who will listen. Miss Manners attributes this to social media platforms that began, innocently enough, with the idea that one’s “status” should be as granular as “available,” “busy,” “away,” “at lunch” and so on -- when she would have thought that “listening” and “not” covered all relevant possibilities.
Modern sensitivities notwithstanding, Miss Manners is willing to leave the choice between “divorced” and “single” up to the individual, so long as formerly married persons can agree not to use the latter until the former has been legalized.