Re: Workshare
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2013 10:55:03 -0800 (PST)
On Jan 26, 2013, at 6:04 PM, Jenny Guy <jenstermeister [at]> wrote:

> At this point we're all single-person households with grown
>   children, and we're wondering if we should give couples a break.


This is a viewpoint is sometimes reflexive to which I react strongly. In the 
1950s, coupledom became exalted as the status everyone aspired to, above and 
beyond the long standing need for women to be married for financial reasons. 
Being married became a measure of mental health. If you were not married, and 
even worse, divorced, you were obviously a defective person and not socially 
acceptable. One single woman reported being seated with the children at a 
dinner party.

Divorced women were particularly discriminated against. Not only because they 
were rejects but it was assumed that they were then out to steal someone else's 
husband. And sex-starved. 

Our Unitarian Church, even a liberal forward-thinking church, had a couples 
club. Obviously exclusive. There were no other clubs.

In the 1970s, women began being single by choice in great numbers and social 
groups were "mixed." When we had potlucks, couples brought one dish. Singles 
brought one dish. Tickets for special events were one price for couples. The 
same price for singles. Memberships that included benefits were one price for 
couples. The same price for singles. This was true even when the event included 
a banquet meal. Couples got one meal free. Or singles paid twice as much, 
depending on your point of view.

Men deserved a break because they were breadwinners. Women obviously couldn't 
pay their own way because they didn't work.

It was a huge effort in the 1970s to get this changed. To stop penalizing 
single people socially or financially or giving a free ride to people who were 
coupled up.

So why should couples do less work than singles? Couples are two people who use 
the community resources just as any other two people would. They may or may not 
have children. But singles also have children. People with young children 
living in the community use even more community resources than people without. 
So people without should do more work?

The interesting thing is that people rarely look at the other side when they 
consider "discounts" -- that others have to do more work. How many hours does 
that add up to?

We have had households in which one partner was less interested in the 
community than the other and thus contributed less. Over time, however, this 
has balanced out with both partners being being more equally involved. 

In all households with young children, evening meetings are harder. For single 
parents impossible. But there are a million things in cohousing that need to be 
done. The inability to find a job that fits into one's schedule and talents and 
tastes is an excuse. Probably the effect of being able to avoid making an 

My question is why are people living in a community and not making room for it 
in their lives? Including couples. Including parents. Including the busy. Some 
of us have more flexible lives, but we all have 24 hours in a day. No more, no 

Sharon Villines, Historic Takoma Park, Washington DC
"The truth is more important than the facts." Frank Lloyd Wright

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