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“Put a Ring On It”

I’ve always admired dancers for their ease of movement and the way they always seem intimately aware of & comfortable with their bodies.

I’m entranced by Dancer554 (aka “Shane”) and his interpretation of Beyoncé’s latest, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).” It’s amazing! Apparently seduced by the virtuosic, Fosse-inspired choreography of the original, several dance enthusiasts have posted their homages. But Shane, apparently a professional dancer, is the best. And contrary to some of the comments, I love the outfit!

Beyoncé has always graced us with her “Independent Woman” persona, which exudes an impossible self-esteem (in this song, she has the wherewithal to go dancing right after a breakup!) and a constant “all-about-me” assertiveness, which is attractive to those of us who have been known to give a little too much.

It’s a sharp contrast to her very blase “admission” of her marriage to Jay-Z, where she seems to dismiss the whole idea of a wedding or of newly wedded bliss. Why hide the happiness? Wouldn’t the “Miss Independent” of her songs be overjoyed at finally having the love & commitment that she deserves?

Who are we to know what’s in Beyoncé’s head or heart? Either way, “Put a Ring On It” is a fair response to R&B’s rampant mysogynistic lyrics and society’s celebration of commitmentphobic men. Apparently, the song’s protagonist has given three years of her life to yet another guy who wouldn’t move things along (maybe he used the oh-so-ubiquitous “just a piece of paper” argument).

I’ll confess: this type of guy, the “piece of paper” guy, has been a figure that haunted my nightmares for years. I was always worried that I’d get “stuck” with one. You know the type; the one who wants to “live together” indefinitely and have you do everything a married woman would — except be married. The one who says, “I’m not quite ready yet” — and says it for a million years in a row.

This fear remained with me until I , Beyoncé-style, experienced a surge of self-esteem and fearlessness, and realized that being with one of these guys has nothing to do with “waiting for love” and everything to do with rejecting his fear and selfishness, and acknowledging my worth as a woman worth committing to.

A great deal of relationship turmoil forced me to realize that it’s my choice whether or not to be reeled in by one of these Mr. Big types (who, on the surface, usually seem perfectly fine). Loneliness is uncomfortable, but it’s usually just temporary and preferable to being stuck in this endless loop. And if I do end up with a guy like that, you can be sure I’ll be singing this song on my way out the door.

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  1. December 7, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    This post really spoke to me. There is something so powerful about realizing you are worth the effort and worth committing to. One of my most popular blog posts is about learning to be single and happy. Im only 22 but I have done so much to be proud of. Yet it all feels worthless because I dont have a man next to me. How do we overcome that feeling? Every now and then Ill have that surge of confidence then it sinks…

  2. secretsociologist
    January 5, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I don’t know how entirely to get rid of that loss of confidence. I think self-confidence is a fluid thing, it changes with life circumstances.

    What’s helped me the most have been two things: (1) Focus on yourself: as I worked on my own issues & got rid of some baggage, things happened for me and people responded to me differently. This will take care of the “single & happy” part. Being single is a temporary state. Treat these years as a once-in-a-lifetime change to live your dreams.

    (2) Don’t feel bad about wanting to be married & wanting to find someone to spend your life with. This is a good thing! Don’t hang around with (or read articles by) anyone who tries to convince you otherwise. Feel secure & comfortable with your desire for partnership and you will attract people who feel the same.

  3. secretsociologist
    January 5, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Oops, that’s supposed to be “chance to live your dreams,” not “change.”

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