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[BBC新闻] Why are couples so mean to single people? 眷侣何以难容单身?

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原创先锋解答高手英语达人才华横溢杰出会员乐于分享三级笔译

发表于 2012-11-11 14:48 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
本帖最后由 Rice1919 于 2012-11-11 23:04 编辑

Why are couples so mean to single people?
眷侣何以难容单身?

Author: James Friel Translated by: Rice1919




In a world that celebrates romance and finding The One, people can be rather rude to single people, writes James Friel.
詹姆斯·弗莱尔写道,在这个追求浪漫寻觅红颜的世界,人们对待单身人士的态度着实恶劣。

No-one is supposed to be single.
没有人生来就该单身。

In the course of my life, I have loved and lost and sometimes won, and always strangers have been kind. But I have, it appears, been set on a life of single blessedness.
回首过往生涯,我也曾爱过,有失亦有得,然总是泛泛之交,相安无事。似乎我一心向往过一种单身的辛福生活。

And I haven't minded. Or rather, I realise, I haven't minded enough. But now I kind of do. Take dinner parties. There comes a moment, and that question: "Why don't you have a partner?"
我以往并不在意。现在发现,也许是我之前太大意。但此刻,我意识到了。就说参加晚宴,总有那么一刻需要面对这样的问题:“你为何一个人来呢?”

It is usually asked by one of a couple, with always a swivel of the eye to his or her other half, so really two people are asking this question.
发问者往往是出双入对夫妇,提问时他们还会撇给另一半一个眼神。所以说,这种问题就是两个人才提出来的。

And I struggle to answer: "I have never found the right person... I am a sad and sorry manchild... I am incapable of love... I am a deviant, and prefer giraffes."
我会搪塞“还没找到合适的对象....我悲观、扫兴、孩子气....我无力去爱....我是异类,我就喜欢长颈鹿”之类的废话。

Any answer will fail to satisfy. The questioner expects no happy answer. I am only covering up my bone-deep, life-corroding loneliness. The questioners know this, and the insight they believe it affords comforts them. They are safe.
任何回答都无济于事,因为发问的人没期待你给出像样的回答。我只是在掩饰自己切骨灼心的孤独感。发问者当然知道这一点,这种感觉让他们欣慰。他们是安全的。

They look down from the high castle of coupledom, protected from such a fate. But if I were to ask: "Why have you settled for him? Why are you stuck with her? Were you so afraid of being alone?" such questions would be thought rude, intrusive.
他们从“双人城堡”高高的俯视,庆幸自己并非单身。倘若我问他们:“你为什么要和他在一起?为什么要与她厮守?你们很害怕孤独吗?”我的问题就会显得非常的冒犯和无理。

Last week a friend of mine went on a date. A foolish thing to do. The man she met had been married three times and had a child by each wife. An example of emotional continence I'm sure you'll agree. And he asked my friend, single and childless, why she had failed at life.
上周,我的一位朋友去相亲,这样做简直是愚蠢之极。她遇到的这位男士已经结过三次婚,与三位前妻各生有一个小孩。我把他归为典型的情感节制型。他问我的朋友为何生活如此失败,到现在还是单身且无子嗣。

It was a shortish date. Failed at life?
只不过是场简短的约会,何以置于生活失败?

Single people can also feel this way about other single people, and about themselves. You see, no one is supposed to be single. If we are, we must account for our deficiencies.
即便是单身者,也带有一种对其它单身人士的偏见。没有人生来就该单身。我们若还单身,一定是自己有问题。

A recent book claims on its cover that single people might be the most reviled sexual minority today. But it's not just today.
近日,一本书的封面就写到:“单身是最不受待见的性少数群体”。这种情况并非只是当今才有。

Take the word "spinster". It is withering and unkind. The word, of course, is innocent, but its connotations are unhappy, dismissive and disrespectful.
以“老姑娘”为例,这个词讽刺又恶毒。当然这个词本身是无辜的,但是它的内涵意却透漏着幸灾乐祸、鄙夷可憎的气息。

A few years back, in an age of Bridget Jones-type heroines, the novelist Carol Clewlow wondered about a female reader of her own generation, a woman who had long decided not to twin her destiny with another's. She wrote a novel about this single state. About spinsters.
几年前,布里奇特·琼斯这类女性形象备受追捧之时,小说家卡罗尔·克劳洛想要描述她那个时代的女性读者——不愿让他人掺杂进自己生活的女人。她的小说里就描述了这种单身的状态。

She called it Spinsta.
书名就是《老处女》Spinsta

She delivered Spinsta to her agent, who was delighted, as were her publishers. A campaign was initiated. Various columnists and celebrities were to be asked to consider and celebrate this word, but then another word came back from the booksellers.
卡罗尔·克劳洛的经纪人和出版商对这本书都很满意。此书一出,便引起轩然大波。众多的专栏作家和社会名流纷纷来为品评此词,为其造势。然而畅销书市上却传来异样的声音。

That word was "no". They would not stock and no one would pick up a book with such an ugly word as its title. The novel was retitled Not Married, Not Bothered.
《老处女》遇到了难题。书店不愿进货,读者也不愿挑选一本题目如此不堪入目的书。因此书名只好改为《单身无忧》

When I speak of this subject with women, the conversation, the anecdotes, are plentiful, wry and amusing.
当我和女性朋友谈论这一话题时,就会言语滔滔,侃侃而谈,趣闻奇事信手拈来,不乏风趣。



With other men, gay or straight, the talk is more wistful, hesitant, inconclusive, and even a little pained.
然而和男性朋友在一起时谈论此事,不论对方是同志还是直男,对话多少都会有些沉闷,谈吐踌躇,毫无头绪。这样的对话甚至让人感到痛苦。

Legal now, the gay man must also account for not having a partner. We even agitate for marriage. To be recognised as couples not just by the law - which is right - but by God, which is redundant. But couples rely on such iron definitions, need them.
现在,同性婚姻合法,单身同性恋者也要努力找到另一半。人们还推波助澜鼓动同性结婚,不仅要让同性婚姻被维护道义的法律所接受,还要让它被虚无幻化的神明所接受。被教条束缚的眷侣们却恰恰需要这些鼓动。

Someone might take them to be single, and no one is supposed to be single. And yet I am. Carol Clewlow described me as a male spinster. I admit I was a little bothered until she added "like George Clooney".
有些人接受他们单身的事实,但没有人生来就该单身。我就宁愿单身。卡罗尔·克劳洛说我是“老处男”,我的确有点恼火。但后来她说我像乔治·克鲁尼,才让我平静下来。

Cool, I thought. I could go with that. But Google "male spinster" and there is much bother at the term. Top of the search list is an unreasonably popular piece from London's Evening Standard.
不错,这么说我还能接受。但我谷歌了一下“老处男”,搜索结果让人十分苦恼。第一条结果就是《伦敦夜标报》上非常热门的一篇文章。

It reads: "A male spinster is an unmarried man over the age of 35, a moniker that implies at best these men have 'issues' and at worst are sociopaths. One fears for these men, just as society has traditionally feared for the single women. They cannot see how lonely they will be."
文章写道:“老处男就是35岁以后还未结婚的男人,暗指此人轻则是有‘个人问题’,重则是‘反社会型人格异常’。如同一直以来人们对单身女性的恐惧,人们对此类人也敬而远之。这类人无法感知自己有多孤独。”

How kind this fear sounds. No-one is supposed to be single. To be single must mean to be lonely but far lonelier are those who fear being alone.
这担忧是多么贴心啊。没有人生来就该单身。单身就意味着孤独,但是更为孤独的是害怕单身的人。

Namely, the "I" who is incomplete without a "you". The "me" who is without substance or purpose unless rhymed with a "we". Those tyrannised by the need, the obligation, to go about this world in pairs.
也就是说“我”没有“你”就残缺不全;“我”在结合为“我们”之前,是多么的空虚。人们被所谓的“必须”和“义务”生拉硬拽的结合到一起。

In order to argue for the single person, it seems one must criticise the couple; the culture that coerces us into coupledom, the religions, the familial pressures, the pop songs, the movies, the game shows, the gossip, the unavoidable, inescapable pressure to conjoin, to love.
要为单身者辩护,似乎需要有人站出来批判一下眷侣。文化迫使我们接受二人组合、宗教信仰、家庭烦恼,灌输给我们流行音乐、电影、游戏和无稽之谈,还别无选择不留后路的强加给我们去爱别人的压力。

Freud has it that we become ill if we do not love, and songs tell us we must succumb to a love that - bonding us - will devastate us too. I am nothing, nothing, nothing, if I don't have you. How kind is such a love? Isn't it a little punitive?
佛洛依德说如果我们不去爱,那就是一种病态;歌曲里也教唆我们去爱,去享受这既能把人们结合,有能使人绝望的爱。如果没有你,我就一文不值、无所适从、毫无意义。这种爱又能怎样?难道这不是一种苦刑?

Laura Kipnis, in Against Love, has a chapter called Domestic Gulag, and the prison rules a couple must follow:
劳拉·吉普妮斯将此称为“家庭集中营”,还列出了下面几条必须遵守的规则:

You can't leave the house without saying where you are going
You can't not say what time you will return
You can't leave the bathroom door open - it's offensive
You can't leave the bathroom door closed
You can't have secrets
你不能不打报告就出门
你不能决定何时回家
你不能敞着洗手间的门
你不能锁上洗手间的门
你不能私藏秘密


Nine and half pages later, Kipnis concludes: "The specifics don't matter. What matters is the operative word, can't. Thus is love obtained."
长长的列了九页半之后,吉普妮斯总结道:具体做什么并不重要,让人苦恼的是“不能”这个命令。这些就是爱所给你的。

And Michael Cobb reminds us in a book called Single that Plato defined love as our name for the pursuit of the whole, our desire to be made complete. But Plato has Aristophanes remind us that this pursuit - this need to be completed, this quest for coupledom - is a punishment.
迈克尔·科布在《单身》中告诉我们,柏拉图将爱冠以追求和渴望完整之名。但亚里士多芬又将柏拉图所谓的这种追求——这种对完整的需求,对二人结合的需求,定义为一种惩罚。

Perhaps single people secretly wish to reclaim an original state of being, somehow sense that we do not need to be completed by another, somehow sense that we are able to complete ourselves. The single person might just be too self-possessed.
也许,单身者内心也希望回到最原始的的状态,一种不需要别人来“完整”的状态,一种能够自我完整的状态。单身的人或许过于淡然。

Perhaps we are too honest to be coupled. Perhaps we cannot tell another person: "I love only you. And I will love you forever."
也许单身的人太诚实,也许我们无法对另一半说:“我爱你,直到永远。”

It's quite difficult to tell someone the more truthful: "I love you, you know, for now."
“我爱你,只在此刻。”这句话更加真实,但难以表达。

Sorry. The single person might just be too self-possessed.
很遗憾,单身的人太淡然。

Personally, I don't wish to make satiric judgements against the couple because such judgements - patronising, dismissive and even fearful - are what I resent when asked to explain why I persist in being single.
于己而言,我不愿意用过分的言语去评说那些眷侣们。因为当别人说我为何要单身时,“自高自大”、“目空一切”甚至“吓人”这样的字眼也为我所不喜。

I want to describe myself more positively and not against some grain that abrades both me and anyone else who believes and lives differently.
我希望给自己多一些正面的描述,尊重自己也尊那些与自己有着不同信仰和不同生活方式的人。

My favourite character in literature is the difficult, unclubbable Lucy Snowe from Charlotte Bronte's Villette. At the conclusion of her slippery and singular tale, she manages in her lone voice to define herself as wife, widow and spinster all at once and so none of these at all but - simply, complicatedly - her own marvellous, darkly brave and tricksy self.
文学人物中,我喜欢夏洛蒂·博朗台小说《维莱特》中性格执拗而孤僻的露西·斯诺。最终,露西·斯诺以变化莫测的孤独的命运收场。通过她孤独的声音,成功诠释了她妻子、寡妇还有老处女的角色,亦或只是精细的雕琢了她丰盈的人生,阴郁的勇敢和狡黠的自我。


Dickens' Miss Havisham - compelled by an unrealisable conception of love?
查尔斯·狄更斯《远大前程》角色郝薇香——为并不真实的爱意所困

And I would rescue, too, that martyr, the maligned Miss Havisham. Because I don't believe the single person has a sceptical or reductive notion of love but suspect, rather, that they might be compelled by an even higher, almost unrealisable, conception of it.
郝薇香小姐的命运备受非议,但我依然她辩护,她在我心中的地位难以磨灭。因为我认为单身的人不会对爱有所怀疑,有所保留;反之他们对爱更加敬重,以之于对爱的期望太高,超乎现实。


In the world through which we move, increasingly, we do not expect our relationships to endure. Increasingly, our relative affluence and advances in new technology allow us to live comfortably alone.
在匆匆而过的世间,渐渐地,我们不再祈盼爱情的天长地久;渐渐地,我们习惯了便捷的现代科技带给单身者的安逸生活。

Increasingly, this is what we seem to be doing: we are choosing to live alone. We need stories not about how to become couples. They are legion. We need stories about how to be single, and how to be kept amazed and awake by a joy of our own manufacture.
渐渐地,我们越来越乐于单身生活。我们不需要长相厮守的故事,那已是陈辞滥调。我们需要更多单身的故事,更多的去享受自己营造的快乐与精彩。

Although I was born single, I never considered that this would continue to be my fate.
我虽单身,但深信孤独亦非吾之命。

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