Weird confession: I love stock photos.
It started a few years ago when I worked for a digital marketing agency. At least once a day I would snort in laughter as I scrolled through countless pages of royalty-free imagery to use in blogs and social media posts. My coworker at the time, Michele Townsend, was equally amused by these overly dramatic posed photographs, so I knew she’d have to be involved in my search for the most bizarre representations of singleness in the stock photo realm.
This is not my first collaboration with Michele. In the past, we’ve engaged in similar back-and-forth banter on topics such as overrated beach trips and everyday awkward life moments. We have since moved on to bigger and better things, like critiquing stock photos. So sit back, relax, and enjoy our interpretations of the seven greatest search results for “single” on Getty Images.
1. The Vampiress
Michele: This woman is single because she drank the blood of her last boyfriend and he is dead now. The thought engulfs her in above moment of private rapture.
Paige: Interested in: Men. Any blood type.
2. The Exile
Michele: This is one of the top results for “single,” and honestly there’s a lot to unpack here. The suit: as if a single person is confined to professional attire 24/7, having no real life outside the office. The contemplative gazing: a single stock photo classic. But really it’s the white background that gets me. As if, without a partner, you are nothing but a corporate wanderer trapped between dimensions. Save him, someone. Spouse him now. His singleness has caused him to slip between the very cracks of the universe.
Paige: Why can’t we see the man’s face? I’d suggest that this is actually symbolic, representing one’s lack of identity without a significant other. As for the perpetual business suit–I mean, what do you even do outside of work if you’re single? You float in a white purgatory until the next workday, that’s what.
3. The Skyline Searcher
Paige: That’s right. You contemplate the futility of a partnerless existence. CONTEMPLATE.
Michele: I’m thinking this is Emily Dickinson? Who never married and I guess also gazed over blurry modern cityscapes?
Paige: “Hey, Emily! Karaoke tonight?” “No. I have an existential crisis at 6:30 every Friday evening. You know this.”
4. The Shut-in
Paige: Don’t even think about leaving the house. Get your grubby, ringless fingers off the blinds and lay in the dark until a boyfriend materializes.
Michele: I want to connect this woman with Emily Dickinson from photo #1. Maybe they could be friends and gaze off contemplatively together.
5. The Couch-bound Phone Addict
Michele: The default position of a single person is horizontal, obviously.
Paige: Yep, get comfortable on that couch; you’ve got nowhere else to be. Sitting and swiping, swiping and sitting. When you have technology, who needs human companionship?
6. The Window Watcher
Paige: 9 out of 10 relationship experts recommend staring longingly out the window for hours at a time. Simply irresistible.
Michele: I don’t know. To me it just looks like this woman is discovering her face. Like, LOCAL WOMAN DISCOVERS FACE.
7. The Wasteland Wanderer
Michele: I’m glad Big Stock Photo is acknowledging that single people can enjoy desert adventures, but I can’t help feeling like this woman is going to die out there. Where the heck is she going? There’s no civilization in sight, and surely that little messenger bag can’t contain much food, water, or shelter. Who took this picture?! Tell her to turn back, don’t just stand there profiting off of this!!
Paige: She’s seeking the Oasis of Affirmation, where single men with dad bods and no commitment issues will fan her with palm fronds and call her #bae–all of which will go directly on her Instagram story.
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Interested in hearing more of Michele’s take on things? Follow her on Twitter.