So last night, I was browsing through other blogs by single women, and I came across a post that kind of irritated the shit out of me. I’m paraphrasing here, but the title was something along the lines of “why you’re still single” – as written to a female audience of women in their mid-thirties and beyond. Because what a miserable existence that must be!
I should mention, the post was written by a man.
The author then proceeded to list out all the possible things a woman might be doing wrong if she’s STILL single when she’s practically knocking at death’s door at the ripe, wrinkled up age of, say, 38. He urged women to stop going out in groups with other women, because that’s intimidating to men. He suggested women lower their expectations – like perhaps, maybe date someone with kids even if that’s a deal breaker… because once you’re reduced to your 30s or 40s, you should take what you can get, right? He also suggested women ask themselves the “hard questions,” like whether they’re too focused on their careers or are dating the wrong people. Then he said, “There’s a reason why you’re 38 and single.”
You can imagine me banging my head on the keyboard at this point. But for shits and giggles, I continued…
The blog post, essentially, suggested that a woman who’s in her mid-thirties or older and is also single must be broken – that there must be something about her that needs fixed because singleness is a sign of ineptness in some area of her life.
Well, I’d like to challenge that ass backward, antiquated, patriarchal BULLSHIT.
Here’s some alternative reasons why you might be a woman who is single during the best effing years of her life.
- You have standards. I recently wrote a post about deal breakers – identifying them and staying true to them. This is the same for standards. If you don’t want to date a man who [fill in the blank], you don’t owe anyone an explanation for that. If it’s important to you, it’s something you should hold out for in a partner. Maybe you don’t want to date a man who has children, who has been through multiple marriages, who doesn’t have some sort of steady career, who is of a different religion or has different political ideologies – GREAT! Write it down and commit to it. If you’re politically liberal and you know that being with someone with a similar political perspective is a must-have, then dating an ultra-conservative probably isn’t going to work out. You shouldn’t feel bad about that, nor should you scratch that off your deal breaker list for fear that your ideal dude doesn’t exist. Be proud of your standards, don’t compromise on them. Your standards should raise, not drop, as you become older and experience more of life.
- You have a career. Oh my god, imagine this. It’s not 1900 anymore. Women can do things like go to college, start businesses, and climb corporate ladders. Just like men who are dedicated to their careers, business-minded women may find themselves working a lot of hours to reach their business and financial goals. Sure, if you want a relationship with someone, it’s necessary to create some time for them, but being “too focused on your career” should not be a red mark against a woman. I know many men who find brainy, successful women to be quite sexy.
- You aren’t searching for a husband. This is a good follow-up to #2, above. Because it’s not the freaking middle ages anymore, and because women can bring home their own bacon (and fry it up), they may no longer feel the drive or need to get married. It’s okay to break convention, define your own style of relationship. Maybe you want to be like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and have a lifelong monogamous commitment without seeking a contractual agreement or the government’s blessing on your relationship. Maybe lifelong monogamy isn’t for you, and you’d prefer a number of short-term relationships, instead. Maybe you mostly prefer being single, and like to toss in a lover here and there, as you please. The truth is that most people are socially wired for marriage, and if that’s not your bag, it might take a little more work to find partners or the type of relationship you desire. It certainly isn’t an indication that something is wrong with you, however.
- You make your own money. Oh, my favorite. Maybe a woman is single because she has the power of financial independence. When finances are no longer a factor in relationship decisions, as they are less and less for more and more women, it becomes easier for women to call their own shots and create relationships on their terms. Men have done this for centuries.
- You value your independence. Maybe a lady is single in her 30s or 40s because she’s come to value her independence. That’s a tough one to give up, and for some women, relationships can be like caging a wild horse. This doesn’t mean she wouldn’t like a partner, but that she needs one who can let her breathe, who isn’t threatened by her need for space and independence.
- You don’t view singleness as a curse. Finally, maybe you’re single because, frankly, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. When compared with an alternative of being with the wrong person, for the wrong reasons, staying single seems to have a lot of perks.
A woman in her 30s or beyond might be single for a number of reasons, and those reasons could certainly be choices that are fully within her control. Perhaps, she’s just a boss.