I just finished reading two separate articles about being a single woman. You can find them here and here if you’re interested, but they can be summed up pretty simply.
Lea Lane, from the Huffington Post, is a widow and has enough to do and enough love that the downsides of having someone else around (dealing with burping, messiness, compromise, indifference) don’t seem worth it to her. Therefore she’s not actively searching for someone. Megan, of my perpetual favorite Jezebel, read Lea’s article and added her thoughts. They both end with the idea that the unhappiness that comes from being alone is never as bad as the unhappiness that comes with being in a bad relationship.
Together, the articles are almost enough to make a girl feel bad about having a boyfriend. (Aside: I’m not calling my boyfriend the DB anymore because we were IMing and he used “DB” to refer to someone we both think is a douchebag. Then we had a moment of silence. Then I promised not to call him that anymore. It stood for Dear Boyfriend, I swear.) Lea and Megan list all the things I loved about being single, and they make it sound like a strong feminist choice.
Excerpts from Lea:
I’m satisfied that I’ve sowed enough oats to make oatmeal for the New York Yankees and still have some left over to feed the waitstaff at Tavern on the Green, with a few spoonfuls to spare.
I don’t want my heart broken again. Ever.
I have an iPhone that I can play with anywhere I go to keep me company and I can always share experiences with someone.
Peeing with the door open.
I was too unwilling to compromise sometimes and too willing to at others.
I eschewed goal-oriented dating and “trying to find someone” in favor of seeing what happened with this guy, this time, one guy at a time (more or less).
I know they aren’t trying to say that women who did meet someone settled. It grates on me a little though – possibly particularly because yesterday I went to a baby shower with six women of my generation. They’re mostly in the middle of or just done with their second pregnancy – weddings are so far behind them that they’re now capable of joking about trading off husbands so that if any one of them feels like having sex (!!) that one woman can take the burden off the rest of them. Joking, I know, but still. I love those women and I know they are all as intelligent and independent as I am, but conversations like that kick off a ‘good thing I’m too _____ for that’ reaction in me. Fill in the blank how you wish – smart, in love, old, ambivalent about children, etc.
So if that’s the case, is that how Lea and Megan feel about me (or the equivalent Emma in their lives)? They see me reading fewer books, running fewer miles, splitting time with my friends and his, and do they think ‘good thing I’m too ___ for that?’
I want to go to bed when I want, even if that’s 8:30. I want to IM my girlfriends during dinner. I want to watch the new episodes of Burn Notice and then go back and start at the beginning for a little (ok, a lot) more Michael and Fiona. I want to flirt. I want to spend a whole Saturday painting pictures and hang them in the living room.
I want to show him my paintings though, and get cranky when he doesn’t like them. I want to laugh at how seriously we take the task of naming our trivia team – Suck It Trebek is our final decision, in case you’re interested.
I’m not about to jump ship. I’m just pondering the fact that a lot of smart women make the choice to stay out of relationships, and the fact that several studies have shown that marriage has a stronger affect on the happiness of husbands than on wives. It’s either a new phenomenon or one that’s been getting more attention lately (my money is on the latter), and I’ve always thought of myself as cutting edge.
My final message to Megan and Lea, because I know they’ve been waiting with bated breath, is this. I was a single adult for a long time, so I know the joys they’re talking about. I’ve been a non-single adult for less time, but there is joy here too.