Earlier this week, I read this: “Why You’re Not Married” by Tracy McMillan on Huffington Post. Now, set aside your political leanings and your feelings about the forum in which it was posted (mom, grandmother) and recognize that this article is one in a long line of articles in which the author attempts to explain (usually condescendingly) why the single female reader is unmarried. Usually, this is coupled with said unmarried female being painted as a desperate rules girl looking to settle down at all costs. Granted, some of this article and others like it should be taken with a grain of salt, and the author does make one or two fair points. Specifically, I agree with her point about needing to get over the idea that marriage alone will instantly make you happy. I can agree with that. Ultimately, you’re responsible for your own happiness and making it work, and I think that applies across the board, not just in a marriage or relationships.
But I digress. Imagine my surprise when I was told (by a writer for the television show “Mad Men” no less) that the reason I’m not married is because I’m a selfish, lying slut. Who knew!?! (I’m not really, mom, that was sarcasm). As someone who has watched a good portion of her college friends marry, have children, buy houses and do all the other things that “grown ups” do, I have in fact questioned my own “singleness.” I admit to occasionally wondering if I’ll ever find someone to settle down with or what my friends will think if I show up to that ten year reunion as the only one without a significant other. I am conscious of how often I post pictures of my cat to Facebook and do sometimes worry that I’ll end up being your stereotypical spinster cat lady. But, really, being married and being a crazy cat lady are two ends of the spectrum. In reality, when I worry, I’m not worried aboutnot having a significant other, I’m worried about the perception of not having a significant other. I have never been overcome with a desire to get married for the sake of getting married or have children for the sake of having children. Nor do I subscribe to the idea that all unmarried women must retire to a front porch rocking chair where they wile away their days knitting sweaters for their army of felines.
Do I want a partner in life? Sure! Do I need one? Not necessarily. I don’t mean that in a feminist “I can do anything a man can do” sort of way, but in an I can not only get by, but be happy on my own sort of way. If and when I marry someone, I want that someone to be my best friend, not someone who happened to be the best of what was around at the previously apportioned time. My parent’s are each others’ best friends. For over 20 years they have done everything together. I’d like to think that they want to be together. I don’t for a minute believe that finding that kind of relationship has a finite timeline. I’d rather wait and find someone I want to spend the next 20 or 30 years with rather than find someone right now that I make myself spend the next five or 10 with.
To clarify, I don’t think people who marry young have shallow relationships or marriages that won’t last. I’m only entitled to speak for myself and a contrarian calico cat. And lest I give the impression that the only reason I’m single is because I’m picky, allow me to further clarify, that there are myriad reasons I’m still single, none of which have to do with lying or promiscuity as Ms. McMillan would have me believe.
One of the biggest obstacles to my finding someone is that I don’t get out a lot, so unless Mr. Right is shopping at Target, the 7-11 or working as a pizza delivery guy, I’m not going to meet him doing what I’m doing now. (Incidentally, I’ve also been unsuccessful in finding Mr. Right while knitting at Panera, go figure). So what’s stopping me? Well, I can make all kinds of excuses, and I have. If I had more money, if I lost more weight, if I had better clothes, and so on and so on and so on. The truth is, I just need to venture outside my comfort zone. Could I stand to lose weight? yes. Would more money be helpful? Always. Would better clothes help? Probably. But are any of these things keeping me from meeting people? No, at least not the kind of people I want to meet.
Finally, if I never get married, that’s ok too. You know why? Because I’m not a morning person. I don’t enjoy conversing in the morning. I don’t want to talk to someone first thing in the morning. The rest of the time? I enjoy being able to do my own thing. I enjoy laying on my couch watching Dateline, letting dishes pile up in the sink occasionally (or, you know constantly, give or take all the time), and dancing to White Snake in my living room like a crazy person. I enjoy being the only one I’m responsible for (well, me and aforementioned contrarian cat). I like that it’s 1:30 a.m. and I’m writing this without bothering anyone or keeping anyone awake. And, probably best of all, I have people in my life – friends and family that ensure I don’t lack for social interaction or support.
I do want to get married someday, but not to any guy, to the right guy. And until that happens, All I can do is work on making myself happy….and you know, the dishes.