It’s still not approved of. Especially for women, but I’ve got to admit I’ve been guilty of it, too. When I see a profile on a dating site that says the guy is 50 or older and never been married, I have to admit it gives me pause.
Because, if we aren’t totally horrid, someone must’ve wanted us enough at one time to marry us, right?
If you get to age 50 and no one has, you must have mighty carbuncles or a secret axe-murderer personality or some wild collection of ephemera – or maybe you don’t believe in showering or doing laundry or you’ve been in the pen for the last 20 years…
As my single time lengthens, though, I realize that single-hood is, in fact, rather lovely. I don’t sit at home patting my 50 cats. I have good friends that I can see without feeling guilty that I’ve left someone at home, pining for my totally glittering company. I have hobbies that I can indulge without having to clear them away every time someone comes home. I can SLEEP IN. I can make a dinner of vine leaves and artichokes and love it.
If I’m having a bad day, I can sit about in my jammies all day and watch movies where I take out my essential angst or joy or sorrow on the screen without having to think about getting meals and having a discussion. Sometimes it’s good to be in my head.
And if I want to take off on an explore, I can just up and do so. I can go to movies about one thing with one set of friends, go with a date to another, go alone if I want.
It’s all pretty good. I have the occasional lonely afternoon, but that’s only because I’ve momentarily run out of things to occupy myself. I can usually find something. And being comfortable with solitude is a true life skill.
There’s only this one problem – it has to do with my perceived availability/wantonness by others. Married women seem to think I am after their man. It’s pretty funny, that one, since usually I’ve learned about their man from them and know it’d have to be a cold day in hell before I took them on. Seriously, though, the thought of breaking up a marriage or encouraging cheating makes me totally uncomfortable. I remember going absolutely crazy when my ex came back from a deployment suddenly liking Shania Twain just because he had fallen for his driver. He never did anything other than enjoy her presence rather too much, and make the terrible error of sharing that with me. I was shattered.
I couldn’t do that to another woman.
The other supposition is that I must sleep around. I’m a cheery nurse who doesn’t know enough to keep her mouth shut, so most people know I’m not a tightly sewn gal – seen too much to not talk shockingly at times…besides, I’m a natural flirt, and love it, so people see the sparkle in my eyes and think its due to more than an enjoyment of the parry of conversation.
As Jessica Rabbit would say, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way…”
I suppose it’s natural to try and figure people out when you meet them, but it’s a bit offensive these days to assume that a woman is single solely because no one wanted her. Or because too many did.
For a great article on this subject, check out Melanie Notkin’s “Single and Childless: I know what you’re thinking”