If you think single women are leftovers, eat me
Go on believe her when she tells you nothing’s wrong
I haven’t thought about being single much lately. There’s something about millions of people potentially losing their healthcare or climate change information disappearing from EPA websites that just snaps you right out of your own world, you know?
And then I read this article. Now I’m thinking about being single again. In “How Did I Become the Last Single Person in My Friend Group?” Karley Sciortino, in my opinion a fantastic writer, types out the thoughts I assume many 30-something single women have, most importantly: How did this happen?
My problem with that? What’s wrong with this?
There’s too much unfairness and double standard excrement piling up all around us these days, but if I have to suffer one more person highlighting being single in your 30s as something we’re all trying to fiercely claw our way out of, I will breathe fire.
Why is being a single woman (still?!) an unacceptable thing? Why is it not just a totally normal stage of life? Why is the way I live a problem, even though I date and pay taxes and recycle and always hold the door open for other people at Starbucks? How, in 2017, are we still referring to single 30-something women as “leftovers,” rather than as just … I don’t know, women?
Why are we so quick to assume there’s something wrong with a single woman over 30 who is doing exactly what a single woman in her 20’s is doing? She’s just dating. Why does getting married erase so much wrongness? Why do we set a kitchen timer in some clever barnyard animal shape and if she’s not married by the time it goes off, there’s something wrong with her? Who set the goddamn timer?
And please spare me the eggs argument. Enough with the eggs.
I know that if you’re not living as a 30-something single woman who doesn’t have a problem with that truth, this saltiness can be a little difficult to understand. Let me explain, through a few phrases that popped up for various reasons in Sciortino’s article. (Again Karley, love your work, this is more about the notions in general. I’m going to use the F word now, please don’t take offense.)
We’re not fucking waiting. We’re dating. We’re actively participating in a world that thinks we’re arbitrarily too old based on the freshness of our body parts. (BTW if you think I was “fresh” in my 20s, you were clearly not tracking bourbon sales in Chicago circa 2009.) We’re not sitting atop a pile of career-focused paychecks frowning down on an ocean of men with binoculars, patiently searching for exactly the right specimen. Furthermore, I can promise you that deleting disgusting Tinder message after disgusting Tinder message isn’t “waiting.” It’s surviving.
How, in 2017, have we not debunked this term? Ask any married couple if they settled. Ask them if that’s why they’re married now. If it isn’t, why does it have to be what single women over 30 do? Why do we deserve a lesser version of connection to another human being based on the fact that some women were luckier than we were and met someone they connected with sooner in time? Why is it assumed that single women over 30 must be too picky? Why is it assumed we’re doing something wrong? If someone has a dating algorithm they’ve worked out that tells us exactly when a woman should meet her spouse please stop holding out on me and hand it over. Does anyone have this? Maybe Facebook, I don’t know.
This is where I get angry. I am not secondhand. I am not what’s left after all the good women get married. I am not leftover from anything and anyone who can look at a grown woman and tell her that she is needs to sincerely assess his or her opinions of women in general. Women as things, men as powers. On the fire with that.
I am a single woman over 30 and I am just living what my life happens to be in this moment. I am grateful for every single second that I have because I know I won’t always have them. I know I won’t always be able to travel when I want, live where I want, or make a fraction of the decisions I make as independently as I make them now. One day that will be over, and I’ll there will be another person I’ll be making decisions with. Until then, I’m going to take solo trips to Paris.
I refuse to look at my life as a problem, simply because I happen to be living it alone. I refuse to wake up every morning and think that I’m somehow screwing up by not being partnered. I would like to be happier than that. I am a single woman over 30 and I am happy. I am a single woman over 30 and I am not leftovers. I am, and always will be, quite a dish.