108. SINGLE = LOSER? WHATEVER….
What is it about nuptial celebrations that makes me want to scream to the world my eternal gratitude about being a single, irresponsible woman and hide my face in the cracks of my butt all at the same time?
I’m not sure but this year alone I compliment myself at having faced a double whammy of wedding celebrations without coming out feeling like the old maid on that famous card-playing game.
And while the souls of America and Europe ponder over the significance of the institution of marriage and the changing concepts of family and domestic bliss, Asia is still well and alive in its ever-readiness to strike the 30-something single woman down dead – you know, the one who remains firmly non-committal to the idea of ‘I do’.
I happen to be one of those targetted, I’m afraid; the eternal pain in the family joints of touch-and-go relatives who believe I behave more like a man (OK, a stud) more than a woman and that I’m strangely not all quite there in the estrogen department.
And as the calendar years of wedding occasions flit me by, I find my marriageable score card results getting lower and lower as they are analysed and probed like a bad pap smear session at the doc’s. (Pardon my netherworld lingo)
However, meat quality…er I mean marriageable qualities aside, never married women are getting an essentially bad rap from a recent book penned by Larry “You Fudger” Ganong, a professor of the University of Missouri and co-author of the new study “I’m a Loser, I’m Not Married, Let’s Just All Look at Me” that “examine[s] the familial and social messages given to women who are not married by their mid-30s” (Well, at least that’s what the press release said).
Ganong and his co-researcher, Elizabeth Sharp, a professor at Texas Tech, interviewed 32 middle-class, never-married women. (Yea, now there’s a sample totally large enough for generalizations.)
“We found that never-married women’s social environments are characterized by pressure to conform to the conventional life pathway,” Ganong said, as quoted in the press release. “This pressure was manifested in women feeling highly visible and invisible. Heightened visibility came from feelings of exposure and invisibility came from assumptions made by others.”
Specifically, single women’s social worlds include:
- Awareness of shifting reality as they become older; for example, the shrinking pool of eligible men and increased pregnancy risks.
- Reminders that they are on different life paths than most women when others inquire about their single status and during events, including social gatherings and weddings.
- Feelings of insecurity and displacement in their families of origin when parents and siblings remark about their singlehood and make jokes or rude comments.
Ganong and Sharp found that women felt the most social stigma between the ages of 25 and 35, “a time of intense contemplation and concern for single women regarding their future family trajectories.” After that, though, they become content with their lot as spinsters and presumably start adopting cats. (Author – WTH?! I prefer dogs, ‘tank’ you very much)
As I peruse the pages of this rather daunting, socially gothic piece of work, one thought hits my mind.
‘I’d rather live with a gargoyle than a difficult and lame partner.’
Now while Larry & Co. pathetically try to defend their ‘loser’ theories to the masses based on a survey of merely 32 women , I’d like to remind all us 30-something (and other older unmarried women) out there why we still remain single and a little hard to rein in.
It simply is this – We know what we want honey.
And even if we didn’t know what we wanted and made a few wrong fruit selections along the way, we eventually would be able to pick out the good fruit from the stinkers allowing us to enjoy the benefits of an enriched and fully nourished existence.
Like Carrie Bradshaw & the gals from “Sex & The City”, well, we hope to not settle down coz that would mean compromising on ourselves and well, who we are. We prefer the term ‘settling up‘, thank you very much.
Don’t diss us coz we seem to be a little too self-absorbed, quirky, independent with a need to retreat to our bat cave often because it really is about conserving energy. Energy is something that makes up every aspect of our being and without adequate energy to enjoy Life, what is the use of living it?
So Larry “baba ganouche” you’re the real loser for writing an incredibly irrelevant and narrow-minded book about all the single women of today. I’m just glad it didn’t make a dent in any best seller’s list and frankly, I’d like it to stay that way.