Evidently there’s a book coming out or has just come out recently about being a spinster. Of course, it portrays spinsterhood in a good light. At least according to the things I’ve read about it. But I totally proudly called myself a spinster before it was cool. Now… I sound like more of a hipster than ever before (and since my contact lens broke, I look like one too). I remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird and being fascinated by the old lady who sat on her front porch yelling at the kids with a shotgun under her shawl. Well, maybe, she wasn’t a spinster, but still. I wanted to be her when I grew up.
I turned thirty-five this year. Thirty-five was the perfect age to get married in my mind at one point in time. Granted, that number was pushed back multiple times as I approached each age, realizing I wasn’t wanting to get married at that point in time. Finally this last time, I said fuck it all, if I get married it will be when I meet the right guy; not when I reach the right age. And I embraced being a spinster full on.
Imagine if you will a woman sitting in her kitchen weeping. Why is she weeping? Because she’s engaged to the wrong person and every tells her it’s too late to do anything about it. The dress, the church, the cake are all ready to go. As she sets down the aisle the feeling of dread drowns her, making it the worst day of her life rather than the best. This is a repeated nightmare I have had since I as about twenty-three. When I was twenty-three, my friends started getting married, and I pushed back the ideal age to get married for the first time.
Here’s the thing. While I’ve had repeated nightmares about marrying the wrong man, I have never had a nightmare about being single. Do I go to sleep every night glad I’m alone? No. But I do go to bed every night I’m not stuck in a bad relationship. And the aspect of not being in a bad relationship never gets old and tired.
Being a spinster doesn’t mean I’ve sworn off men or romantic relationships or life in general. I’m also nothing like the crusty, old lady in Great Expectations whose name has slipped my mind. (But it’s okay, because I’ve never actually read. Although I have seen South Park’s interpretation as well as the Gwenyth Paltrow/Ethan Hawke fiasco. But still it’s the second character name I can’t think of in this blog.) I believer there are decent men still out there. You know the ones, who think men and women deserve equal rights and pay and are willing to put forth an effort to make a relationship work. Those types of guys. I have to believe they’re real and out there; otherwise my hope for humanity is doomed. And hopefully, not all of them are taken and some of them are into ladies with sweet hockey bodies without being creepy chubby chasers. Pardon me while I shudder internally.
Now that I’ve explained what being a spinster doesn’t mean to me, I probably should explain what it does mean to me. It’s the acceptance of that I’m closer to forty than thirty and probably won’t get married. Look, I’ve been single for the majority of my life, and if that never changes, I’m not going to live an unfilled life. I’m not going to die alone more than anyone else dies alone. I don’t need a man to complete me or my life. And again, that’s not to say I wouldn’t want someone cool to share my life with,; I’m just not counting on it. I can see some peoples’ pouty, sympathetic expressions over my last statement. As if me not expecting to get married is giving up on living. Let me assure you that’s not the case. I just know myself too well.
I am thirty fucking five years old, and I’ve gone this long without settling. I’m not going to settle now. I may have had one or two or maybe more drunken indiscretions. But none of those ended in Vegas and being legally tied to the fella. (So, yes I’m not perfect.) I’m not looking for Gilbert Blythe, although in theory it could be nice. However, as we’ve learned from modern pop culture, perfection is boring. (FYI pop culture is the only place where mere mortals can be perfect.) And yet, I do have standards, which I don’t think are completely unreasonable. Once again I mention chubby chasers, not being on is on the list of standards. There’s just something creepy when a guy only want you for one specific attribute. There are more standards, but you know just giving an example of one. The point is, person reading this feeling sorry for me, stoppit. And perhaps you should stop reading now if my realism is too much for your traditionally-minded ways to handle.
Are they gone? Good. I probably ought to have put a disclaimer at the beginning or something. But it’s too late now, because I don’t believe in going back; only forward. (As is clearly evident in my other non-edited blogs.) I’m not chastising all married/paired folk either. Some of my dearest friends fall into that category. Here’s the thing I’ve learned from watching those in intimate partner relationships around me, all relationships ebb and flow, especially marriages/life partnerships. I’ve heard about some pretty wicked douchebaggary from some friends’ partners. Some I expected it from, but some of the worst offenses were from partners I’d have never expected it from. On the other hand, some partners of my friends have turned out to be quite amazing, when I was convinced the opposite was true. Somehow, I don’t see myself tolerating some of the straight up bullshit my friends have to deal with. (Nor do I picture anyone being able to tolerate my bullshit.) And just to reiterate, I’m totally cool with not having to tolerate a life partner’s bullshit.
Embracing spinsterhood is about not settling on what matters to you. It’s accepting love exists, but it may not come your way ever in the form of a man (for me). It’s about being complete without a partner and living life fully. Spinsters aren’t waiting around for their knights in shining armor to rescue them from a life alone. Why? Because spinsters know there’s nothing from which to be rescued. And life doesn’t suddenly start when you get into a romantic relationship. They are well aware this is the only chance we get to live, and nothing needs to stop you from living it.