Today on the Bobby Bones Show, Bobby was talking about how men and women are viewed differently when they’re single at thirty. Bobby said men are viewed as keeping their options open, but people look at a woman who’s thirty and single and think, “What’s wrong with her? Why’s she still alone?” And, for the record, this isn’t what Bobby thinks. This is what society as a whole thinks. And I agree.
I feel like at my age, men who are single (for whatever reason they’re single is inconsequential) are viewed as bachelors. But women my age are seen as failures or screw-ups. And I realize right or wrong, this is how society sees it. Bobby says the playing field levels at forty, when people also start to wonder what’s wrong with a single dude that he can’t get married.
Rather than going on about whether it’s right or wrong there’s a gender bias (bias of any kind is hard to prove as right or wrong, because they’re perceptions, and our perceptions are our reality), I’d rather hit on a few reasons I personally am single, and how I prefer being single to married.
More after the jump…
First, a lot of women (and men) my age start to freak out in their thirties and think they NEED to be married. Who said marriage is the be-all, end-all to success? I’m here to tell you ANYONE with enough focus can get married. No matter your personality, looks, financial situation, etc. Human beings are easily manipulated, so start manipulating. If you just want to be married, hone in and find a dude (or chick). It’s truly that simple. People who are so focused on getting married rarely look for the “right” person anyway. They merely look for the first person who treats them decent and lines up with what they want (someone funny, nice, not awful, etc. – traits most people have). Trust me, it’s not hard to find this.
And I’m the first to admit the idea of soul mates is absurd. Marriage takes work. No matter how amazing he is, committing a lifetime to someone takes, well, commitment. And after the buzz of being married (to the wrong person) wears off, it’s hard to stay focused on why you married that person to begin with. At this point, who’s the failure? The single girl in her thirties who isn’t married, but is mostly happy? Or the “success” who’s married but mostly hates her life? I DO NOT see why marrying someone is such a success. I don’t get it. I think staying married and happy is a success. But, let’s be honest, half of people get divorced, right? I’m down with that. But of the other half who stay married, how many are really happy? Look at your parents or your friends’ parents. Or, if you’re in your thirties, some of your friends have been married for around ten years, look at them. Look at aunts and uncles. And cousins. Even the ones who put on a front of being happy, many aren’t. WHY would you want this? I suppose something can be said for the ones who stick it out. But why would you rather stick out being miserable (and “a success”) than being single (and independent and in control of your own happiness and future)?
Second, why is it a failure to find a way to be content with yourself? Figure out who you are and what you want, and go after it. Alone. Why is that bad? I do not understand why our society has to do everything with someone else. Those desks pushed together in quads in elementary school. Group projects in college. Team projects at work. Why is it bad to be able to and want to work alone? Let’s face it, perfectionists of the world will unite on this one. Sometimes it’s easier to do it yourself. So, what’s wrong with building a life by yourself? Of course, you still have family and friends surrounding you. But you are firmly OK with being solely responsible for your financial well-being, entertainment, taking care of your home, etc. Sure, there are a lot of shitty parts of living alone (like mowing or taking out the trash), but am I going to get married just to have someone help me? No. I’ll hire a lawn boy. A sexy one. And sit on my deck sipping ice cold beer while he mows and does other things. What those other things are doesn’t really matter as long as it’s shirtless. YUMMY!
Third, not being married allows me to be totally selfish. I can choose where I go all the time. I don’t have to go out with his friends instead of mine. I don’t have to attend a Super Bowl party if I don’t want to. Or can stay in and watch a movie on a Friday night. Or I can choose to go out on a whim, stay out all night, and lay on my couch the entire next day in a pile of unproductivity. And savor every second. I can choose to have pizza, the way I want it, for dinner. Or I can make soup as a meal (because many guys insist soup isn’t a meal). Or make no meal at all. I don’t have to pick up his stinky socks. Or can leave a pile of laundry in my hallway until I feel like doing it. Not do it when he gets annoyed by it. I don’t have someone breathing down my neck about spending too much money on clothes. Or have to be pissed at him for spending all of our savings on a gigantic TV or a crotch rocket. My life is in my selfish hands. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone, do what anyone else wants, or listen to someone whine when they’re sick, or be loud when I am. Of course, you can only play the selfish card so much before you don’t have any friends. But I think being single means I’m less selfish with my friends. So, there’s that.
Fourth, I can go to every single one of my family holidays. Every one. And if you knew my mom’s cooking, you’d appreciate where I’m coming from. I don’t have to split time. I get to see my nieces and nephews every second they’re around for those holidays. I don’t have to book plane tickets, ride hours in a car, go to three meals, listen to another family’s drama. I’m lucky because my family does holidays the right way (in my opinion). It’s about relaxation, food, and memories. We don’t have family arguments. And we don’t stress about making the day perfect (although the lack of trying to make it perfect, actually ends up making it perfect). I’m not a person who has to drink to prepare for or recovery from holidays. And for this I am thankful. And even more thankful I neither have to give up any of this time nor have to replace it with someone else’s family drama.
Fifth, my house is decorated the way I want it. I don’t have to worry if something is too girly. Or if there’s a “man cave.” Or if my bed has too many girly pillows. Or if there’s a beer fridge (although I actually want one). I’m working on moving, and when I move, I’m buying what I want. I don’t have to make sure he gets an oversized garage. Or a big (or small) yard, or a finished basement. Or an extra bedroom. Or whatever the hell it is he wants, or doesn’t want. And I don’t have to stretch my budget for anyone to get the things they want or to impress someone. I get to move where I want to live, in a house I like, in a neighborhood of my choosing. Again, this goes back to selfish, but I watch my married friends have nervous breakdowns over the house buying/decorating drama. And I don’t envy them!
However, when it comes to owning a home, a dude would be nice to have around for renovations and whatnot. But this is assuming in my haste to marry, I found a dude who can and is willing to renovate with me. I’ve found very few guys like this kind of stuff. Since my dad enjoys it, I grew up assuming all guys do. Not the case, actually.
Sixth, I am not someone’s replacement mommy. I don’t have to make sure his clothes are washed and ironed, I don’t have to cook his favorite meals, I don’t have to make sure his alarm’s set, I don’t have to remind him to shower. I know many guys are capable of doing this stuff themselves. But there’s also an alarming number of momma’s boys out there. I feel sorry for my friends who have married these guys.
Seventh, and finally, I simply haven’t found the right guy. What is wrong with waiting around until I find a guy I WANT to marry? Why isn’t that considered a success? Why can’t I enjoy the process of weeding through guys I am not compatible with? And the reasons for not being compatible vary, but if I find a guy who I know will never work, am I a failure for throwing him back for the girl he would be happier with? Or would I be better off marrying the mismatch just to not be a failure?
Get it together, America. The American Dream is NOT being married. It should be being happy. And, I’m here to tell you there are many happy single people. Sadly, some of them are single and happy after figuring out marriage isn’t the be-all, end-all success. Cheers to all my single ladies out there!