I remember once conversing with my late mother when I was young, and she confessed that she felt "old" when she got engaged. I was like, "Really? You were not even thirty years of age yet!" (my late mother was 27 when my father proposed to her). She said in her generation, most women's biggest fear was to grow old and become labeled as an "old maid" and/or a "spinster," two unflattering terms used to describe women who were 35 years of age or older who had never married and never had any children.
Fast forward to 2013 where I was reading a female friend of mine's discussion thread on the popular social networking site, Facebook, and a number of men and women were discussing bachelors who were 35 years of age or older and had never been married and did not have any children. I have no idea what the male equivalent terminology is for a "spinster," but trust me ... many women are starting to label older, childless bachelors as "red flags."
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I myself am in this category. I have yet to be married, and I do not have a son or daughter (that I know of). The first time I ever heard of this being a "controversial" or "undesirable" status was at my 20-year high school reunion. Some female classmates of mine were "shocked" that I had not been married, and even more so, that I did not have any children.
"Alan!! I cannot believe you do not have a son or daughter!!! That blows my mind!!' said one female classmate. "I would think by the time you reached your mid-to-late thirties, you would have been married at least once ... if not twice" said another female classmate. Do these women realize that movie star Warren Beatty was 54 years old when he got married for the first time to actress Annette Bening? (The couple now has four children together)
I remember when writer and freelance columnist Tracy McMillan wrote a piece two years ago entitled, Why You're Not Married. Ms. McMillan offered six reasons why she felt many women who desired to be married had not achieved that status yet.
The reasons were:
#1 - "You are a bitch"
#2 - "You are shallow"
#3 - "You are a slut"
#4 - "You are a liar"
#5 - "You are selfish"
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#6 - "You feel you are not good enough"
I agree with many of her reasons, and partially disagree on one or two. Therefore, I am going to offer my own reasons for why I believe many single men and single women have yet to be married by the age of 35 or older. The #1 "default" reason why I believe many men and women have not exchanged vows at the altar by the time they are 35 years of age or older would simply be because they have made a conscious choice not to get married.