I look forward to the day when our culture embraces women who choose to be single
When it comes to dating, American culture supports a “two is better than one” philosophy, suggesting that being single is something to be embarrassed about or ashamed of. Well, guess what, America –not everyone believes they need to find a partner to be complete. Some of us choose to live single...like me! Being involved in a romantic relationship is a very personal lifestyle choice, one that doesn’t fit for everyone, including me.
As a single gal of the millennium, I am constantly questioned about my relationship status, forced to fiercely defend my way of life. Well-meaning friends and relatives ask, “Are you single by choice? Are you taking a break from dating? What’s the deal, can’t you find someone? Want me to fix you up with my brother/cousin/co-worker?” Why is it is so difficult for people to wrap their mind around the concept that I choose to be single and that I’m simply not interested in marriage or living with someone? Why must so many people assume something is out of whack because I want to live single and not get married?
I can assure you there’s nothing wrong with me, nor do I despise men, nor am I a commitment phobe, nor am I boring or unattractive. I get a good laugh when someone says, “Something must have happened to you when you were younger to make you feel this way.” Gimme a break. Something happened to everyone when they were younger –that’s life! Why doesn’t anyone ask, “Why are you married? Why on Earth would you promise forever to another person? You’re in a relationship? Oh, you poor thing.” It sounds ridiculous, right? Simply put –I’m in love with life and completely content to face a future with me. Just me. Fabulous, fantastic, magnificent me. I look forward to the day when our culture embraces women who choose to be single, rather than trying to rush us to the altar or encouraging us to shack up with so-and-so in the name of misguided love.
At this point in my life, I appreciate my independence and cherish my personal space too much to settle down. I’m not ready to make any serious commitments and I’m certainly not going to consider renting a U-Haul and moving in with someone any time soon. This is not to say I don’t date. It just means I would rather spend a few hours with a man, rather than spending a lifetime –or a home –with him.
I enjoy living on my own. I celebrate my single life. I love my own company. Why ruin a good thing by moving in with someone when I know I’m not ready or may never be? So many people decide to marry or move in with a partner for all the wrong reasons. Rather than be true to themselves and admit they’re not ready –or face the glaring evidence that they really aren’t compatible with their partner –they stumble foolishly into a disaster zone. They rush decisions that should be made with caution because they are afraid to lose their guy or gal forever if they don’t “take that next step.” News flash: if you move in with someone when you’re not ready or get married just because “it’s time,” the relationship is doomed. Before long, you’ll be signing divorce papers and putting a deposit down on a one bedroom apartment for you and your cat.
In Virginia Nicholson’s amazing book "Singled Out", she writes about a generation of brave, young single women who thrived without men...two million to be exact! Before the First World War in London, single women had one aim in life –to find a husband and get hitched. When men went off to war, many were killed, leaving a shortage of potential husbands and a surplus of women with no choice but to remain single. These women learned to depend on themselves for income, food and housing. For many, this was a blessing in disguise as they finally got to discover what it was like to be on their own and not have to depend on a man or marriage as a way to survive. Women began to seek their own personal happiness beyond the highly coveted church wedding and thus began an entirely new generation of single women.
Nicholson’s book includes tons of great quotes by single women of that era who enjoyed the freedom that came with being single. Here are a few: Sarah Burton’s new philosophy on life was, “I was born to be a spinster, and by God, I’m going to spin.” Amy Gomm wrote, “I was off to conquer the world…the sky was the limit.” Elizabeth Jenkins remembered, “I was much too interested in what I was doing in the way of writing to think at all about marriage.”
Rani Cartwright, a well-known model of her time who traveled and had a busy social life, said she was never lonely, never bored. “You’re too busy, living out of a suitcase, always with different people. I want my freedom, I still do! Travel, glamour, money and high society were there for the taking and, in comparison, marriage held little attraction.” For Cartwright, the thought of losing her freedom, of having to compromise and accommodate somebody else’s needs and habits repelled her. Even in her nineties, Miss Cartwright was adamant, “I couldn’t bear to be with one person, so I’d much rather not marry than have this to face; anyway, I’d seen so many unhappy marriages that started out happy in the beginning. Until you live with a person you don’t know their habits, do you? I didn’t want to know, so consequently I didn’t want to get married. I didn’t want to be tied down in anything.”
Another single woman, Beatrice Gordon Holmes, declared, “I never knew the glow of real happiness until I got out of the home and was earning my own living – and then real happiness lasted for the rest of my life.” Margaret Howes said, “If you ask me who the most important person in my life, it’s myself.” Marjorie Hills, who wrote "Live Alone and Like It", published in 1936, said “You will soon find out that independence, more truthfully than virtue, is its own reward. It gives you a grand feeling. Standing on your own two feet is extraordinarily exhilarating.” Amen, sisters!!
Being single is exhilarating. By choosing to live alone, I am in control of my own destiny. I get to do what I want, come and go as I please and I never have to call anyone to check in. I am allowed to entertain all the cute and annoying quirks that make me who I am without anyone giving me lip about it. I get to decorate my place the way I want to and turn my second bedroom into a walk-in closet if it suites me. I decide whether or not I feel like making my bed, I drink milk right out of the carton and I sing on the shower. I don’t have to shave my legs and I can spend my money how I want, which means if I choose to spoil myself with weekly massages, facials, manis and pedis, it’s my prerogative. I love knowing that everything I’ve done in my life, I accomplished on my own.
Will I ever be ready to give up my single status? Who knows! Maybe one day? I’m open to all kinds of romantic possibilities, but in my heart, I know the man for me will have to respect my desire to live apart and keep my own space. This doesn’t mean I can’t love or care about him or be completely committed...it just means I can go home when he begins to annoy me and watch "Sex and the City" reruns. In the meantime, this single gal refuses to settle or to settle down.
This article was originally published at Naughty Lifestyle Guide. Reprinted with permission from the author.