Sunday, July 29, 2007

see also Woman

"You'll make someone a good wife someday," said Bob after I made dinner, washed the dishes, and cleaned the kitchen. At the time I was a whole sixteen years old, and I took his comment as a compliment. After all, what right-minded girl wouldn't want to be a good wife someday? The thought never crossed my mind that one day I would be thirty-three and not a good wife, not a wife at all, actually. I mean, I was the one who at eight insisted my sister and my friend Anne participate in a pretend wedding in which I was the bride, of course, complete with a white, frilly dress and veil. There was even a miniature paper bride and a handsome, yet soused-looking, groom for the top of the three-tiered cake.

That childhood rehearsal has yet to become a reality. In fact, it's not now and never has been even close. In my twenties I learned about feminism, and realized that treating singleness as a curable disease is downright absurd. What right-minded woman would want to be (just) the good wife? Of course, now I'm in my thirties, a successful graduate student, writer, and teacher, but at every turn I am reminded of what I lack...a husband and children, which without reason equates to the life worth living. I recently read an article that said if I don't meet someone before I get my Ph.D., forget it. Spinster-city.

That idea got me thinking. What does my singleness say about me? Am I a neurotic bitch? A crazy cat lady? A commitment-phobe in dire need of psychoanalysis? Well, not exactly. After some deliberation I can see that I'm complex and a little fruity, like a good Shiraz. I'm also independent and intelligent. I'm successful and financially stable. And I believe that a good, solid, and positive relationship is worth waiting for. As Mae West once put it, "Marriage is a great institution. But I'm not ready for an institution yet." Photo credit: Pauline Clarke


Pauline said...

Amazing! You've always been introspective but this little bit of self examination is wonderfully expressed. Don't give up - ever!

focusfinder said...

Good for you, C.

Yes, be a whole person, not half of something called a married couple.

To quote one of my alternative therapist acquaintances, marriage ought, in almost all cases, to be declared a criminal offence.

Canbush said...

I'm looking forward to meeting someone who's like a good Shiraz!

Lillie said...

There are so many marvelous things in life to enjoy, so much to do and see and be. You have begun.


You are complete unto yourself and, feminist that you are, you should know that a man who says having a Ph.D. will cause you spinsterhood (weave on, dear) is surely not a man worth listening to!

"Equates to the life worth living..." Ask a few young mothers about that.

shara said...

I'm partial to the idea of serial monogamy (with friends or lovers) myself, interspersed with periods of solitude, children here and there being happily raised by whoever is into raising children. But I'm a bit idealistic, and also a little exhausted by bending the needs of a mostly solitary-natured person around the reality of a tiny house, a husband and children. I very much enjoy Pauline's blog, and am happy to have followed her link here.

etcetera said...

Thanks for the comments! Inspiring and insightful. I'll be sure to post updates.

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