June 12, 2006
Stupid boys?
I am growing increasingly tired of the recent Young Miss movement to deprive ourselves of companionship. Single women and the inappropriately partnered seem to chant the mantra of celebrating independence almost to excess.

"Stay Single" read a recent woman's baby tee at Macy's.

"NO ONE IN HOLLYWOOD STAYS TOGETHER ANYMORE. You should watch out. You'll end up like Locklear, dating David Spade or something."

Oh, and I love me some advice that involves making out with as many men as Resusci-Annie. You know, Beach-Week-at-Dewey style. UGH.

Is that what this is all about?

Let's get out of the way the religious imperatives that dictate that one’s destiny is to secure a mate. How else would a woman procreate and live in the light of God's love? Don't attempt resistance; we see it on Animal Planet every damn day. A mister sloth + a lady sloth = carrying on the bloodline as a good l'il sloth should.

Your record should screetch to a halt here.

I'm not talking about a diety-bestowed responsibility to Mother Earth. I am talking about a human appreciation for - not dependence on - companionship, intimacy, love, laughter, respect, challenge, (more laughter) and joy.

That steadfast rule of staying single has begun to smack as the chant of those embittered, left behind by a lover who chose another via Match.com or a drunken Arlington ladies night. And as my world-view glasses steadily defog, that call to remain single looks more and more to me to be utter crap nay, let's just call it bullshit. I understand the call to independence. I've told you before that I am finally wrapping my old-dog mind around spaces in togetherness. Not being defined by the label of "girlfriend" is just as freeing as it is not to be a slave to your workplace title or your graduate school grades or your Blogger stats.

You've been there in some form? Thought so.

But I have friends who are scorned, some divorced, some who have never known love. Some desire just what I do, while others simply want to cower while the world passes by. Is it fear alone that dictates our responses?

And, damnit, is there anything wrong with feeling complete when I am a partner in a fulfilling relationship? I love to feel needed by a man who loves me. I love to share kisses and family drama and my shoulder dimples and - yes, pizza while watching football - with someone who I respect and cherish. This is hardly a weakness.

ADMIT IT! Life is sweeter when that someone knows that you prefer the fountain soda to the regular old can. Your days are richer when you laugh at insecurities with the same person who unlocks your car door. The one who has created at least three nicknames for you. The one who listens. Who takes a walk to work it off in his head, but who always returns. And loves you. UNCONDITIONALLY.

My recent sadness has done nothing to dampen this feeling. What if I had given up swimming even one of the first three times I swallowed my weight in water? There would be no joy in learning to glide on freestyle, no laughter in my follies at breast stroke. Had I not persisted in an uncertain relationship with my mother, we would never have shared an emotional evening together only four weeks ago that I will remember until I die. If I had given up trying to stand on my own legs on travel - when I completely depended on the pharmaceutical/aviation hospitality industries for my fixes - I would never have known the strength of my own coping.

Friends, I am a researcher, a daughter, a friend, a supporter, an analyst and a shopping and cyborg phobe. I am a true crime geek, a psychobabbler, a swimmer, a writer, a softball player, a comedienne, a drinker and a woman who so sadly missed out on House until the last two months.

Is it anti-young woman for this woman to want to share her neuroses and Chardonnay with someone? Is it faux-this-Sex-in-the-City persona which thirtysomethings perpetuate (and to which twentysomethings seem to strive) to long for a partner with whom to walk hand in hand through this world?

If it is, well, so be it.

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61 Comments:

Blogger TJ said...

This is a beautifully written post, Kris. Life is definitely sweeter when you can share those moments with someone who you love and who loves you unconditionally. And I agree that there should be no need to apologize for longing to find that person.

Now, er--exactly which day of the week do they hold drunken Arlington ladies night...???

Blogger Keith said...

I think knowing what you want out of life is half the battle. I was fortunate enough to find that person in my second marriage and I'm sure you'll find that someone that's the yin to your yang.

Blogger Reid said...

True...there's nothing wrong at all with wanting that. But I think that a whole lot of what you see as people wanting to deprive themselves as companionship is just a reaction to the people who consider being single just one notch higher than leprosy; the movement of "why WOULDN'T you want to be married?! What's WRONG with you?!"

Speaking only for myself (because that's who I speak for), I decided a long time ago that I only wanted life companionship with the right person; not just a good-enough person. That sounds obvious, but it comes with a need to accept that that's probably not going to happen. If it does, great. But until then, I tend to side with those people trying to point out that there's nothing sick and wrong about making a choice to be without a partner.

Anonymous MappyB said...

I agree with you 100%. I think that it's no weakness to love someone, and want to share your life with a man. And this Young Woman thing you talk about sounds like people who aren't comfortable with themselves and trying to talk themselves out of dating someone, or someone who may be bitter after a breakup and need a little 'girl power'. But I love sharing my life with my man, and I wouldn't feel complete without him.
Good post.

Blogger Lisa Ann said...

Very thought provoking.

I was going to write a very eloquent comment on how society seems to react to single (older) woman like 2nd hand smoke but Reid beat me to it. Right on!

Blogger t2ed said...

But you are a slave to your blog stats. And you obsess about your comments.

You've just not met that one special person. You know, that person you want to drive crazy for the rest of your life.

Blogger Lefty said...

A professional friend of mine was a die hard bachelor. His standards for the ideal woman were so unrealistic that there was little hope for him. We shook our heads and wrote him off.

"I don't need a partner to give my life meaning," he would say. "Besides, I LIKE living my life alone - not having to share my space and my time..."

But, as they say, there is someone for everyong and as luck would have it he met her, dated her and married her.

He now refuses to defend his I'm Happy Being Single platform.

Blogger tmaris said...

Oh my... I know exactly what you mean. When I broke up with my last boy friend I vowed to stay single for a year (that was nine months ago).
I thought it was some sort of personal weakness that I was in the depths of loneliness and dispair from Thanksgiving to New Years... I thought I lacked some independence gene, that I was bound to be a serial monogamist the rest of my life, that I'd somehow let down the entire femenist movement by craving someone to share a meal, a couch, a bed with.
But the truth is that a bottle of wine is better when shared and your neurosis are funnier when there is someone there to mock them. What's so worng with that?

Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

If I learned one thing from my years at Smith College (besides the value of waterproof boots on a snowy day), it's that you're entitled to want anything and everything for yourself - no matter what it is. Don't let society, the media or silly people convince you otherwise.

Blogger Brookelina said...

I want all that too. I don't like to admit it, but I do. But I wonder sometimes if I want it because I really do want to share my life with someone, or because I'm expected to share my life with someone by society. Either way, I am still looking to settle down - but not to settle. Til then, I'll revel in my singleton status.

Cheers to you Kris!

Blogger Margaret said...

I'd love to be a happy robot by myself, but I just can't get there any more realistically than deciding I do not want to eat.

Blogger mamalujo1 said...

(Hopefully this time Blogger will let me comment)
Great post. It's hard for me to think of something pithy and deep in response. That's why I just end up lurking, I guess. You answer your own question throughout your post. You are complete enough and soul-full enough to know that you need to share your self with someone else just as human as you are. Those kinds of people are out there, even, dare I say, those kind of men. Watch for him with those amazing powers of perception. Ask of him with that inquisitive mind. Be as honest with him as you demand he be with you. Your bullshit meter is extremely accurate. I think you'll know when he comes around.

Blogger Miss Scarlet said...

Amen! Well-said and I agree whole-heartedly. I think as long as one doesn't settle to get those things then it's fine. But boy oh boy do I want someone to give me a nickname! (a nice one)

Blogger Biscuit said...

When my first husband left me, for a guy no less, I was terrified that I would never get married again. And I had a very hard time finding that place where I could be happy just being me.

Blogger Okie said...

Damn. That post made me miss the comforts of companionship. Yes, me.

Blogger Heather B. said...

This post is magnificent. It's one of those posts that make me ridiculously happy that I get to know you in real life. Lucky me.

Blogger Penny said...

This was a great post. Thanks for eloquently expressing the same feelings I've been going through. And your timing couldn't have been better. Thanks for helping a complete stranger feel better. :-)

I'm one of those girls who has never slept on the whole bed. Though I've been single for the majority of my 23 years, I've always left a space for "him"(granted, I get the better spot, the one by the nightstand with the nyquil and remote). I just never wanted to get used to it being just me.

And maybe the whole "love being single" movement is for girls like me, who freak out at 23 that they'll be alone forever and put "finding someone" above "finding themselves" sometimes. (I've only recently learned that this is a real waste of time).

Sometimes, that empty space is unbearable, and the wondering "where the fuck is he" is physically painful.

Then sometimes, life is so great you forget someone's missing and you just figure when it happens, it happens. And so, you glorify being single and focus on your friendships and your career just to keep yourself occupied, because it's better than the lonliness and uncertainty of being single.

Either way, I think your (incredbily well-written and touching) post demonstrates that neither extreme is quite right: that the answer lies in knowing a partner is something (most) all humans need, but that figuring out what else we need is important too.

Blogger Chika said...

I totally agree! I do think that women came up with this to make themselves feel better about not having a man in their lives. I believed it before meeting my boyfriend...

Blogger Chantel said...

I think for some people it works. For those who have been crapped on by every relationship often the best way to heal is to be alone. Whether its for a while or for a short time. I realized the importance of my independance when taking care of a BF/Husband with my job/school/children/friends/hobbies mean giving one of those things up. And because I couldn't give up my work or my children one of my other self-fulfilling hobbies would have to go. (I would never, ever give up cocktails). I just haven't found that person who fits into my life in a partner sort of way.

I choose to be alone and I don't mind it for the most part. But, it doesn't stop me from thinking or trying every now and then. What if?

I think your choice is your choice and you should be supported or comended for it. We all weren't meant for couple-hood and I'm OK with that.

Blogger Freewheel said...

It's not unreasonable to feel that way at all. But I think you should hold out for someone who is at least half as smart and funny as you are.

Blogger Sandra Dee said...

I totally agree with you. I'm sick of the whole "I Don't Need a Man" craze. I think it's just an excuse that uber-independent women use to make themselves feel better about being single -- along with rude, overbaring and harsh. Hmm. Perhaps that's why they're not attached. *wink*

Anonymous sandra said...

My god, yes. You are so, so, so right. "Need" a man? No. But does having a partner enrich your life? Absolutely. It's just a matter of finding the right person. I hope you do, and I hope I do!

Anonymous Amy said...

There is such a huge chasm (as someone else stated eloquently) between settling down and settling.

I have a friend who just turned 30, and is settling...(her father, when told of her impending nuptials, after despairing of her old maidenhood, said, "are you sure you want to marry him?")...because she can't imagine life alone and is certain that 30 is the end of the road.

However, things are nicer shared, and as a former "single is way better" chick, I am delighted that I have found the person to share my life with (and that my parents were very excited when told of my upcoming marriage), not to mention that he drinks the 1/4 of the bottle of wine that I can't finish.

This was a great post.

Anonymous Jorge said...

Mama,

Damn those nay-sayers to hell. Maslow knew what he was talking about when he drew that famous triangle.

Sometimes I think that this whole "chic being single" crap is pretty much that - crap.

I love to be loved, and love to love.

There isn't anything wrong with that.

So love on, baby!

J

Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Nothing's wrong with either one!

Anonymous nabbalicious said...

Beautifully put, lady. It's not at all weak to want to love and be loved. Getting and giving love is fantastic, is what it is.

Anonymous alissa said...

Such a great post! I'm all for a lady being single for a time in her life. I think it is invaluable to learn that you are OK on your own. Once you find your partner, they then add to you, but don't "complete" you. As a dear friend always told me, "two halves don't make a couple, two people do".

Blogger jenn said...

No. It's not. I don't have it right now either, but, by jesus I want it. I'm with you, Kris. 100%.

Anonymous nardac said...

I don't think there's neither something wrong with wanting to stay single nor wanting to be with someone. There's just something wrong with someone telling you what's right for YOU!

Anyways, glad to see you're back in form and a cyborg phobe!

Blogger afromabq said...

it's been ten years since my divorce and for much of that time, thought i could stay single for the rest of my life. i'm not thinking that now. you pegged it! we want a companion who knows everything about us and yet still loves us. i have lots of women friends, but they just can't make me feel the way a man does! no way. i hope it happens for you kris, i really do!

Blogger Aimée said...

good job, boo, good job :-)

Blogger BabsieD said...

As for the faux-SITC personas out there: that's just one segment of the populi defending their choice, with a lot of media hype, granted, so as to say "No, really, this is GREAT! Don't you want to be like me?"--all the while (or at least part of the while) looking somewhat wistfully over at the other side (which is doing the same thing back: grass is always greener). Married people do it too--and so do people with babies (admission: I'm part of these last two segments but I try really, really hard not to be one of those annoying "dontcha-just-want-a-baby-RIGHT-NOW-I-mean-it's-so-great-you-don't-know-what-you're-missing-blahblahblah types, I swear it).

You'll find your equal--there's someone for everyone and Tommy's love was Becky, after all. And you can't be the only hilarilous genius softball player with a penchant for cabernet and Cabbage Patch Kids out there. It just cannot be.

Excellent post.

The only person who should be telling you how to live your life is YOU. You want what you want, because it is what's right for you. I'm all for those who choose to stay single because they truly want to... not because they are bitter or think it's what everyone else is doing. But if you want to find someone with whom you can share your life? That's what you should do. And everyone else can just eat it.

Anonymous Maliavale said...

To each her own. You shouldn't have to defend your choices and wants and needs as much as the next girl -- yet we all feel compelled to. I don't know much about the staying-single movement, but I guess I'd say: To each her own, too. Maybe some just don't have that desire for companionship that many of us do. Or, yes, perhaps they're just really, really bitter.

Blogger Brookelina said...

This post must have seeped into my brain. My post today is called Stupid Girl - who is me, of course.

Blogger Finn said...

We're not meant to walk through this world alone, hon. It's good to be OK on your own, to not NEED a man to make you whole, but it's also good to want one, to want someone with whom you can share feelings and experiences you can't with your friends. It's a different level of intimacy and one that helps create balance in life.

Blogger A Unique Alias said...

I have those guy friends who think relationships are a waste of time, all women are crazy, etc etc.

I laugh to conceal the pity.

Blogger Jeremy said...

Why would my MTV lie to me?

Blogger Megarita said...

You had me until sharing chardonnay. . .

Anonymous Jurgen Nation said...

Damn, girl, you need to do this for a living. Do I detect a D.C. / Ann Arbor Girls Night Out?

Blogger Danielle said...

you are the true prom queen of the blogosphere. you deserve a great king.

Blogger Oy Vey said...

Amen, amen AMEN.

As a 31 year old in the process of divorcing, as much as I'd like to tell myself that being single is a liberating wonderful experience for an indeterminant amount of time, I can't help but think about how very nice a fulfilling relationship really can be. Don't get me wrong, right now I'm in the throws of the Making Out With The Bartender Phase of Divorce, but I can't imagine feeling like this forever. Most of us need someone who knows that we prefer our pizza blotted and dusted with red pepper flakes. Excellent, honest post. Thanks.

Blogger Kim said...

The man who you end up sharing you're life with will be the luckiest in the world. You're amazing, don't forget that.

And I totally know who you should date: The cyborg beer guy at RFK. You could get over your phobia AND he has beer!

Sorry, I had to.

Blogger twobuyfour said...

Good for you, girl! I, too, LIKE being in love. When it's good, it's better than almost anything in the world. I've lived alone for very long periods of my life, unwilling to get involved with women I wasn't nuts about. I had a lot of fun and experienced a lot of things as a single man. But that didn't mean I stopped looking.

Blogger Party Girl said...

From a single gal trying to make her way through the singledom of a 2.5 society who has remained single by choice I, thank you for this post. It was nicely said.

I found you by way of, trappedinco.

Blogger Lillian said...

Beautifully written--you've just articulated one of the things I've thought the most about in the last couple of years.

I reached the exact same conclusion you did, and while I don't know for sure whether or not the guys we're each looking for are out there somewhere, my fingers remain crossed that you and I will both find them when the time is right. Best of luck to you!

Blogger ~Deb said...

I definitely see your point. I love being with my partner who knows all my idiosyncrasies and other flaws—as well as my good qualities. It’s nice to share time with someone you’re in love with---and totally compatible with. But, the truth remains that some women do prefer being ‘alone’ and single. They feel that their world is invaded once a man/or another women comes into their world. They feel it’s intrusive and then back away from it all. It totally depends on that individual.

For me? I’d rather grow old with someone---preferably my best friend . . . as well as my lover.

Great post!

Blogger Pandagrl said...

Amazing post! I feel the same way.

Blogger Spinning Girl said...

Sounds pretty damn good to me.

Blogger Angela said...

Great post - I always felt this way as a single woman for 28 years. Thanks for making it normal to want someone to love.

Blogger randy said...

Great post. One I've been thinking about for days.

I didn't set out in life to be single. But neither did I activley seek out relationships. Now, I think statistics are against me, so in the words of that Sinead O'Connor song: I don't want what I can't have.

Blogger hanmee said...

We should all be happy to be alone (not lonely), but there is nothing wrong with being happy with others as well. People enjoy social company. Why should they look down when people want something more intimate than a platonic, social relationship?

I got so sick of Sex and the City (though it was funny at times) because it seemed to tout itself as these savvy single independent women, but all they did was complain about men not fulfilling their lives in one way or another. They seemed actually very insecure and needy.

Blogger jac said...

Are you kidding? I AM NOTHING WITHOUT A MAN. Nothing.

:)

Blogger mysterygirl! said...

Great post, and great comments to go with it. I echo the others-- everyone should want what s/he wants, no apologies.

(I know-- easier said than done, right?)

I was looking for something else when I found your blog.Anyway I found it very helpful.You may visit my new Perfumes blog if you like.

Anonymous janet said...

I realize that I am a little late to the game in reading this (very, very behind in general in life right now), but wanted to comment to say I think this is a fabulous post and that you are a great writer.

Blogger missbhavens said...

Here, here!!! Somehow over the years then idea of being a strong no-nonsense independent woman got roped into being pretending to be thrilled being alone. I don't get it.

Blogger Cheetarah1980 said...

I have no problem admitting that I feel the same way you do. Am I ready for all that love right now. Maybe, but probably not. I'm sort of unhinged so I think I'd screw it up. But I can see it, and I want it. And as soon as I'm ready for it, I want it to be around for me to grab. Great post!

Blogger DC Cookie said...

I could not have said it better myself.

Blogger partygirljessica said...

All I know from the perks of being single is that I can date numerous guys at once from webdate.com.

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