On Being Single

Or: What the hell is with all of this hating on women?

Three stories from the Fairfax group appeared in various publications this weekend. They were: Blokettes told to behave like ladies; Are Kiwi women waiting too long for the right man? and finally Finding Mr Right means late motherhood. For those of you who may rightly feel that even the briefest glance at these articles would be a waste of brain cells that could be killed in more entertaining ways, here’s a recap: New Zealand women should stop acting like New Zealand men, get pregnant and stop being picky about who they want to spend the rest of their lives with as this is delaying the getting knocked up bit and as we all know, all women aspire to be baby factories so don’t let them eggs dry up, ladies, you’re no spring chickens.

Speaking on behalf of all the women that these stories are taking aim at (and for those of you wondering that would be single, childless women): what have we done to you to be on the receiving end of such bile?

Let’s deal with the “Blokettes” statement first, because, let’s face it, that’s just out and out bollocks as can be proved from this sentence:

It [The National Council of Women] says they act more like men behaving badly than demure females.

Men don’t behave badly, they can behave abusively, irresponsibly, aggressively, be alcoholics or a combination of all of the above. Women can do that too. It doesn’t make them men, it makes them women who behave abusively, irresponsibly, aggressively, be alcoholics or a combination of all of the above. It’s nothing new, it’s not out in the open more, it’s possibly the consequence of the 24/7 news cycle in so far as they’ve run out of stories to tell and feel it necessary to rifle through a Victorian book of etiquette and dress it up as investigative journalism. Does New Zealand have a binge drinking culture? Yes (tell me who doesn’t) and it’s not just the women who may have a poor attitude to alcohol. (As a side note: I can’t seem to find a copy of the original statement from the National Council for Women online anywhere, so I can’t verify if the Council, founded by Kate Sheppard (she who campaigned to get women the vote and on our $10 note), actually called for women to attending “finishing schools” and act “demurely”. I will be severely disappointed if it turns out to be true. Demurely? And what is demure, exactly? Never giving eye contact? A soft handshake? Walking three paces behind one’s father/brother/husband/son?)

As for this other business of waiting for Mr Right … Did it ever occur to you that some of us are perfectly happy being single? That some of us aren’t actively looking to date anyone as, well, we don’t really care, either way, whether we’re single or not.

Let me elaborate on that last sentence a little. I am legally and in the social standard identifier of relationship status, single. I don’t personally define myself as single. I define myself as Sonal (hi, nice to meet you), who happens to be a playwright, event manager, theatre tech and wanderer (yes, I have honestly given that answer a few times over the last couple of weeks). My attitude to my relationship status is this: no I’m not seeing anyone, no I’m not looking to see anyone, I’m really rather enjoying myself at the moment, life is fantastic, I feel fulfilled and whole, no I really don’t care about sharing it with anyone special.

The final point is the key: I don’t care. If you’re reading this and you’re in a couple – awesome, I’m so happy for you, seriously, dude, that rocks and I’m sure that you’ll agree with me that your relationship doesn’t define who you are (yes they make you want to be a better person but they wouldn’t have been attracted to you if you weren’t so awesome in the first place), it’s just the fantastic topping to your already pretty fantastic life, yes?

That’s exactly how I see myself in any future relationship – if I do happen to find myself in one, then cool. If I’m not (like now), wicked. It’s all the same to me.

Same thing for kids. For myself (and I’m lucky enough to have a niece and nephew who adore me, with whom I’m completely and utterly in love with and who I can hand back – toddler tantrums and the prospect of repeating the process when they’re teenagers is quite a powerful contraceptive) having kids, will be more of an accident rather than something I’d plan – easy for me to say, when there is no one else involved, yes, but again, if they happen, bonus (and a beautiful bonus at that), if they don’t, no worries, that’s all good too. I have friends who are in loving, secure, stable relationships and for whom children are not something they are particularly interested in planning (in spite of pressure from their families), why is that such a bad thing?

I’m not waiting for Mr Right, I’m not waiting for anyone and I’m not looking for the right man to come along either. I’m perfectly happy as I am right now. Why is being single and/or childless considered such a bad thing to be or a state to be pitied?

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4 Responses to “On Being Single”

  1. I’m troubled to point out that this blog entry could have been written by a man. The tone is not at all demure and is rather combative. Overall you display a lack of decorum that is shocking and inappropriate for your sex.

    In future, please restrict your blog to discussions of tea parties, housework, and appreciation for that nice chap who reads the news.

    best regards,
    “The National Council of Women”

  2. p.s. To clarify, “appreciation” does not include comments like “that Neil Waka is hot”.

    Firstly, ladies do not use bad grammar. Mr Waka is not the equivalent of a kitchen appliance which has been left on too long. If we are to admire Mr Waka we may say that his combination of charm, intelligence and good looks may make him somewhat attractive. Secondly it is unbecoming of women to express such admiration in an open manner, one should wait until one is spoken to, never express too much of an opinion and never assert any form of affection. Regardless of Mr Waka’s beautiful mind and form, any discussion about him should be restricted to the manner of his speech, his delivery and the elegance of the tie wrapped around his graceful neck …

    Yours in cold showers,

    “The National Council of Women”

  3. Tautoko.

  4. Amen.

    PS I made near identical comments on the subject of “Ladettes” being women who “behave badly” “like men” recently, in response to similar things being said in the UK. Shame that that attitude has spread to NZ.

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