My sister Umulu sent me and another glamorous single friend of ours the following email this morning:
Per Gail Collins in today's New York Times: “Single women comprise between 43 percent and 51 percent of the adult women in the country, depending on how you count.”
We are doomed.
My initial response to such depressing news is to buy a dilapidated house with a sagging front porch and begin collecting cats. I am one of many, and my chances look dim. On the other hand, I'm only 30, (all right, I'll be 31 in a very short few days, but who's counting) and while I know women have this whole biological clock thing to worry about, I'm entirely open to adoption, and not entirely enthusiastic about the process of squeezing something the size of a basketball out of a hole the size of a marble. Plus, as my mother informed me last Christmas, one does not need to be married in order to have babies. (Captain Mommypants is a minister, by the way. A woman of God. After decades of telling me to save it for marriage, you could've scraped me off the floor with a spatula after she told me to go ahead and start reproducing as a singleton.) So let's take my child-bearing shelf-life off the table for the moment, and just focus on this marriage thing.
Do I really want it? I mean, for the longest time I assumed, as does almost every little girl, that I would find somebody. Do I want to get married? Sure! Who doesn't? In fact, I thought I would marry at 24, have my three children at ages 26, 28, and 30, and ta-daaa! That was the plan I wrote in my journal when i was 14. I'm pretty sure the next step was to become the president. Or a movie star. Now, however, I wonder whether that's even something I want. Not the movie star thing, the marriage thing. Duh. Who doesn't want to be a movie star?
I guess what I've been pondering is what marriage means to me. Is it a religious sacrament? A civil contract? What does it mean to say you're married to somebody, versus just in a relationship? I guess there are some nice tax breaks, and I know my mother would luuuuuurrve to officiate a marriage ceremony for one of her children. Plus, you get some nice presents, and lord knows I could use a new blender, not to mention a knife set. But I'm not particularly religious, so what would it mean to promise God or the government to stay with somebody until death do us part? Plus, from what I hear, marriage is seriously stressful. It must have it's charming parts as well, or why else would people do it, but I can't quite see past the big white dress to understand what those perks might be.
Then I look at my life, at how I live, and I wonder whether this marriage thing should really be a goal, as it has been for so long. I like my life. I like my lifestyle. I love my family and my friends, I like the freedom I have. I think I'd like to have a man to be my special partner, my buddy, the person who always stands by me, but I suspect I may have read too many romance novels to tell whether that's a realistic goal. Of course, I'm so single I could be a file (hehe. get it? single file. hehe. god i'm funny), so this exercise is purely academic right now, and by no means am I saying I don't want to get married; I guess I'm just thinking things over.
So what do you say, married folk out there. Is it worth it? What's it like?