Thursday, January 14, 2010

Editor's Commentary: No, I'm Not Married: The "Samantha Effect"

I don’t normally use FSB as a platform for personal items, but I had a rather unpleasant experience and it’s reached a level of cumulative discomfort where I feel it’s necessary to say something.

I attended an event recently where I came across a rather unpleasant woman who after meeting me for, oh, five minutes, inquired about my marital status. She, married with children and living in suburbia, upon discovering I wasn’t married and had no children, uttered the words that single women everywhere just looooove to hear: “How is it that you’re still single at your age?” and then proceeded to look at me with the incredulous, expectant crazy eyes I and my single sisters are used to seeing, accompanied by that smug smile that reeks of some level of internal satisfaction that comes from goodness-only-knows-where.

Author Helen Fielding of Bridget Jones fame commonly referred to these people as “smug marrieds” in her books. After suffering this foolish behavior for much, much too long, let me go ahead and say it loud and proud: I am very, very happy being single. I love that I can have company when I want it and silence when I don’t. I love that if I want to eat crackers naked in my living room during a True Blood marathon on HBO On Demand whilst blogging and drinking copious amounts of red wine, I can do it and no one can say anything about it. I don’t share my bathroom with anyone, my money is my own and so is my personal space. I love that I have the option to date hilarious, different men and enjoy a sex life that would make you completely uncomfortable on one level and envious beyond belief on another. If I get lonely, I go out. If I want silence, I turn everything off. I travel, I have friends, I have lovers, I have brunch, I shop and that existence is perfectly amazing and makes me really happy. I am living a life of my dreams right now and if someday I choose to have kids and get married, I can do that when I want. That's my choice.

Again, that’s saying that I want kids. I’m still not sure about that and given that this is the United States of America and I still have control over my reproductive rights, I have the choice to wait. My marital status is also within my control and the last I checked, there was no clock ticking over my head.

The argument that really makes me angry is the “you’re not getting any younger” argument. What an insane justification to put pressure on women to make two of the most important decisions of their entire lives. Putting undue pressure on someone to do something before your heart and soul are ready because your body might be aging is wrong, cruel and unjust. If I can’t have kids naturally without risk, there are millions of children in the foster care and adoption system who need people to love and care for them. The world needs good people to parent and as far as I’m concerned, biology has nothing to do with it.

So just because you couldn’t fathom doing what I’m doing doesn’t give you the right to ask questions or attempt to make me feel badly for my decision. I’m perfectly happy to hang out with my friends in New York City, write a fabulous fashion and beauty blog, date and travel. You should be perfectly happy with your life and your achievements and decisions as well. I have many friends who are mothers and I honor that commitment. They’re amazing people who have to care for the lives of the next generation and it’s not a small task. I should add that said friends who are moms respect my decision to be unmarried and childless. There’s room out here for all of us.

So the way I typically answer the question, “Why aren’t you married at your age?” is with the equally uncomfortable reply, “Because I’m not done having fabulous sex with random strangers yet.” It works for me.

Let’s all just get along, shall we?


MJ said...

I'll never forget how outraged I felt when I was single and people would tell me, "don't worry, you still have time- I didn't get married till I was_"! That still makes me mad. I wasn't worried, I was single because I wanted to be single. There were many times when the well-meaning(?) reassure-er left me wondering if there was something wrong with me. To this day, I try to keep my mouth shut around my single friends...

Shannon Nelson said...

I love you.

And now I feel like an idiot for upon meeting you asked if you've ever been married. Doh.

However, I did so enjoy your tales about men's size. lol.

You are fabulous, young lady. ;)


Midtown Girl said...

OMG. You are my hero.

Your response is perfect (except when mom asks you this question, like mine does...every effing 2 months).!!

Absolutely loved this post.


Katja said...

I love what you say when they ask :)

Saskia said...

I was once (nearly) successfully chatted up by a man at a museum until he asked me how old I was, and then got a fatherly look on his face when he said, "Don't worry, you still have time." Time for what? It's infuriating, but also eye-opening how deeply ingrained cultural expectations are...

Elle Are Sea said...

this is amazing! thanks kristin.

Lauren Waters said...

Amen to that sister. I too used to get asked that question all the time and I was perfectly happy with my single life for the exact reasons you mentioned. I could not believe the things married people would say to me (all while keeping their husbands away, not that I wanted them). Mind you many are now divorced so they could not have been THAT happy. I am married now and have a baby, but I respect the hell out of women who chose to do whatever the hell they want. I would never push my choices on anyone. In fact, I was perfectly happy to not be married and have kids, but the right man who made me change my mind found me. Enjoy life to the fullest!

Lianne said...

Go head mama! I egt asked that all the time or they know I am a mother they say, "Oh are you divorced?" to which I reply, "Nope, never married." with a crazy smile.

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