Blog: The Chicks Uncorked
Sure Cupid may call at any time, but the old standard, “You’re more likely to be hit by lightning than get married over 40” still hangs in the air. Insert “over 50” or “over 60” or more, and you’d have to spend so much time dodging bolts that of course you’d have no time to find yourself a mate.
Today is National Singles Awareness Day, which celebrates the wonders of being single. It also serves to provide a few gentle, possibly amusing reminders to our not-so-single friends that we unmarrieds are not odd, socially nonconforming losers — well, we might be, but not because we are single.
In fact, we’re not all that uncommon. Since the 1980s, singles have been the fastest-growing household type in the United States with single adults accounting for 45% of the population. 65% of this group has never been married. Stats in other places such as the United Kingdom, Japan and Sweden are similar.
Sweet then sour …
Growing up I did think that being married seemed like a good idea. My parents were adorable and provided a wonderful, cozy home life for my sister and me. Most of my friends seemed to have similar happy homes. Later in college, there was a guy I absolutely adored. I was certain he was the one I was meant to spend my life with, but not so much.
When I was older and in the workforce, I became friends with several married people, and my thoughts on marriage started to sour. Too many of the men seemed bored and too many of the women talked about hectic family schedules that sounded dreadful to me. Few spoke of how much they loved their spouse, how romantic their partners were or that they were particularly jubilant. Instead, I heard about money tensions, kid stress, control issues and trust concerns.
I realize now the men and women I knew were a just small subset of married folk and that a number of factors could have impacted their marital views. But I didn’t make the effort to seek a broader perspective.
Savoring sips & sitcoms …
By then, I was starting to savor my single lifestyle. I loved the freedom of not having to answer to anyone about my purchasing decisions or how I spent my time. I could watch whatever I wanted on the four TVs in my house, and I could travel whenever my professional life permitted. At night I could indulge occasionally in a third glass of wine with no side-glance from a judgy husband.
In reality, had I discovered a man who would not have judged any of those things and who was super funny, warm, virtuous, smart and interesting, and found me incredibly irresistible and charming, I’d be married to this day.
After all, there were times when making enough money to pay the mortgage, all the bills and for graduate school twice was challenging. There were also moments when literally paying all the bills, taking out the garbage, cleaning, tending to bugs, caring for pets, trying to maintain a vibrant enough social life, volunteering, helping family and dealing with home repairs — all while holding down an all-consuming career — weren’t so delightful.
It’s not you, it’s me …
And while some of my married gal pals would admit a little envy when they’d hear about my weekend plans or when I was dating the handsome Greek tennis player, the tall police detective or the quirky musician, there’d also be the stunningly outdated viewpoints:
- The guy in his 40s who, when I was 35, told me he liked women in their twenties in case he wanted more kids.
- The friends who would hold some kind gathering and weren’t sure what to do with me. If they didn’t know whom if anyone I was dating, rather than asking or inviting only me, they tended just not to invite me at all.
- The coach who told me about a good looking 40-year-old single guy he knew, but who surely wouldn’t be interested in me because I was then a ripe old 46 and “men that age like much younger women.”
- My realtor, who said surely potential buyers of my house would need to be a married couple with kids … what kind of oddball solo person would want such a big beautiful house? Yeah, just me, I guess!
For years I lived in a college town so there weren’t exactly oodles of intriguing single men over 21. I now live in Washington DC, and frankly I expected to encounter a few dashing generals or ambassadors, but instead we’re in a pandemic and all I see out the window is the occasional thin, glasses-wearing, bearded, masked-up millennial man zoom by on a scooter.
The good news is I’m pretty darn blissful almost all the time and tend to see the bright side of life. And since we’re still rather on lockdown, I’m not outside much and needn’t worry about one of those pesky lightning bolts coming after me.