The Spinster Colony Exists!

Once upon a time there were such a thing as a housing development just for women. Like Begijnhof in Amsterdam. Or several similar types of places in New York City, the names of which escape me at the moment.

Anyway, I have suggested several times that strong, independent female types get together and rent a building or a town and create an official spinster colony, where women can be women without worrying about men, and maybe even raise their own kids together in one big happy matriarchy.

It never happened, partially because even strong, independent female types are convinced they are missing something without a man, and will hold out as long as necessary. Also, each candidate lived in a different city and was particularly attached to her job. That’s the problem with those strong, independent female types.

Anyway, turns out the all-women colony still exists! Down in Brazil. Except they’re not spinsters and they made the news because they’re looking for men. Oh well.

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Link: All the Single Ladies – Someone Else’s Thoughts

Part 2 of Link: All the Single Ladies

O sent me this very long article and completely ruined my plans to be asleep before 11. Thanks O. I thought you were my friend. (Warning: article rated PG-13)

It starts out with the usual discussion of the fall of men and sociological observation that if a woman wants to marry a man who is both taller and more successful than herself, she’s in trouble. There’s some blah-de-blah about the plight of women on college campuses (including a rather confusing note suggesting that it’s not nearly as promiscuous out there as everyone claims, this article included) and a dark prophesy that the deterioration of family in the black community presages the future of the white community.

Then it delves into the single female experience. Really, Bolick (the authoress) points out, being single isn’t so bad. We should enjoy it while we can.

“Back when I believed my mother had a happy marriage—and she did for quite a long time, really—she surprised me by confiding that one of the most blissful moments of her life had been when she was 21, driving down the highway in her VW Beetle, with nowhere to go except wherever she wanted to be. “I had my own car, my own job, all the clothes I wanted,” she remembered wistfully. Why couldn’t she have had more of that?”

I don’t completely agree here. I mean yes, being single is nice. In the morning when I cruise to my own job in my own car admiring the beautiful sunrise that is clearly there just for me I enjoy a moment of complete happiness and satisfaction. Life is awesome. Absolutely awesome.

But surely you have moments  like that even after your first kid. If you don’t, then why do we all drive ourselves crazy to get married?

Bolick notes that some of our self-pity is induced by society’s view of single women as crazy cat ladies, obsessed shoe-shoppers, and weird loners:

“The single woman is very rarely seen for who she is—whatever that might be—by others, or even by the single woman herself, so thoroughly do most of us internalize the stigmas that surround our status.”

In other words, stop identifying yourself as a Single Orthodox Female. Just be a Person.

She goes on to point out that the modern marriage is inherently selfish, and a couple contributes far less to the community than a single.

“Some even believe that the pair bond, far from strengthening communities (which is both the prevailing view of social science and a central tenet of social conservatism), weakens them, the idea being that a married couple becomes too consumed with its own tiny nation of two to pay much heed to anyone else. In 2006, the sociologists Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian published a paper concluding that unlike singles, married couples spend less time keeping in touch with and visiting their friends and extended family, and are less likely to provide them with emotional and practical support.”

“More concretely, there’s what my brother terms our “immigrant bucket brigade”—my peer group’s habit of jumping to the ready to help each other with matters practical and emotional. This isn’t to say that my married friends aren’t as supportive—some of my best friends are married!—it’s just that, with families of their own, they can’t be as available.”

She points out that women can often compensate for lack of men by forming close, inter-familial bonds. African-American single moms do it, and single women who live in the same buildings do it, so why can’t white single moms by choice do it?

“Could we have a modernization of the Mosuo, Ryan mused, with several women and their children living together—perhaps in one of the nation’s many foreclosed and abandoned McMansions—bonding, sharing expenses, having a higher quality of life? “In every society where women have power—whether humans or primates—the key is female bonding,” he added.”

*Cough cough*

Haven’t I been calling for a Spinster C0lony for years now? Okay, year. But let’s face it. Girls rock. We look after each other. We band and bond together. We can do anything together. Chut hameshulash and all that. Yet we make ourselves miserable waiting for a man before starting a family… Okay, I’ll put the soapbox away. And I’ll continue this tomorrow with my final thought.

Part 2 of Link: All the Single Ladies

Thursday Link: Relocate the Spinster Colony?

I never settled on a location for the spinster colony, but as Relarela points out, Israel looks very promising. The pull quotes here are:

…Although the procedures account for one of the country’s largest public health expenditures, the policy has drawn little debate or criticism, one of the few issues nearly all sectors of the typically fractious Israeli society seem to agree upon. There is even a growing pool of single religious women using in vitro fertilization, their efforts sanctioned by rabbis.

…“We are very sensitive here to the desire of people to have a family,” she said. “I think our country can be proud that a woman who wants to be a mother can try do so.”

 

Ne-ext!


I give up. That’s it. There’s nobody for me to marry so I’m not getting married.

What’s so great about marriage anyway? Instead of lying awake at night worrying because you haven’t got a husband and children (which I don’t actually do), you lay awake at night worrying because you do. Why would anyone want that?

There’s a lot more you can do when you’re single. I could start that spinster colony. Or become a crazy crusader. You know, one of those women who fly about making the world a better place. And everyone watches them zoom around and says, “She does such wonderful work but…” they twirl their fingers around their ears. Then they lower their voices and add “And it’s only because she never got married. If she had, she would have just settled down like everyone else.”

And they’ll decide to marry me off but I will refuse to go out because why do that to yourself? It’s just a stupid cycle of hope and misery. And then they’ll wander off muttering that I’m too picky and that’s why, yes that explains everything, they should have known, because what normal person would still be single at my age?

There are lots of things in the world that need improving. I’d never be short of a crusade. For example, I’ve always wanted to go back to my high school and teach Jewish history so that it’s actually interesting, instead of as a long list of names, dates, and books written. If I have a latent hatred for book-writing rabbis, it’s because of that class. Also dying rabbis, because then there’s another date to memorize. That would be my first crusade.

I could expand it by creating a Jewish History Society with a recreationist museum full of actors pretending to be burned to death in shuls and stuff like that. We’d have swashbuckling Jewish pirates, Jewish merchants, turban-tying Jewish viziers, stylish Jewish bankers, and horseback riding, pistol-toting Jewish explorers. All the people you never hear about because they were Rebs and not Rabbis (although some of them did write books).

Then there’s my bais Yaakov improvement project. I’ve noticed that a lot of bais Yaakov grads, who in all appearances are very aidel knaidels, believe that their high schools failed them in a single, very significant way. Not off-the-derech nobody-loved-me types of people and complaints. More if-I-wasn’t-so-well-grounded-this-would-really-disgust-me types.  I want to go around collecting interviews, searching for a possible common denominator, and then presenting the study to principals in the hope of improving our educational system. That could keep me busy for a while.

Yes, there are a lot of great and important things to do in the world. And as a single spinster, a crazy crusader, I will have the time and resources to do them. There is a bright, husband-free future ahead of me. So why get upset? If it ain’t working, just give it up. Not everyone can succeed at everything. Move on to something that you can do instead.

Note: This is not the post I promised commenter Noah. That one is still in second draft and will probably need four more to be presentable. This is filler material off my hard drive.

However, please rate this post on a five-star scale, with five meaning “I emailed this to my friends” and one being “gosh you were desperate for filler.”

So It’s Not Just Me…

This is your Monday morning controversy post. Keep it interesting for longer by waiting an hour or so before posting your comment. Oh, and behave.

It’s not really a creative idea. There have been communes of spinster women before. But I really thought there were only a few of us frum women with that idea floating around…

It’s like this: you’re single, you’re not in any danger of getting engaged. You want a family, a cute little kid or two to call your own,  and someone you like to help you raise them, but you can’t find a guy to join up with you.

On the other hand, you know plenty of girls who want families too, a kid or two and a partner in life.

Of course you know the difficulties of being a single mother. It’s pretty crazy to try to raise a kid on your own while keeping house and paying bills. A person really needs a little help with that.

So, the world is full of floating halves. All these women, just like you, who just want to settle down. Why not pair up with one of them? Or two?

Granted, it’s not romantic, but you’re not doing so well in the romance department as it is. You’ll be good friends, you’ll look out for each other, you’ll raise a few kids together in a dual-(or triple)-parent household. You can argue IVF versus adoption after you’ve found a house with enough bedrooms in a community far enough out of town that they’ll be willing to overlook the weirdness of your domestic situation.

Why this now? Well, it’s an idea that floats across my mind every now and then and that I occasionally pitch to parties who are in Despair Mode. I would say I get an 80% You-Are-Crazy response rate even from the I’m-going-to-be-single-forever types. For a while I wavered and thought that perhaps I was crazy. (Could it be?)

Then one Shabbos someone pitched the same exact idea to me. Talk about the happiest moment of the week! If I was crazy, at least I was in good company. But the anecdotal evidence in the comments of FnF’s post about skipping to motherhood suggest that there are a number of people who think this way all the time. They’re just too jealous of their reputation as non-crazy to admit it.

So come out of the woodwork, folks. Maybe we can buy out a residential complex. The more of us there are, the less weird it becomes.

Best City for Singles

According to Forbes magazine, New York City is now the top city for singles to live in (0r around). For all of you who have been hanging around here for years as a single, you were ahead of the curve.

Miami falls at 29. Houston, 25, Pittsburgh 24. Baltimore, 21. Buffalo, 18. (Weird, no?) Cleveland, 14. Denver, 13. Philadelphia, 10. Los Angeles, 8. DC, 5. Seattle, 4. Boston, 2.  The full list and an explanation of ranking is here.