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

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.”

No Guys Left to Date (or, Robbing the Freezer)

I have noticed a disturbing trend.

Back when I first started dating at age 20, the average age of the guys I was redt was around 27. (The range was an astounding 29 down to a low of 26.)

To my relief, the age dropped gradually, so at one point I was actually dating people approximately my age.

But the slope didn’t flatten out there. Now I’m consistently considering guys who are younger than me (3 suggestions in the past month).


Does anyone else see a pattern?

Add to this the fact that I’m also getting a lot of double-redts. Meaning, when people think of someone perfect for me and it turns out we’ve already dated (3 in the past two weeks).

Have I run through all possible guys already?  The thought is terrifying. Then again, it could be liberating. Maybe it’s time to abandon New York and move to Ethiopia, or some place where there’s a population of men I haven’t yet dated.

That’s the Point

A Friend has a friend who was having some marital issues in her first year – namely, finding some of her husband’s behaviors annoying. This young married woman – actually, Girl – discussed it with pretty much everyone under the sun except her husband, and they all (or at least, my friend) strongly suggested she actually tell her husband when he was bugging her. Girl would nod and then move on to the next party to tell them her issues and hear the same advice.

A couple of weeks later Girl approached Friend wreathed in smiles. She’d discussed her issue with a respected rebbetzin and the rebbetzin had spoken to her about the importance of communication, dispelled her notions of the imperturbable perfect wife, and urged her to respectfully broach the subject with her husband. Which she did, and lo! He was wondrously apologetic and immediately mended his ways.

Friend congratulated Girl, turned around, and indulged in a big rolling of eyes.

Sometimes it isn’t what is said but who says it that matters.

I was reminded of this recently when Good4 came home all excited. She and couple of classmates with Older Single sisters had been hanging with the ol’ high school principal. Naturally, they mentioned their terrible guilt at their impending marriages before their older sisters. (Because aren’t we all convinced we’re going to get married to the next guy?)

The principal frowned at their hesitation. “They had five years to get married,” she pointed out. “That’s plenty of time. Don’t let them hold you up.”

Not exactly sympathetic or charitable, but apparently it did the trick. Good4 was more cheerful about the prospect of passing her old spinster of a sister than ever before. That little line did more than any reassurance I could provide. Somehow, hearing it from a respected teacher was more effective than hearing it from the party involved.

It ain’t what, it’s who.

Hey, whatever.

Now Here’s a Solution I Hadn’t Thought Of…

(Of which I hadn’t thought)

Marrying yourself.

After all, one is company, two’s a crowd, right? And who is more perfectly matched for themselves than themselves? You’re already used to your peccadilloes (which aren’t even so bad). You don’t mind picking up after yourself, you love your food, and you think all your jokes are hysterically funny. You never disagree on what to do with a Sunday afternoon, whether it’s too hot or too cold in the bedroom, or what newspaper to subscribe to. Yep, I think she’s on to something there…

Hat tip to the Overland Park reader and SiBaW.

I’m Twenty-Four!

I’m going to repeat that because I have a hard time dealing with it.

I’m twenty-four.

I’m twenty-four.

Okay, let’s practice. Ask me how old I am.

Twenty-thr… four. Twenty-four. I’m twenty-four.

OMG! I’m twenty-freakin’four. Pardon my language.

Okay, so I’m a little dazed. I happen to think 24 is an amazing age – in the abstract. But it’s kinda getting… older. I mean, it’s just one year to 25 from there, and that’s a quarter century, and more than a quarter my expected lifespan, and also officially the top of the hill, in terms of shidduch aging.

I’m twenty-four. Holy cow. I remember thinking a neighbor was an old maid at twenty-three. And now I’m older and still single. (She’s married.) . I think I might be entering the freak-out stage of shidduchim.

Cripes. I’m already twenty-four. No wonder my little sister is worried.

Thought Question: If You Could, Would You?

Yesterday, someone linked to this Atlantic article by a single woman with an IVF baby. These women have their kid, but… something is missing. Indeed, they kinda miss having a guy around the house.

Just goes to show – some people are never satisfied.

But seriously. The message of the article is “Don’t be like us!” (Because, you know, ever since we first started playing with our Barbies we threw out the Ken as unnecessary and played ‘single mom with IVF baby’) “Settle for Mr. Not-so-perfect!”

Which I find kinda offensive. Because she’s insinuating that most women have guys lined up and proposing every night but we turn them away for offenses like wearing pale yellow button downs or enjoying football. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been at risk for a single proposal. Ever. Not like those heroines in romances like North and South who get a proposal every chapter and you’re supposed to weep for their isolation and loneliness. As far as I know, there isn’t a single guy in the universe at this moment who wants to marry me (I know, I know, who can blame ’em?). I bet most of you can say that too.

But following this article, by the time women are willing to settle nobody wants to marry them. She doesn’t address guys, but I imagine it’s similar, except that if the guy is old enough and rich enough, some bimbo will be willing to take the dive.

So here’s the question: At what age would you consider yourself beyond hope? And, if you reached that age, would you be willing to ‘settle’ for many of the things you’re hanging out for right now? If, at that age, you met someone else who was willing to settle and who basically fits this description from the article:

I would say even if he’s not the love of your life, make sure he’s someone you respect intellectually, makes you laugh, appreciates you … there are plenty of these men in the older, overweight, and bald category (which they all eventually become anyway).

would you be willing to enter an amicable but dispassionate marriage with them?

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.