Monday, April 19, 2010

Bacheloress...

A totally random comment by a complete stranger has set me thinking... I think I'm a Bacheloress! Think about the facts: I am mid forties (I know, I seem way too immature, what can I say!) and unmarried and childless so that makes me a SPINSTER, right? Spinster, what a horrid word... I got this from dear old Wikipedia: "spinster (or old maid) came to indicate a woman or girl of marriageable age who was unwilling or unable to marry and had no children. Socially, the term is usually applied only to women who are regarded as beyond the customary age for marriage, and is sometimes considered an insulting term, more degrading than the term "bachelor" for males. While men can continue to have children into their 70s or 80s, women generally become less and less able to bear children as they get older. So the term "old maid" is only applied to women who are past a child bearing age but have never married."

I know what you are thinking, what about feminism, bra-burning, all that hoopla? Well, true, some of the stigma has been rubbed away, but not that much. Spinster still suggests someone who has missed out, dried up, is to be pitied, doesn't it? You're all thinking, bless, she's never met the right guy, poor thing. Well, no I haven't I guess, at least not for long, not for life, not that Soul-mate we are all supposed to find somewhere along the way...

Do you know what? It doesn't really bother me as much as it seems to bother my family and friends. Or strangers, meet someone new and the negative response to the inevitable enquiry gets met with huge embarrassment on their part, as though they have just stumbled into a bereavement or admission of hard drugs usage. I'm not just saying it to put on a brave face, I really don't mind. I've never wanted children, it's not that I don't like children -I like them and for some reason they love me - but I just never saw myself in the role of Mother. I'm too "in my own head", always was. As an oldest child I had my brother and 2 female cousins around and spent the majority of my day devising games for them to play that kept them distracted and allowed me to slip away unnoticed and read my book, play with my dolls and make stuff... all undisturbed by them. We weren't even far apart in age, but we were far apart in outlook, I found them confusing; I found other children very odd when I got to school age too, they seemed so "other". I always related better to adults and couldn't understand why I was being punished in this way: by being treated "like a child". I hated school, not the lessons, not my small band of mostly male friends, just being surrounded by other children, saw it as an ordeal to be endured, trying to get through another day surrounded by creatures I found so alien. I did most of my reading and learning at home on my own. My adult relatives tended to treat me as a rather short equal, or at least let me believe that I was. I must have been an obnoxious child!

So Mother wasn't a role that immediately sprang to mind! Men on the other hand, I love men (I always got on better with boys than girls as a child, despite having no obvious Tomboy traits) or began to, once I went to art college and met men who were on my wavelength, men I had things in common with. Somehow boyfriends have not become permanent fixtures, I've not felt the need to preserve one in aspic or wear a ring, I tend not to think in forevers and that has confused and ultimately alienated some really nice men. C'est la vie! I don't regret any of the partings really, it hurts to be alone again at first but once the mourning for that relationship takes it's course I am reasonably content again. I find happiness in lots of things, I am self contained. I'm not sitting here "waiting" until the next romance comes along, I'm living. I'm sure I can't be the only woman (or man, but it seems almost expected of men?)  to feel as I do?

Bachelor, doesn't have the same stigma does it? The Bachelor lifestyle, the Bachelor pad: Jennifer Anniston is sad and unlucky in love, George Clooney is unfettered, a lucky dog! Sorry Jen, sisterhood and all that, but I'd rather hang with George (wouldn't we all?) because it looks like he's got it made. So do you probably - and this perpetual singledom may well be your choice- but you do have to wear your heart on your sleeve and weep for the comfort of strangers every now and then, and put up with knowing that whole rain forests of speculation go into just why you can't keep a man! OK, so some people (my mother for instance) think George Clooney is gay and in denial (I've had that levelled at me too, puzzling as I know I would end up a single, childless Lesbian too, it's my personality, not my sexuality, at the root of my "Spinsterhood"!) but what do they know, and frankly who cares? By and large, Bachelors are regarded as choosing to be alone, Spinsters have not been chosen. How insane is that?

Bachelorette - I know femenists hate that term as the "ette" implies less than a Bachelor, I think the suffix "ette" is diminuitive? I think. Picky? Maybe, but what's wrong with Bacheloress? Or even just Bachelor, as long as I keep the rapidly approaching prospect of mid-life female facial hair under control that shouldn't be too confusing, should it? Maybe I will be a straight-non-lesbian-but-not-worried-if-you-think-i-am-single-by-choice-childless-female with a small goatee (I can I bead it or add glitter, we need to embrace these changes) but Bacheloress seems easier to say.

You see, I chose this :o)

15 comments:

Pam Morris said...

excellent! you go, girl! agree and empathize with all you said...even tho' I am married with 3 children, I think you hit the nail on the head with society's rather unchanging views on 'singlehood' re male/female. still, its a lot better than it used to be...good blog entry!

Margarita said...

Don't listen to people that say such things. It is true we cannot please the people in every way. But as long as you are happy the way you are just keep going. Many married women (or men) with children never get to know their creative side, and that is a very sad thing.

Yve said...

Why thank you both :o) Other people's misconceptions of my single status don't often get to me but sometimes you just want to scream :"ever thought that not everyone wants what YOU want?" We're all different, we want different things, I just want people to take me at my word when I say I'm OK with this, it gets really old having to go along with the stale idea that I am incomplete somehow!

嘉容嘉容 said...

Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.......................................................

Kelsey the Ewok said...

Oh wow! I feel the same way! I'm only seventeen but I feel like I'm on this whole other level of maturity that none of my peers have reached! But to adults I'm a still a naive little kid so I'm still treated like one. And I'm not a lesbian, I just don't desire male company and I never went through a boy-crazy phase. I have more important things to occupy myself with like read or write or make art!

I'm so glad I finally found someone else who felt the same way. I always thought that maybe I really was the only one!

Let's be spinsters together in a cozy artsy little cottage ;)

Kelsey

Yve said...

Tee hee, Kelsey, don't let anyone make you think you are odd just because you don't do as they do... you may meet a wonderful man/woman and go the whole hog, or you may stay as you are, as long as YOU are happy, that's all that counts :o)

Sue said...

Yve, I'm sending your blog post to my 30 year old daughter. She ended a 6 year relationship several years ago and constantly laments her 'single' state. I don't think she minds being single, just all the
misconceptions that surround it.

Thank you for posting this.

Sue:)

Abi said...

Well Yve, I wasn't bored by your long post!
Infact, quite the opposite... it's fascinating... and I have to agree, Spinster should really be eradicated.
I like Bacheloress :O)

Yve said...

Sue, that's the crazy thing, people don't believe you when you say you are happy single, they think "Oh poor thing, she's just being brave, inside she's weeping!" When I was younger I felt more pressure than I do now, people were always matchmaking whenever I was between romances (they've given me up as a bad job now!) so tell your daughter not to waste a day, enjoy life with a guy but most importantly, enjoy it when it's just you, too :o)

Morgan said...

*Insanely wild applause*

silveredfern said...

I love this post, its exactly what I feel. Now in my mid thirties, I'm tired of people trying to find an explanation for my singleness. Its just what I want.

Bari Read said...

My Aunt Weezie (a classic spinster) just told people that if she'd wanted to be married, she would be.
That will pretty much put a cork in the questions...:0)

absurdoldbird said...

Spinster is, indeed, a horrible term that conjures up the wrong images... at my age (late 50's) it makes me think of 'Miss Marple' types!

I agree with what you've written - particularly about living inside your head and being brought up amongst adults. I am married but haven't any children and, like you, I like them and they like me, but I just didn't take that route.

And - until I found 'the man for me' I was quite happy being single.

Val

Kaz said...

Greetings from the US. Love your dolls. I am a dollmaker too. Originally from Grimsby. Just wanted to say hello.

Yve said...

Hi Kaz, belatedly!

A very brief rekindling of an old romance happened in between writing this and making this comment now. I thought of myself as a Bacheloress the whole time. I don't see why I should be like a bus and always display my intended destination on my forehead! Especially when I don't actually know where I'm going... do any of us really? ;o)