The Cheese Stands Alone

As my 30th year of life approaches, I have more and more people asking me one of two questions; when will I marry and when will I have kids. My answer to them?

Never.

From the looks of horror I receive, one would think I’d just kicked a basket of puppies down an elevator shaft. It’s as though I have committed the ultimate offense in making the decision long ago to live my life for myself. Honestly, there are times when people’s ideas about social/family obligations slip right back to the early 1900s and beyond. For anyone who hasn’t noticed, the year is (currently) 2013. Women and men can both make decisions for themselves…and that includes the issue of single life vs marriage.

So why did I decide that going solo was for me? And how do I respond to people who ask rather personal questions about my “status” or lack thereof? Carry on, gentle reader, if you wish to know.

So, when are you going to find a man for yourself?
I won’t be. A man is not an apple to be plucked from a tree. He is a fellow person with his own life to live…One does not simply “find a man” and get him to propose through the use of feminine wiles and promises of sex. I have no need for an individual man in my life, though I do love the ones who are a part of it.

But doesn’t that mean you’ll be a single mother?
No. That would mean getting pregnant and having children, which I have impossibly low interest in doing. I mean, I didn’t even want baby dolls as a child…And honestly? The idea of getting pregnant is terror inducing. It would kick my cognitive dissonance into high gear, and I’ve no desire to do that.

How can you not want kids? Every woman wants to have children!
Well, unless I’ve unknowingly had a sex change in the last hour, I’m still a woman (at least physically, but THAT is a post for another day). And, surprise surprise, I still don’t want kids. Ergo, not ALL people who happen to own vaginas want to. I’m quite certain that other females feel the same way, though I will acknowledge we are a minority.

You say that now, but soon you’ll be 30 and have “baby rabies”. A woman isn’t complete til she has had a child.
Wow, how unbelievably horrible of you. What about women who are infertile or transexual? I suppose they are not complete people then. Or perhaps only those of us who choose to never procreate are incomplete drones with infant shaped holes in our hearts? Sorry, I call bullshit. My life is not automatically “bad” just because my womb stays empty.

If you don’t get married and/or have children, you will die old and alone surrounded by cats. Is that really what you want?
The “old” part, yes. I’d like to follow in my grandmothers’ footsteps and live to about 85 or 90 before kicking the bucket. Luckily, there is also a growing movement of seniors who live together in awesome communities, helping each other out, spending holidays together, teaching the neighborhood younglings, volunteering time in libraries, museums and schools. By the time I am 70, I hope it will have become the norm for elders without families. It seems much healthier than just playing bingo and watching soap operas. Also, I’m not overly fond of cats…dogs, rats and rabbits are more my speed.

You aren’t thinking for your financial future. Not only will you be charged more taxes, but without a husband you will always have to rely on your own income.
This first part is true, for now. Single citizens (at least in the US) are charged more income tax than those who are married or have dependents. However, there are organizations looking to change that and they seem to have some politicians on their side. So it’s entirely possible this will change within my lifetime. If not, then oh well. I’m not the first person to be taxed like this, and I won’t be the last. Big boys and girls who are able to should rely on their own income as much as possible. Besides, your version has the man becoming a glorified wallet rather than being appreciated for his own desires, flaws and goals. I cannot condone a society that forces all men to break their backs providing for the kids and wife they never get to see.

Ah, so you are living just for your career and the money? Sounds rather selfish/greedy.
Hardly. I’m living my life as I wish, with all the freedoms, hardships, and responsibilities that entails. Yes, that involves working 50+ hours a week. But it also means I don’t have to budget for anyone but myself, and it will only affect ME if I decide to splurge on a new PS3 game instead of buying all the groceries on my list. If that makes me selfish, then I know a LOT of miserly men. Besides, I already donate my time to my local food pantry and SPCA…so I don’t think I’m selfish at all.

What about love? Coming home to an empty apartment everyday must be so lonely…
Nope. I have my hamster, guinea pig, parakeets, and cockatiel there for companionship, and I spend quite a few hours with them every week. Other than that, my apartment is my sanctuary. It is always neat, tidy, orderly and clean. I never have to wonder who ate the last peach from the fruit bowl or cookie from the jar. My videogames are never scratched, my books are never dog-eared, and my money is never missing. If there is a mess, then I clean it up, since I’m the cause of it. If I get bored or lonely, I have these people called “friends” or “family” that I can spend time with…and often do. Being single does not make one a cliff-dwelling hermit.

So, in other words, you just want to be free to do whatever you want and damn the consequences. I feel sorry for the poor men whose hearts’ you have stepped on.
If I have ever broken someone’s heart, I sincerely apologize. Really. But I have never once gone to a movie, dinner, convention or party with a guy who didn’t expressly know from the very start that we were just friends, and that was NOT going to change. The one time that a guy didn’t understand that, I straightened it out very quickly to reduce any hard feelings. I’ve dated a total of 2 times in my life and hated it. Strict gender roles, lots of unsolicited touching, and a perceived inability for me to pay for anything was a huge turnoff and made me feel cheap. All of my friends are men, and I always make sure to pay my way and then some. Besides, I know a great single guy that is a good friend and is happy to have sex with me a few times a week. It works out for both of us, since we don’t ask the other for any sort of commitment. A “friend with benefits”, if you will.

If you have premarital sex, then you’re a slut/whore. How do you live knowing that?
See above where I said I pay my own way? I meant that. My guyfriend knows I’m financially independent and that I prefer hanging out and having fun over being spoiled with needless gifts. And since he is the only person I’ve ever had sex with in my 7 years of being sexually active, I kinda think that disqualifies me for the coveted Slut Award. Besides, my religion (Wicca) doesn’t judge people for having premarital intimacy so long as it is safe and consensual. I’m sorry if yours is different.

You are just anti-marriage.
Not at all! I am fully capable of understanding that some men and women want marriage and children. Just because I don’t has absolutely no bearing on how others feel. I am truly sorry for any woman/man who is involuntarily single or celibate, and am happy for couples who enjoy their family life (whether that includes children or not). I don’t look down on people who desire or are in marriages…it’s just not something I’ll partake in.

Whatever. One day, you will look back and regret making this decision.
You know what? I’ll admit that’s entirely possible. I have no scrying mirror capable of telling me the future, and I am a mistake-making human just the same as you. But I will say that it is very unlikely, as my self-reliance and freedom is quite important to me and has been since forever. Many of my viewpoints have changed, especially religious ones…but in all my life, my ideas about staying single have not. Besides, I believe in reincarnation so who knows how many spouses and kids I’ll have my next time around (or had in my last life)? I have to be true to myself in the here and now since it’s my life, and that means staying single and enjoying my freedom.

How about you, reader? Where do your thoughts about this lie?

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25 thoughts on “The Cheese Stands Alone

  1. Re: Where do your thoughts about this lie?
    ________________________

    Each individual is free to live their life as they see fit without the interference or the approval of anyone else. Because of the way many men are mistreated in regards to marriage, divorce and child support more men then ever before are choosing to avoid marriage and intimate relationships with women. Of course this makes the feminists madder than ever and so they seek to shame these men into making themselves serfs. It isn’t working.

  2. Of course the greatest risk of remaining alone is ending up all alone in a nursing home full of strangers. Unfortunately being abandoned in a nursing home is the fate many senior adults who chose to marry and raise families have ended up facing; when their families can no longer care for them or refuse to make the sacrifices necessary to make them comfortable in their own homes.

  3. David, both of your points have merit.

    As you can tell, I am a firm believer in “going your own way” whatever that may entail. If it means staying single and free, that’s fine. If it means living with a spouse, or joining a like-minded community of people, that is cool too. So long as your actions don’t harm anyone (including yourself), then live as you so desire. No one of either sex should ever be shamed for their life choices…I’m constantly saddened by the fact that many of us still are.

    In regards to the “nursing home” thing, see my point about senior communities. Obviously they won’t work for everybody as some of our elderly need more assistance than others. But I truly feel that active, healthy seniors should have access to ways of life that promote personal independence coupled with a caring community. Greater funding for hospice workers would also help, for those cases that need extra aid.

  4. I love the way you STAND up for yourself. I applaud you for knowing yourself so well, and for fully understanding the human right to choose ones own path. You rock! Rock on!

  5. Should I call you Sophia?
    Anyway, I have an important question for you, how did the guy become ‘friends with benefits’ with you, whereas the other guys were left at just friends?

    From a guy’s prespective most guys would be fine with FWB, so why were the other guys not granted that status?

  6. Sure. I chose the blog name Sophia because it can also mean “wisdom”…so Tarnished Wisdom was really what I was going for. But if you need to refer to me by an actual name, I’ll answer to that.

    As for why I only have the one guy as a FwB, the reasons are twofold. One, I am not comfortable with the idea of sleeping around and having numerous partners. Not only is there the constant threat of diseases/STDs, but I also tend to care about people too much…if I had numerous lovers, I’d be pulled in too many directions trying to make everyone happy at once.

    Secondly, he is the only guy friend who shares a mutual attraction…isn’t gay…and doesn’t have a wife/girlfriend. Hope that answers your question!

  7. Hello Tarnished Sophia.

    I can certainly understand your concern about STD’s and why you’ve chosen to limit yourself to one sexual partner. It seems to me that you are in a committed relationship only instead of sleeping in separate bedrooms as some couples do both you and your partner lead separate lives in separate homes. My own father was married three times and after his third wife divorced him his second wife reappeared and convinced him to take her back. Only this time around she ended up cheating on my dad and became infected with the Hepatitis C virus – she became a carrier – and intentionally chose not to inform my father that she might have infected him after they broke up. As a result the infection wasn’t discovered until my dad experienced a reoccurrence of a hernia he’d had as a child and it showed up in the blood work done before his surgery to repair the hernia. Unfortunately by then the damage had been done and as a result he died about a year and a half after his surgery from liver failure.

  8. @David
    I’m incredibly sympathetic to your story. That was a horrible thing for your father to go through, both physically and emotionally. I pray he is in a better place/situation now…and that you are as well.

    @Erudite Knight
    Well, by the time we account for all those details, there were 3 friends left that I could have chosen to be FwB with. Yes, I only chose 1, due to the things I mentioned above. Others may be fine with multiple lovers, and I don’t judge them for that…but it’s not for me.

  9. @Erudite Knight

    Perhaps I’m reading too much into your comment, but you seem…disappointed that I don’t have sex with 3 different men at the same time. Do you not care about the attractiveness or health of your own lovers in relation to your preferences?

  10. Turns out, people without children are just as happy – and maybe happier – than people who have kids. One father put it interestingly: Children are a great joy. But they make it hard to enjoy anything else.

  11. Okay, so, yes, I love this post. I did get married, and I have two children. However, I don’t see myself getting married again, and (though I loved him) I do wonder why I got married in the first place. Of course, I know it’s because it was the ‘right’ thing to do, but I won’t be doing it again.

    The constant “when are you going to have more children?” is infuriating. The constant “when are you going to marry him?” (the guy I’m seeing) is doubly infuriating. And people constantly tell me that – because he does not have biological children – I am going to HAVE to consider having more children. Um, no.

    I do not question having had the two children I have, but it is enormously unlikely that I will have more, and I am always baffled by people who think it’s any of their business what any of us do with our lives.

  12. Hey sophia, i found ur comment and link to ur website from askmen.com and i gotta say i really love this blog u made. Im only a teenage male so i habe my whole life ahead of me,, but iv always had a negative view on marriage, because my parents are an awful example of wat a good marriage is, and because i believe that i wil grow stronger from being independent. I am now happier with my decision to remain single for life.

  13. Hello Cyrus.

    Thank you for visiting. I’m so glad that my blog was able to help you with this decision. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with marriage, it’s certainly not for everyone and no man or woman should feel it is required for a healthy, happy and productive life. You may change your mind later, but you shouldn’t *have* to.

  14. @Virgin Male

    I’ve only said this to someone once. Their response was “It’s impossible to regret having children unless you’re a monster.” Then again, they were a staunch Catholic man who thought it was still his duty to “be fruitful and multiply”…

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