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?
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?