never married, over forty, a little bitter

Month: February, 2012

“career women”

Considering I’m not a fan of the 40 hour workweek, this is fascinating:

A recent study by the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada reports that when women were asked about their decision to conceive their first child, 97 percent said that had been waiting to be in a “secure relationship” before having children. Less than 30 percent cited “career goals” as being “very important” to the decision. A similar study, in Australia’s Journal of Population Health, reports that childless women in their thirties want to have children, but cannot due to reasons “beyond their control.” Specific reasons cited include: “not having a partner, not having a stable relationship, or with a partner that did not want children.”


the last prejudice

Interesting art project here:

I especially liked this comment:

There is no question to me that a childless woman is always considered to have something “missing”. It’s a feeling that is hard not to internalize.  I have a career in academe, and realize it’s no accident there are so few women with children.  I work all the time. I love it absolutely, but know that I would have to have significant funds or a wealthy husband in order to facilitate a family in addition to my career.  (And pay disparity with childbearing age women is another major issue, of course.)
Which gets me to the concept of women and labor.  A little known fact:  Walter Mondale fought for free childcare for all in the 70s.  Can you imagine how our society would have been transformed had this become reality?  Childcare today is frought with issues of sexism and marginalization as women who want to maintain careers must engage other women (usually at costs well below a real living wage) to take care of them.

It is my opinion women still suffer the most from all this confusion.  I find as I stare down the barrell of age 40 that something so simple as going home for the holidays brings all this up.  Marriage and children are touchstones society can engage with.  My recent show abroad?  Not so much.  I can’t imagine what it is like for alternative-minded women who don’t want children, or even those who adopt, to find their sense of self in what is still a conservative culture.  I find it excruciating, and I come from a progressive family (who still, by the way, offer their fair share of painful comments over the childless issue).

Recently, I’ve been trying to develop the concept of “loss” cutting the other way.  Women who have children can’t ever experience the freedom and creative outlets I have as a career and art-focused individual.  I think when we start looking at this issue from both angles, with real compassion and an understanding that “have it all” is mostly a construct of a capitalist society, we’ll move forward on this issue. –Melissa


This month, for the first time ever, I was hit on by someone who had obviously noticed my profile on Facebook.  I happen to know through a friend, however, that this particular person has a history of unethical behavior.  The experience made me realize the folly of attempting internet dating in such a huge city.  Having one or two degrees of separation, as I almost always did in the mid-sized city, can definitely be a good thing.

another perspective

From an LA weekly interview with comic Jason Nash:

Single people make me crazy with their whining about being alone. The reason you’re alone is because you don’t want to sacrifice your awesome life.   You don’t want to be  alone on Valentine’s Day? Well then come join me in Anthropologie while I wait for my wife for an hour and a half while my kid has liquid diarrhea. If there’s one thing I learned about being with  someone, is you have to be willing to give every drop of yourself. Both people need to sacrifice so much to make it work and most of my single friends they don’t want to do that.


I was listening to a woman perform a monologue the other night in which she mentioned her husband and son.  At some semi-conscious level, that distanced me from her.  A few minutes later she made fun of herself for mentioning them and said she must sound so obnoxious, given how many people in show business don’t have families.  Now that made me love her immediately– the act of recognizing that not everyone goes home to a spouse and kids, and some may be happy about it and for some it may sting.

the j.o.b.

Interestingly, I’m not all that bothered about being alone on my days off.  Yes, I do reach a point where I get tired of going to events alone, but it takes me a while to get there.  Generally I enjoy my own company and never run out of things to do.

It’s the weekday slog that gets to me.  I slept like a baby during over the three-day-weekend, but last night I was tossing and turning again and revisiting that old feeling of “I hate my life.”  It’s the job, although not specifically this job.  It’s the 40-hour-workweek routine that I have just never cottoned to, even after two decades of trying.  It doesn’t suit me.  You would think I would appreciate having somewhere to go–a place where I had a role– but I would prefer to have more free time.  I don’t know if I will ever finagle that, but I still dream of working part-time.


getting out there

The only reason I’m able to do so much running around this weekend is because I have three days off for President’s Day.  Otherwise there is no way I’d have the time and energy.

I had the date Friday night (half hour drive each way), and then yesterday I drove an hour in heavy traffic (why there’s so much traffic on Saturdays is beyond me) on two freeways to check out a social athletic group.  Much like meetup, this group gets together all over the city, so lots of driving and “searching” is involved.  The athletic part was much more challenging than I expected– I’d guess about six miles over lots of hills.  Add in the socializing afterwards, and the whole thing took about five hours out of my day (and I left early!).  I had to drive another half-hour to get to a show that night, so I’m quite tired today.  More driving and another date today.

The athletic group wasn’t really my scene and made me realize why I’ve settled into the comfortable niche I’ve found on the fringes of a particular subgroup of performers who share my sensibility.  I was annoyed yesterday that I spent such a big chunk of my weekend checking them out, but I’m pretty happy today that I got out of my rut and experienced something new.

half past done

I’m realizing with this latest experiment that I’m half past done with online dating.

I did a ton of online dating in my thirties, including quite a bit when I first moved here.  I’m feeling the need to try new things and meet new people again, but at the same time I’m feeling sorry for myself that I’m right back where I started.

It was difficult for me to psyche myself up last night, as frankly I wanted to stay home curled up with a book after a long week at work.  I have, perhaps, grown to enjoy my own company a little too much.  I also feel like I’ve become quite perceptive about people and situations, and I can guess before I’ve even gone on a date why something might not work.

In this case, the man in question has just moved to town.  He is staying with relatives and looking for a job and in general is as disoriented and freaked out as I myself was when I moved here.  I feel like he needs to settle into a life here before dating seriously, and he said as much on the date.  It occurred to me that my dates probably thought the same of me when I first arrived here.  Timing counts for a lot.

At least he was cute and socially adept, if not really my type.  I do my best to get something out of the situation– to learn something new about other people and their jobs and the places they have lived– and I did that.

I’m going on one more date from online tomorrow (probably my last from this go-round, and I have big reservations about him).  The man I wrote who it turned out I had already been on a date with wants to meet up as well, but I don’t expect my feelings will have changed.

I’ve gotten to a point where the online thing doesn’t work for me, and I can’t seem to overcome my lack of enthusiasm for meeting up with virtual strangers and making small talk.  I’m not sure when the turn happened, but I would peg it at 40.

In other news, I’m pushing myself to try a new social group today, so there will be more venturing out of the comfort zone.

role models

I enjoy comedy quite a bit, but I find that certain male comics discuss only two types of women: their wives or hot young women (porn stars)  in their twenties.  If I listen to too much of that talk, I start to feel invisible.

I realized this week that there are quite a few female comics around my age who are childless and/or unmarried:  Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho, Maria Bamford, Kathy Griffin, Laura Kightlinger, Natasha Leggero, Lisa Lampanelli, Jackie Kashian, Becky Pedigo, Jen Kirkman…I’m sure the list goes on.

It’s heartening to know that all those smart, sassy ladies are on my same path.  I need friends like that in my actual life!


I’ve been reading Ellen Walker’s book Complete Without Kids this week and found she had interesting things to say about what happens to friendships once people start having children.

In Chapter 5 she discusses how she had been part of a group of childless adults who then suddenly began having children in their late thirties.  I liked this sentence, p.109:

At a point where I’ve been spending more and more time examining who I am and where I want to take my life, they are becoming more and more involved in the lives of their children.