never married, over forty, a little bitter

Month: May, 2012


I wrote before about seeing this performance live (the post entitled “song break”), and here it is!


A friend of mine who works full-time, makes a modest income, doesn’t live near any family, and is without a partner went to a sperm bank a few years ago and got pregnant on her first try.  She’s gay so perhaps she is not hung up on the nuclear family concept, but considering her paltry savings account, I couldn’t decide if she was brave or foolish.  She went on to have a beautiful healthy baby, and motherhood seems to suit her.

She called the other day to complain about her job and another failed relationship.  She then mentioned that she had gone back to the sperm bank and gotten pregnant again.

It’s funny how differently people respond to situations.  The last thing I would want to do in her situation is have another child, as I would feel that would just chain me to my unhappy circumstances, while she obviously feels that a baby adds light and love to an otherwise dreary position.

She is still unusual in my world, however, as the other women I know got a partner in place before a child.

tough spot

shelf life

Do we lose our desire for romantic passion?  Certainly my desire has passed its peak but it hasn’t disappeared completely; the right person can reignite it.  I know women in their seventies and eighties who still pine and women in their forties who no longer give a toss.  I don’t think that desire is in the driver’s seat any longer in my life, but it’s still simmering.

Related article here, on Elizabeth Wurtzel, written by a man who impresses me as a bit bitter himself:

Not getting this rather obvious fact:  for a woman (or a man, for that matter, but particularly for a woman, given the time frames involved) to base her life and identity and value and enjoyment and so on around her sex appeal and hot sex with numerous men and so on is to live a self-defeating life.  Wurtzel rightly realizes, perhaps finally, that beauty and sex appeal have a shelf life that, for women, is somewhat shorter than it is for men.  Yet she draws the completely wrong lesson from this.  The lesson is not that life is unfair (although it can seem so, to everyone at some stage, for different reasons), or that life has no more point after sex appeal fades!  It rather obviously means that sex appeal is but one part of a fully lived life, and surely not the central part, given that it is a rather fleeting thing.  The obviousness of this truth remains apparently  elusive even for the more introspective than average Wurtzel — something which makes me think it is a truth being rather deliberately avoided.


This past month I was at a small party with a handful of men and women who were over forty and single.  Someone at the party read a piece in which the narrator mentioned having gone without sex “for a whole six months.”  There was a collective groan in the room; both the men and women indicated that six months was nothing. It was heartening for me to realize that men can go through dry spells too.

I was listening to a podcast today in which two male comics in their thirties bemoaned their recent single status, saying that they hadn’t been alone in a long time and that looking for women was detrimental to their ability to focus and be productive in their careers.  They likened being single to being hungry and thus unable to concentrate on anything.  They also questioned whether it was possible to be happy alone.

It was enlightening to hear men talk about such issues, but it also reminded me of how frequently I’ve been admonished that I don’t need a partner to be happy.  I’ve struggled with my ambivalence over that concept for years.

The comics also discussed the flip side, which is that being single allows you to be selfish and to concentrate on your own projects.  I’ve benefitted from that too, but at the same time, I wonder if I could have accomplished more if I hadn’t spent so much time dating and looking for the “one.”

The podcast:



My job involves working with the public, and this has opened my eyes to just how many truly “broken” people there are in the world, people who, for whatever reason, never fully matured and seem incapable of handling life as an adult.

Unfortunately, I would describe many of current friends as “semi-broken.”  I’ve kept them in my life because they have qualities I hold in high regard, generally kindness and reliability.  I adore them in many ways, yet they are hobbled in love and/or work by issues ranging from the mild to the severe, from hoarding to overeating to debilitating depression to alcoholism to codependency.

In my thirties, I had a lot more “high-functioning” friends in the mix, people who seemingly had healthy relationships and burgeoning careers and no major psychological roadblocks.  Those people have mostly disappeared from my life, and I have to ask myself why.  Is it that I’ve lost them all to marriage and parenthood?  It appears that way, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s something “unhealthy” about me that has chased them away.  I don’t have any addictions, though, and I work hard to maintain health in all the major areas: physical, financial, psychological, interpersonal.

I have more appreciation and empathy now for the friends who have remained by my side than I ever did in my thirties, but I do feel as if they can’t help me move forward in life because of their own “stuck” patterns.  They simply can’t provide job or social connections or advice on romance and careers.  They don’t have the funds to travel, and the men can’t commit to relationships.

I also occasionally feel that they don’t appreciate me in return, as their heads sometimes seem stuck in an adolescent fantasyland in which true maturity doesn’t hold a lot of appeal.  In other words, it takes a mature person to appreciate that maturity in another.  I have been guilty of this myself.

I suppose, feeling unmoored once again and trying to feel my way forward, that I’m suddenly frustrated with the inability of my remaining friends to help.


wild hair

The past two months have been productive.  I’ve enjoyed some blissful solitude as I plowed through a pile of books, cooked up some divine dishes, listened to my favorite podcasts and a Raymond Chandler audiobook, and, obviously, blogged.  I took a short vacation and saw old friends, continued classes at the new yoga studio, attended a lecture, a cycling event, a few shows, and a concert, and kept up with my dance classes.  Over the course of all this activity, I’ve gradually let go of my emotional ties to a couple of social groups that have left me unfulfilled and have hung out with some small groups of new acquaintances.

All well and good, until last night a wave of loneliness washed over me.  I felt like Carrie Bradshaw in the episode in which she says, in the midst of her book party, “I’m lonely.  The loneliness is palpable.”

Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been ushering out the past, and the future has not shown its face yet.  All I know is I suddenly want to be flirted with outrageously, or thrown on a couch and ravished, or, barring a romantic liaison, have an evening that is so outrageously fun it continues into the next day.

I seem to have sprouted a wild hair.

Today I perused through the offerings for the upcoming long weekend and came across several blowout festivals involving some combination of lengthy drives, overnight stays, expensive tickets, and long lists of bands I’ve never heard of.  It has all left me baffled.  It sounds like a lot of work that would likely result in being surrounded by a bunch of posers either much younger than myself or my age but with strollers in tow.

Instead it looks like I will stick with my original plans:  rollerblading with a work acquaintance, cocktails with some dance friends, and a small cultural festival for a few hours with another group.  Pleasant, but probably not enough to satisfy the wild hair.


In the book Southern California: An Island on the Land, the author Carey McWilliams explains that houses in Los Angeles were often shoddily built because people didn’t know if they would be staying long.  They wanted to “try out” living in Southern California but were unsure whether they would become permanent residents.

I found my apartment in a hurry and took the place because the rent was low.  I didn’t think I would be here more than a few years;  I figured I would either get into a relationship and move in with someone or would move back to my former city in a few years.  I transported my hodge podge of furnishings from my former residence out here and decorated the new place halfheartedly.  I haven’t bothered to change the carpet or blinds, although they need it, because I think of the place as temporary.

Well, temporary is dragging on so that it’s no longer temporary.  In another year I will need to decide if I’m moving back, and if not, I should think about getting a nicer place.  Finding a nicer place here means staying longer, though, and I’m still unsure about that.  Betwixt and between, once again.

The book:


I’ve noticed a new “standoffishness” in myself when it comes to making friends.  I suppose, based on bitter experience, that I’ve become wary of friendships with other women because of the likelihood I will get ditched for boyfriends and/or babies, particularly if the woman in question is younger than me.  An over-forty, ever-single friend told me once that she didn’t want to become friends with younger women, saying, “I’ve been dumped enough.”

The thing is, I detect this same wariness in other single, childless women my age, the few times I come across them.  There’s a wall up, one that I recognize.