never married, over forty, a little bitter

old news

Seven years have passed since this story, but yes, back then, I remember feeling genuinely taken aback at Kathy Griffin’s divorce:

I thought of it today because once in a while a vision of Griffin saying men are “tough” pops  into my head:

KING: Have you dated again?

GRIFFIN: No, I don’t want to — I don’t care about that yet.

KING: Come on, you should be ready.


KING: You should be ready to date, two and a half months.

GRIFFIN: Oh! Have you met men, they’re awful, Larry. Yes, I’m looking right at you. 

KING: Men are awful?

GRIFFIN: They’re tough. Oh, if only I could just be a lesbian, oh it would solve everything.

KING: You’d rather be a lesbian?

GRIFFIN: Yes, although I don’t know. I don’t want to find a lesbian that breaks my heart either.

the highway

In the July/August 2012 issue of More magazine, there is a heartfelt article by Jacquelyn Mitchard about being dumped by a friend over what could have been considered a minor argument.  The gist is here:

Mitchard’s essay led me to an earlier article in More about losing friendships over the years:

From the article:

Since our culture has never sent us the message that the role of friend is as important as that of mother, wife, daughter or sister, “every time we become overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women,” says Ruthellen Josselson, a Baltimore psychotherapist and coauthor of Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls’ and Women’s Friendships.

It hasn’t always been this way. “Recently I found my mother’s autograph book from junior high school and realized she still has most of those friends,” Levine says. “Her generation was typically less mobile. Women were unlikely to work, particularly in high-powered careers, and more likely to keep their childhood friends.” Active lives, however, only partly explain this weeding-out process.

With the passing years, most of us develop a savory blend of confidence, self-awareness and attitude. This distillation has various upsides; for example, most women I know could easily cohost The View, zinging their opinions out there with a clarity and frequency that are often quite entertaining. However, that same my-way-or-the-highway spirit also puts many friendships under review. “I’ve had some real challenges, like being diagnosed with breast cancer and losing a daughter and a husband,” says Ellie Fuerste Weis, a textbook sales representative in Dubuque, Iowa. “I only want positive people in my life. No more Debbie Downers and Wendy Whiners.”


This post on the blog “Living My Life”

led me to another post on finding one’s purpose when one is childfree

One of the five keys that is mentioned, “release the need to be socially validated,” has been particularly difficult for me.  I would imagine it would be a stumbling block for a lot of women, as we are primed, as a gender, to seek validation from others.

The blogger expands her point:

Another vital step in finding and claiming your life purpose is letting go of the desire for validation and approval from others. It takes a lot of courage to make life decisions that are not validated by our society. When many of my friends began getting married and having babies, I observed that everywhere they went people were smiling and congratulating them. Their life choices were an occasion for celebration and gifts, while my own life choices to remain unmarried and childfree were cause for thinly veiled disapproval, pity and confusion.

No matter how independent and self aware you are, its comforting to think that those around you agree with and approve of your life choices. It can be disheartening to realize that from now on you will have to either let go of this luxury completely or find inventive ways of giving validation and approval to yourself.

I’ve always agreed with the sentiment that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.  These days,  I don’t hear much in the way of disapproval over my life choices; once I passed forty, I stopped hearing much of anything at all.  I live more in a vacuum of indifference than the state of active disapproval I sometimes felt in my thirties.

In turn, I’ve become indifferent to social approval.  That’s a muscle everyone should develop eventually; I feel like I’ve had a decade’s head start.


Mr. Osmond could be speaking of my former, smaller city of residence–in many ways a sweetly provincial place– in Portrait of a Lady, Chapter 24:

Mr. Osmond talked of Florence, of Italy, of the
pleasure of living in that country and of the abatements to the
pleasure. There were both satisfactions and drawbacks; the
drawbacks were numerous; strangers were too apt to see such a
world as all romantic. It met the case soothingly for the human,
for the social failure–by which he meant the people who couldn’t
”realise,” as they said, on their sensibility: they could keep it
about them there, in their poverty, without ridicule, as you
might keep an heirloom or an inconvenient entailed place that
brought you in nothing. Thus there were advantages in living in
the country which contained the greatest sum of beauty. Certain
impressions you could get only there. Others, favourable to life,
you never got, and you got some that were very bad. But from time
to time you got one of a quality that made up for everything.
Italy, all the same, had spoiled a great many people; he was even
fatuous enough to believe at times that he himself might have
been a better man if he had spent less of his life there. It made
one idle and dilettantish and second-rate; it had no discipline
for the character, didn’t cultivate in you, otherwise expressed,
the successful social and other “cheek” that flourished in Paris
and London.  “We’re sweetly provincial,” said Mr. Osmond, “and I’m
perfectly aware that I myself am as rusty as a key that has no
lock to fit it. It polishes me up a little to talk with you–not
that I venture to pretend I can turn that very complicated lock I
suspect your intellect of being! But you’ll be going away before
I’ve seen you three times, and I shall perhaps never see you
after that. That’s what it is to live in a country that people
come to. When they’re disagreeable here it’s bad enough; when
they’re agreeable it’s still worse. As soon as you like them
they’re off again! I’ve been deceived too often; I’ve ceased to
form attachments, to permit myself to feel attractions.