sleeping beauties

by rantywoman

Women today don’t need men to support them financially.  Women can also travel alone, pursue just about any hobby alone, and purchase property on their own.  Really, there’s nothing women can’t do on their own these days, even though it can be an uphill battle financially.

What’s come as a rude surprise to me as an older single woman, though, is the fact that women still need men for social validation.  At some point– I’d peg it around 35– a woman starts to become invisible if she is alone.  A bit of an embarrassment.  Uninvited to dinner parties.  Thought of as a problem if thought of at all.

My recently divorced friend feels it.  All of a sudden, she is no longer invited out with the friends she used to socialize with as a couple.

As an ever single, it’s almost as if I no longer register it.  I just don’t hear from my coupled friends.  Period.

In the current economic climate, I doubt if most men feel “privileged,” so they may be unaware that they still hold this power.  The power to grant a woman social viability.  The power to bring Sleeping Beauty into the world of the living with a kiss.  Unaware of the power they hold, men can be unintentionally insensitive, insisting to the women they date that they don’t want a commitment, while at the same time judging older, single women as having something wrong with them.  It’s as if they can’t see that when men refuse to commit, some women, by default, will end up single.

For both women and men, it’s unfortunate that women’s social viability still rests on their shoulders.  Many men obviously don’t like, want, or feel up to the responsibility, and it’s unfair to women to have to place their fate in something that isn’t under their control.

For those of us who are still single in our forties and beyond, we have to carve out a life on the margins.  With no roadmap, as I’ve mentioned before.  Facing a blank space, alone.

I think this social dynamic, by necessity, will change.  There will just be too many older single women.  In the meantime, it is up to us to forge the path.  I think we have no other choice but to see it as an opportunity.

I’m happy to see “Life Without Baby” taking on this topic today:

http://lifewithoutbaby.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/it-got-me-thinking-about-all-the-single-ladies/#comments

So, if you’re a gal who happens to be childfree and single, join the conversation. Comment on posts and share your unique perspectives. Check out the “childless couples—childless singles” discussion initiated by Elena K. Start your own discussion or create a group on our Home page. If you’d like to submit a guest post on this subject, visit this link for more information.

Please share your hurts, your reflections, your questions, your experiences. I wish I could have told my younger self, “You matter. You have something to contribute. You are appreciated and loved just as you are.” If you need to hear that, your LWB sisters are here to remind you that it’s true.