never married, over forty, a little bitter


At the time she published The Feminine Mystique, Friedan argued that the public image of women was largely one of domesticity — “washing machines, cake mixes … detergents,” all sold through commercials and magazine. Today, American women have more public images of themselves than that of a housewife. We see ourselves depicted in television, ads, movies, and magazines (not to mention relief!) as politicians, business owners, intellectuals, soldiers, and more. But that’s what makes the public images of total motherhood so insidious. We see these diverse images of ourselves and believe that the oppressive standard Friedan wrote about is dead, when in fact it has simply shifted. Because no matter how many different kinds of public images women see of themselves, they’re still limited. They’re still largely white, straight upper-middle-class depictions, and they all still identify women as mothers or non-mothers.



In my thirties, I had friends who refused to jump on the online dating bandwagon and who, although they had been through several relationships in their twenties, seemed to settle into a long-term single state around that time.

I, on the other hand, did a lot of dating from online (and through real-life encounters when I could), so I didn’t envision myself as a long-termer.  I had several short-term relationships as well during that decade, but none of them ever landed on the holidays.

Now here I am, facing my twelfth holiday season alone, and accepting that I have become one of the long-termers, and possibly a lifer.  I’ve used this year to adjust to this reality and am still sitting uneasily with it.  Related post:

party down

I threw my party this weekend.  The good news is that it was a small but solid group of guests.  The conversation flowed and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the food was great.  I know one of the guests was extremely grateful to be invited (she is in the midst of a divorce) and she made at least one friend connection.  I had an enjoyable evening and would deem it a success.

The not-so-good news is that my plan to “mix it up” this time didn’t exactly pan out.  I left off a few of the regulars from the guest list in order to invite some new people with the idea that next time I would invite back some of the regulars with a fresh group of faces.  With this new list, my underlying questions ranged from “Could we be friends?” to “Are we still friends?” to “Can we transition from a dating relationship into friends?”.  Given that none of those people showed, it appears that the answers are “no.”  I suppose the party enabled me to establish where things stand at least.

Of the one-third of the guest list that did attend, they are all people I see fairly regularly.  I had the sense that another four or five people were needed to make things feel like a “party”;  instead it was a more intimate affair.  I had hoped throwing it would give me a sense of expansiveness– the feeling that I could reinvigorate my life here and start mingling with new groups of people– but instead I was left once again feeling that my world here is shrinking.