never married, over forty, a little bitter

creative living

Thus far I have a few tentative plans for my future move, one of which is to share a place with an old friend who is gay. It’s not completely ideal, but if we move into an inexpensive property together we will both be able to save a lot of money.

As far as jobs, I want to explore new directions. I feel like my wishlist is probably unrealistic, but I would like to:

1) get away from waiting on the general public
2) not be sitting in a cubicle or at a desk all day (half day is fine)
3) work 4-6 hours a day rather than 8
4) work for a company that makes a product rather than pushes money around or performs social services (I’ve done my time absorbing the world’s burdens)
5) have some room for growth
6) have access to some kind of health insurance

I am willing to start at the bottom and at the unskilled and sad $10-$15 an hour range while I re-tune, so perhaps that makes my wishlist not quite as unachievable as it seems.

Other than that, I picture myself learning to grow vegetables in a community garden. Getting my hands dirty. Learning more about cooking. Staying healthy.

Social life? No picture there.


In an epilogue to “The Feminine Mystique” written a decade after the book was published, Betty Friedan wrote, “It isn’t really possible to make a new pattern of life all by yourself.”


As much as has changed since “The Feminine Mystique” was published, we still don’t get to check off anything on that long, long list of “restructuring.” We have put the basics in place for our generation; now, we’re working to fulfill their promise for our children. During the Room for Debate discussion, Shelby Knox, a young activist, said, “the biggest challenge to my generation of women is this idea that we are equal. That everything has been won. We think that every time we meet a barrier, it’s our fault. It must be something we’ve done because the promise is there.”

Gail Collins asked, what still enrages you as a woman now? I’m asking, what enrages you as a parent?

I’m enraged every time a parent, man or woman, pretends that he or she doesn’t have a nanny, or a babysitter, or a grandparent, or spouse, helping to prevent the needs of a family from becoming a barrier to work or career. I’m enraged every time we talk about “women who choose to work outside the home” as though every woman had a “choice,” and no man ever wanted to “choose.” I’m furious every time someone calls those things “women’s issues” when what they are are family issues — and family issues affect everyone.

What’s your cry of rage?

the search

I have searched in vain for that room full of fierce, feminist ex-infertiles talking about the wonderful things they had accomplished with all the money, creativity and energy they would have expended on a child. Sadly I discovered there is no roadmap for creating a full life without children. It’s a make-it-up-as-you-go situation.

miles to go

Interesting column here:

But I’d like to take it a bit further.

Women began to pursue careers in large numbers a few decades ago due to feminism, yes, but my guess is that this would have happened anyway. With longer life spans and the rising cost of children and globalization, it’s difficult to imagine that half of the population could have remained out of the workforce for their entire lifetimes. And if that half of the population knew there was a high likelihood they would have to go to work, it’s natural that a certain percentage of them would prepare themselves for a decent career so that the act of working would hold some appeal.

I never had a huge desire to report to a job (I’d prefer to be a freelance writer), but I knew I needed a means to support myself. My options for marriage in my twenties were not stellar. Many of the men, boys really, I knew at that time were not looking for a commitment. The ones I dated who were looking for commitment held significant differences in values and lifestyles, or there were other issues present, like lack of sexual attraction, substance abuse, etc. I knew very few older men when I was in my early twenties; for the most part I socialized with peers my own age.

In a world without feminism, I suppose I would have just made one of those marriages work. I might have gritted my teeth through sex or had money problems. I might have hidden my true personality and ended up alienated or resentful, or gone through the pain of living with an alcoholic spouse. I might well have ended up divorced.

Perhaps the real problem is that feminism hasn’t gone far enough. In the U.S., it hasn’t gotten us to a place where we can comfortably raise children outside the scenario of a wealthy husband and a stay-at-home wife.

It hasn’t gone far enough in that there aren’t enough commitment-oriented men who see the value in an educated, competent woman who can support the financial health of a household. Who appreciate women as individuals with character and strength. Who understand that, with the longer lifespans we live today, the thirties are far from old. I know of many couplings that prove those men exist. There just aren’t enough of them.

Finally, it hasn’t gone far enough in that, past a certain age, unmarried and childless women still exist in a “placeless” space, on the margins.


The pleasure we derive from sex is also bound up with our recognizing, and giving a distinctive seal of approval to, those ingredients of a good life whose presence we have detected in another person. The more closely we analyze what we consider ‘sexy,’ the more clearly we will understand that eroticism is the feeling of excitement we experience at finding another human being who shares our values and our sense of the meaning of existence.


Our culture encourages us to acknowledge very little of who we normally are in the act of sex. It seems as if it might be a purely physical process, without any psychological importance. But … what happens in love-making is closely bound up with some of our most central ambitions. The act of sex plays out through the rubbing together of organs, but our excitement is no boorish physiological reaction; rather, it is an ecstasy we feel at encountering someone who may be able to put to rest certain of our greatest fears, and with whom we may hope to build a shared life based upon common values.

real life

This one was my favorite:,75251/

Tonight’s episode of Girls gets at that push-and-pull between the ties of a sleepy, Midwestern, small-town life and the more exciting life in the big city, a more exciting life that very well might be doomed to failure and disappointment. The city is a fun place, full of fun experiences and people that are different from anyone else you might meet. The city tends to attract people who have giant-sized dreams, and that’s fun to hang around for a while, particularly in your 20s or 30s. But there’s something to be said for the sleepy quiet of a little town, too, and the scenes where Hannah slots uneasily back into her old life are among my favorites of the series. She’s clearly ill at ease, but there’s also a part of her that feels as if it still belongs here in East Lansing (presumably)…

The episode ends with Hannah talking to Adam—who’s finally started to actively give a shit—while standing on the front lawn of her childhood home. It’s dark out, and she has a flight to catch in the morning, but for the first time, there’s a real sense that flight will bear her back to her real life, not the old one she could so easily be re-ensnared by. Sleeping in your childhood bedroom and having your parents take care of you is always a nice fantasy when you’re in your 20s, but at some point, that fantasy has to end, and you have to get back to the process of playing at being a grown-up. Not everything will fit, and maybe someday you go back to the life you once led. But you have to try. You have to give it that shot.


GUEST POST (I give her credit for remaining optimistic after four marriages!):

Thank you for allowing me to do a guest post on your blog! I am very excited to have this opportunity!

I have recently published a book titled “Never Marry a Momma’s Boy and 62 other men to avoid like the plague!” This book deals with types of men and the problems they automatically bring to a relationship.

Now don’t get me wrong-I really like men-I have been married 4 times (yes, four-I am the eternal optimist!). Men can be interesting creatures-they see the world differently than women, have different interests, and can be fun to be around (not to mention the sex thing!).

But “Being around” a man and marrying him are two different things! Marriage changes everything-you are stuck with the whole person, not just the fun parts!

Men and women are very different (in case you haven’t noticed!) Men tend to be shallower and more rooted in the moment. Women tend to be more introspective, caring, and nurturing. We plan more for the future, and just generally have a much deeper nature in all ways. It makes me laugh that most of the famous philosophers were men-the women were probably at home caring for the family and guiding him in his deep, deep thoughts (that he got credit for!) Anyway, back to our topic…

Some men are genuinely wonderful people (in some ways). Sometimes you would swear this same man had the brains of a nit- and just about as much compassion and understanding!

With all this said, many categories of men come with predictable problems, not just because of the man. Certain problems are just inherent with different habits, families, personalities, or occupations.

This book has been the result of years of observations made as a Public Health Nurse, also working in the ER, Labor and Delivery and teaching Psychology. As the years passed, I noticed, as many of you probably have also, that many men tend to fall into categories, with each category having its own set of problems.

This book was triggered by an event at work-the Momma’s Boy of a co-worker was engaged. Looking at the invitation sent to our office(with a lovely picture of the couple) was a horrifying experience-I saw myself years earlier, and knew exactly what kind of hell that poor girl was going to marry into! That started a cascade of thoughts about types of men to avoid.

At around the same time I emailed an author about a book of hers that I loved, mentioning that I liked to write. She said “Only you can write your book”.

Well, this book took over my life-I would dream of types of men-and wake up to write them down. In the bathtub, types would pop into my mind, and I would scribble them down as soon as I stepped out. I wanted to be done, but kept thinking of different types.

I felt that if I could save ONE woman from a bad marriage, then I would be happy!

So here I am, sharing this on your blog-I hope it helps someone, or at least makes you laugh! If you read this book, please email me your thoughts at would love to hear from you!


Twenty years on… still true? Most of my girlfriends, my age and older, have found partners, so perhaps I’m just an outlier. I hate the idea of fearmongering, and yet I could be Janet:

Mary Balfour, director of Drawing Down the Moon, one of Britain’s most reputable introduction agencies, deals daily with this discrepancy between the sexes. At any time she has 15-20 per cent more women than men on her books. She has difficulty making introductions for women over 43, though she will accept men up to their late 50s.

‘I can’t find partners for older women and no agency can,’ she says. ‘It’s a tragedy. There are fewer men in their forties and they tend to go for younger women. The older they are, the bigger the age gap they are looking for.’

It seems such a cliche: men looking for casual relationships, for youth and beauty; women seeking maturity and companionship. Can it really be true? But as I was talking to single men and women in their thirties and forties, again and again I heard from the men the sense of optimism and excitement at the prospect of a rich new social life, of the opportunity to have children after their careers have been established or start a second family in their forties. Talking to women, the conversations were soon circling around pain, fear of loneliness, panic as the child-bearing years slip by, outrage at being treated as a down-valued commodity on the marriage market, and a sense of betrayal at a sexual revolution which seemed to guarantee orgasms but not the partners with which to have them.

Single women will ask you, with bewilderment, why all the men they meet are married or gay. Yet men seem to find little difficulty in meeting women. ‘I’m aware that women say it’s hard to meet men,’ says Simon Bell, 41, a book designer who lives in west London. ‘Since my marriage ended two years ago, I’ve been out with a number of women and I haven’t found it difficult meeting them. I haven’t really tried.’

‘I have no trouble acquiring new girlfriends’ says Charles Foster-Taylor, a 32-year-old surveyor. ‘I have more trouble getting rid of them.’ David, 35, a graphic designer who works from home and therefore met few new people, joined Drawing Down the Moon when he separated from his wife six months ago after a 10-year marriage. He has been inundated with offers: ‘It sounds arrogant and cruel but there have been a number of meetings with women where I’ve known that the person would very much like to meet again, they’ve said so, and I’ve said yes, ok, knowing I wouldn’t phone them.’

But for women, especially those who work in predominantly female sectors, there are fewer opportunities. Janet Owen, 39, a teacher, has been single since her marriage ended in 1980 (though she has since had two long live-in relationships and other shorter ones). Two years ago she moved from Liverpool to London in a positive attempt to break out of the limits of her social network. Her ideal partner could be about 10 years older: ‘I don’t meet many men and it’s still quite hard to proposition them. I manage to have a good time socially by going out to films and exhibitions on my own, but the lack of sex is the big issue.’