never married, over forty, a little bitter

Month: July, 2013


My comment on this post was thus: I’ve seen it too, but when those babies grow up to be annoying teenagers, the mother gets another dog and lavishes attention on the pet again.


A friend of mine moved to Baltimore as a single woman several years ago. She grew up there, but the only thing she has to say about it is that she never meets single men in her working life. Otherwise, she doesn’t bring the city up, and I suppose I don’t ask because my only impressions of Baltimore are from television and largely negative and since it is her hometown, I don’t want to insult her.

Maybe those are just excuses, but in any case, I’m not entirely innocent of what I am about to accuse others of (not) doing.

And by that I mean, it occurred to me recently that nobody here ever asks me about what my life was like in Los Angeles. I rarely bring it up and only in passing if I do, but still. I remember years ago meeting a woman who had lived in L.A. and I had to restrain myself from bombarding her with questions. Same with New York– I always wanted to know what day-to-day life was really like there.

The lack of curiosity is, shall we say, curious.

second bananas

I related to what Anna David says at the 25 minute mark about how, no matter how much she wanted celebrity friends and boyfriends, she lacked the ability to continually put her needs second:

Perhaps that is why I have a hard time with the structure of marriage in general.

touching base

I’ve been moved in for two months; here is the social review.

The roommate situation is turning out to be a bit of a disaster, of course, and may not last long.

People, in general, are very friendly, but I’ve still been blown off a bit. Online dating has been a big fat zero. A California friend connected me to a same-aged single and childless writer and recent transplant, but she didn’t return my email. Another California friend told me he’d introduce me to his writer friend; I took the initiative when he didn’t, but the guy never emailed me back. The same California friend told me he’d connect me to another friend, a single and childless man, but that hasn’t happened either. A college friend, also single and childless, never returned my phone call or email. That behavior is really out of character for her and especially strange since I saw her at my college reunion and she seemed happy to see me.

There have been other unsatisfying encounters. One of my friends informed me that he was moving to L.A. after I was halfway across the country to here. My old fling, after pursuing me, completely disappeared after I informed him I wasn’t interested in taking up where we left off. He also offered no help as far as my dream career, although he is perfectly positioned to do so. Another friend has been in a great deal of touch, which I appreciate, but she is snowed under with her own problems, and her advice to me is always frustratingly unrealistic.

On the plus side, a former co-worker has shown a great deal of support, and he has invited me out socially. A former female co-worker who I always liked and whose child is grown has also been available for social outings and has been another shoulder to lean on. A married friend of mine has also helped me out a lot. Another woman I’m a bit wary of, but who is childless and single, has asked me out to events, and I’ve been meeting a few new women I could hang out with socially. A few casual acquaintances have been putting me on invites to events, and I’ve met up with people for coffee and tennis.

I haven’t found anything I’m all that excited by yet, and I do miss L.A. on that score. I guess I would say I haven’t found anything here that I dream about in the way I still do about people and events in L.A. The problem with having dreams in places like N.Y.C. and L.A., however, is that trying to survive there on a daily basis tends to grind those dreams to a pulp.

Furthermore, I’m only in regular touch (as in, every other week or so) with two people in L.A. There’s two or three others who, if I called, would call me back and chat, but for the most part, I’ve already been ghosted.


Another difficult decision.

There’s a possibility I might get a job offer in my career field for a position that is, at heart, entry-level and pays half of what I was formerly making. It’s a job, but it’s at such a tiny place that there’s no possibility of promotion, and unless I want to cause bad blood, I’d probably have to stay for a couple of years.

On one hand, I’d have the security of a job, on the other, I’d be settling for very little pay, it’s not a career change, and it offers no promotional possibilities. The hours are under forty, but a commute is involved. Weekends are also involved. I’m trying to figure out the exact hours; it could make a difference if they are closer to thirty. The time also might count towards my pension.

I’m very tempted to roll the dice and turn it down. I could continue with my resume-enhancing classes, my investigations into other types of jobs (admittedly, none of that is looking promising right now), and trying to get back into my former organization where there would be lots of promotional opportunities. There’s always the possibility I may have to move in a year if things don’t work out, but perhaps I’m willing to take that chance.

My single friend with three babies was strongly advising me to take it, but she has three babies. I should have a little more freedom to be choosy, no?

My roommate also seems to be invested in me taking it. I honestly don’t know if he’s looking out for me or if he wants to keep me from getting back into the organization where he just got a promotion. If it’s the latter, it’s incredibly shitty of him, as he got in there in the first place with my help. He has insinuated I’ve been blackballed, but I no longer trust him, and he used to be one of my closest friends. Or, maybe he really is trying to help.

I don’t think he would take the job, though.

conventional wisdom

This weekend I listened to this podcast with Dr. Drew:

At the end of the podcast, he says that all people need “work, love, and play,” and if one of those areas is missing in someone’s life, it’s because they have some sort of problem. Thanks!

The guest, Heather McDonald, told him that a high percentage of people are remaining single and living alone today and just enjoying their pets.

He seemed shocked by this news– shocked. His only comment was, “That’s sad.”

For someone who doles out therapy, he seems pretty clueless. He’s been married since the eighties, but I would imagine he’d be more in tune with societal shifts. Wrong.

the triumph of tradition

I agree with some of the commenters that this article problematic and bothersome. Basically, the author played the field in her twenties and still ended up “winning” by getting married and (probably) becoming a mother. I suppose it’s a good rebuke to all the men out there who would assert that she had “ruined her chances,” but it still promotes the idea that getting married and having kids is the ultimate sign of success. Is that the most relevant perspective to be writing from? It seems the bigger story today is all the people for whom that is not happening:

firm strands

As young girls, it seems we are programmed to be excited about our wedding day. Then we go to college and watch our girlfriends get engaged and married in apocalyptic proportions. Soon they start having kids like the survival of the population depends on their specific uterus. Then down the road some of the marriages devastatingly fall apart and you become a shoulder to cry on because you are still unmarried and know what it’s like to be alone.

All of these are very meaningful happenings in the lives of those we love and care about, but we are rarely prepared for the emotions that flood our hearts when we realize their lives are moving forward and ours seem to be standing still.

The thing which took me a very long time to realize is that being alone does not translate to standing still. Pursuing a successful career, traveling, and fixing up my home while being unmarried does not mean my life is stagnant, but rather, means I am chasing dreams that do not include a man yet.

In her book A Gift From The Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh reminds us, “Actually, these are among the most important times in one’s life – when one is alone. The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray. But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves: that firm strand which will be the indispensable center of a whole web of human relationships.”

all about eve

I heard some hearsay that I’m not going to put much stock in but that raises the possibility that a confidante may have betrayed me and that I will be blackballed, albeit for a very minor reason, from ever getting back into my former organization. If true, my safety net has just disappeared, and I’ll only be able to give the private sector a few months before looking for jobs elsewhere.

I may just be on a temporary dip, but I do know that if a job search drags on it will certainly take its toll on any warm, fuzzy feelings I have about this place.

Another thing is weighing on me. After turning down jobs in L.A., moving across country, paying to get a tenant out, repainting and refurbishing the condo, traipsing all over town for weeks to buy furniture, and in general raiding my bank account, I know my roommate would like nothing more, now that his own promotion is secure, for me to move out so that he can have the place to himself. I just don’t think I can live with him anymore, knowing that. A very levelheaded friend has recommended I wait a few days for my emotions to settle before deciding what to do and, if necessary, asking him to move out. She’s right, but the writing is on the wall.

It’s an ugly time. I’m thankful I have three or four friends here who are checking in on me and offering support, but other than that my enthusiasm for being here is, temporarily at least, lost.


Women who don’t meet the mothering ideal – women whose most important and demanding job is their paying one, women who don’t have husbands, women who can’t sacrifice everything because there is no “everything” to sacrifice – are invisible in the cultural discourse and vilified in the political one. And so, our social policies are set to serve the mythical perfect mother, leaving real, flawed, complicated families to fend for themselves and cobble together individual solutions to broad cultural and political problems.