Monday, November 28, 2011

Sheng nu . . .

Another birthday approaches, and the older I get the more I seem inclined to take stock of my life this time of year. I want to post on something specific: being over thirty and unmarried.

98% of the time, I'm really glad I'm single. Every time I hear a coworker gripe about a fight they had with their husband, cleaning up after his lazy ass, being unappreciated . . . well, I say a little "thank you" to the universe that I am not stuck in that situation. If I want to go see a movie on a Friday night, I go. If I want to leave the dishes in the sink, I do it. If I want to rewear my pajamas three times before washing them, I don't worry. If I want to write all weekend and be completely antisocial, I leave my makeup on the shelf and hunker down in my cave.

The thing that really starts to grate on me though, and on most unmarried women my age, is the rest of society. It's the "smug marrieds" who are always asking about your love life, or when you're getting married, implying that time is running out. The ones who, every time you announce you just went on a date, get super excited and start picking out your china patterns, like you'd better jump on the next guy or you're in trouble. It's ads on tv and magazines and television shows that constantly, consistently hammer home that if a woman doesn't get married before 30, she's on the shelf, and her chances decrease with each year. In China, these women are called "sheng nu", the "leftovers". It's enough to boil my blood.

Do I sometimes wish I was in a relationship? Sure. I don't know too many singletons who are always 100% happy being completely single. It's in human nature to want to pair up and band together for companionship. But, I don't understand the rush. I want to settle down when I find the right person, boy or girl, who I can see myself spending the rest of my life with. I don't want to jump on my next date just because everyone seems to think I'm getting old.

The pressure on single women over 30 to marry and start having kids can be pretty intense, but I hope I never let that translate into making a bad decision about my own life. I'd rather be single and happy, making my own choices, than attached and miserable. Maybe that's one of the reasons the divorce rate is so high these days.

That's one bandwagon I'm staying off of, whether I'm turning 32 or 92.

1 comment:

anastasia said...

stick to your guns! my singles retirement plan is to be living on an oceanliner with a lavender bob, a tiara, an amazing wardrobe, and a young companion (male or female) for company. you can't have that if you're married with kids and a hubby eating away at your finances. dream big and keep your dreams louder than society's evil naysaying (it's harder to hear them, and even harder to remember, if you're not paying attention in the first place!).