I’m caught in a dimension of singlehood between two worlds. One is the world of my parents and the small town - rural area where I grew up. The world where people get married by age 23. If you manage to make it to your 30s unhitched, wild speculation ensues. The other, is the world of my professional life. The world of the big city where no-one expects to be married before 30, and you almost look silly wishing for a relationship.
It is in that second world, when someone recognizes that I’m frustrated at my single status and offers the idea that I have plenty of time. “Oh, you’re still young.”
What is that supposed to mean? Does it mean that as long as I’m not all prune-y, I still have a chance? That as long as I’m not all dried up inside... or filled with cobwebs that I might as well not yearn for love in my life?
Is it supposed to be a consolation? I’m still young – and young is a fine time to be lonely? “Yes dear, your body is still in good shape, butt and breasts are still firm, not many wrinkles… might as well wait until all that’s long gone before you ever have sex again.”
As it stands, men my age don’t even seem to see me. And creeky old men feel obligated to hit on me.
Exhibit A: the church social. Married couples ten years my senior, are eager to lend their match making services. And I’m happy to be their target. Or is it victim?
One couple in particular tells me that they didn’t meet until they were forty, (and they are very happy) so there is plenty of time for me. Great. The Wife starts scrolling through her mental Rolodex. Who does she know who is single, and perhaps a good match for me?
The Husband, on the other hand, thinks of the first single guy in the room and then indicates the guy over there, wearing jeans.
I try to casually glance around the room. All the men are wearing jeans. I notice two reasonably attractive men in my age range. About 10 O’clock? No, Husband next to me tells me I’m off. He directs me to 12 O’clock, where there stands an ‘old’ guy with his paunchy tummy cinched carefully above his belt.
In all these years of being single, I seem to have developed a special talent for encouraging men that I am not interested in. To nip this case in the bud, I turn to the Husband in this scenario and say, “He appears to be a bit older than I picture myself with.”
“Really? Why, how old are you?”
Well, considering that I have been mistaken to be at least four years younger than my age my entire life, I’m even more offended that this Husband is trying to pair me off with Mr. Crusty over there. To emphasize that point I tell him, “I’m 35.”, in a way that implies, “See? Obviously too young for that guy.” I expect Husband to be surprised, and effort some sort of recovery. But he still can’t see his error.
I had to mull that over for a few days and I think I’ve cracked his way of thinking. You see, he’s thinking that the man in question would be attracted to me. I'm fairly young, reasonably attractive and still fit. He’s not thinking about me at all – outside of agreement with the ‘dirty old man factor’.
Of course, in contrast, all his wife can offer is …“Oh, you’re still young.”