Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nobody's Perfect - What Marrieds Should Never Say to Singles

Being single over age 30-35 is difficult.
Single after that is ... trust me, you don't even want to know!

One of the reasons I started this blog was to give a voice to single adults. I mean, look around out there... everything in society is designed for couples and families.  So much so that even buying groceries can be depressing. Even bananas come in bunches - bound to go bad faster than a single person can eat them. (I usually tear two or three off the bunch - and even then, I often lose one!) 

If the blogosphere is a fair representation of society - and it pretty much is - America is filled with married people with families who don't give a second thought to the single people struggling in the world all alone.
Unless of course it is to pontificate upon why some seemingly 'normal', attractive woman is left single. It's not like they even bother to invite us to dinner and mug on their kids -- even in that regard, Bridget Jones' single life is idealistic compared to reality!

Bridget Jones Dines with Smug Marrieds - Video

Unlike the smug marrieds in Bridget Jones' Diary... they probably don't even talk about... they just draw conclusions about us that couldn't be further from reality.  That we're out there 'playing the field', too focused on our careers (hah!) and my personally most detested assumption... that we're "too picky".

Too picky is the silliest reasoning there is. To prove my theory... go ahead and suggest to a married couple that perhaps they weren't picky in choosing their mate.  Watch the sparks fly! They will be offended that you would suggest that their mate isn't the most perfect match on the planet.  More realistic folks will concede that no one is perfect, and that they put a lot of effort into their marriage, but that what they have is indeed wonderful.

Yet, when I point out that if they didn't settle for a schmuck, yet they're suggesting that I just throw a dart at a phone book - they still don't see how ridiculous their defense is.

Today I received a comment on my FB page from someone who is a friend of my family, saying something along the lines that maybe I'm still single because, "... you're looking for somebody perfect..."

That to me, is the MOST INSULTING thing you can suggest to a woman over 40 who is still actively looking for the love of her life!
Suggesting that I'm holding out for perfect says at once that I must be horribly immature, and the most shallow person on the planet.
Do you think that I don't know that no one is perfect but God? To you think that after 40 years, I'm ridiculous enough to think that there is some perfect man out there for me?

I was so mad and insulted all I could was delete her comment! Anything I would have said would have appeared "overly sensitive" to the majority of people, or too dismissive of the injury of her rudeness to me.

Want to know what burns me the most?  While I've known her and her family all my life, I used to babysit her kids when I was a teenager, but looking back I can't say I've ever even had a conversation with her. We've never had a nice long chat about who I'm dating or how any of my relationships ended.

Remember... I live in a city 10 hours away from my home town, so in the past 25 years I've maybe run into her at the grocery store, or outside of church when I'm home visiting my parents. The deepest conversation we've ever had was about whether her youngest wore a diaper to bed or not.  (and clearly, from the abundance of mommy blogs out there, that's a very serious discussion - because it proves she's a FANTASTIC mother because she was able to FREAKING potty train her kid!  Whoo!  Never mind that a child would eventually stop soiling her pants eventually, with or without a parent's help!!) 

So based on what this woman knows about me, which is essentially that I graduated from college at one point and that I live outside of the state... she feels qualified to diagnose that I am seeking a perfect man.

How alarmingly insulting!

Dear Smug Marrieds,  
If you have never met anyone I've dated. If we've never talked about relationships. If we haven't had a ten minute conversation more than once every ten years... YOU HAVE NOT EARNED THE RIGHT TO COMMENT ON MY SELECTION PROCESS. DO NOT PRESUME TO TELL ME THAT I'M JUST TOO PICKY, AND NEED TO STOP LOOKING FOR A PERFECT MAN. 
If you got married at age 22, and have probably only dated three men in your life and one was your prom date... you CANNOT PRETEND TO KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO DATE FOR THE MAJORITY OF YOUR LIFE. 
I know you think you are an expert at obtaining a husband because the guy you've been married to for 20 years is the one who nailed you in the back seat of his car when you were 19 years old. (how romantic!)  You don't know what it is like to turn down dozens and dozens of men who expect you have sex with them on the third date.  But it's pretty damn obvious to you that I'm too picky. 


Among the things I should have responded... "No dear. The reason is that... under my clothes my body is full of scales. Men just can't look passed it."

Edited to add things I thought about saying:

"Wow,  you must thing I'm really immature."

"If you had walked even a year in my shoes you would know better than to say something like that."

"Maybe if I had given in to boys in high school, I could have avoided this whole dating thing... like you."

and the one I think would have been most effective:

"Gee.  I never knew you thought I was delusional."

Because really... that's what someone would have to think.  I can see saying something like that to a woman who is 23-26 who has a crazy sense of entitlement (even then it would still be incredibly rude.) But a woman who is 40 knows better. 

What would you liked to have said?  I really like Erin Annie's suggestion via Bridget Jones!


Tay said...

You have EVERY right to be picky and I'm so glad that you are looking for the man you WANT to be married to. If my husband had expected sex after date 3, or at all before marriage, I would not have married him.

Go you. You be your amazing self. I really admire your fortitude and that you have values that you live by and stick to because you know what brings true happiness and what does not. I love reading your blog.

Sometimes I think that I'd love to hear about you telling someone where they can stick their insensitive and incompetent remarks, but then I like you all the more because you are respectful and kind.

erinannie said...

I think your perfect response comes in another Bridget Jones moment!

Genevra said...

Hmm, I'm sorry to hear that you've experienced this the last few days. What I'm about to say, I say with great love and from the perspective of another single woman who has experienced some similar things to you. It is just my perspective and I'm not trying to say that you are wrong AT ALL in how you felt about the situation, because I don't think you were.

All I can say is I've learned that people almost always operate from their own perspective, and their comments about your life and how you're living it, often have very little to do with you or your actual situation.

Case in point, my father says and does the most offensive stuff to me about my single status ALL the time. If he is not telling other people I'm probably gay because I haven't married yet, he is sending me DVDs like "Last Chance Harvey" and telling me and my family members that my theme song is "Desperado".

The fact of the matter is to MY father that is how he views my life based on his own issues and perspectives, he has absolutely no idea of who I am as a person and what is really going in my life, we simply don't have that type of relationship, because he is not capable of seeing others as they are. It used to really bother me that my father would do and say all those hurtful and rude things, to me and in front of others.

Until I realized that to my father he didn't see as rude or hurtful, he saw it as helpful. Is he crazy to see it that way? Absolutely. To me he is. I used to get mad at him and call him out on his rude words and actions. But all it did was get me even more upset and angry at how unjust he was treating me. In the end I had to ask myself why did I even care what the opinion of another person's was?

Even if he my father's perspective, it didn't mean it had to be mine, and for me, getting upset at his rude words and actions, was giving them power to affect me negatively. I was saying that his thoughts on the subject were more valuable and had more "truth" than mine. And frankly, I choose not to see myself and my singleness as he does, a plague and a pity.

In the end, you have to ask yourself whose opinion has more influence on your life and state of mind, a strangers or yours? We know you TRS, we know that you are trying. We know you are a good person with amazing things to offer a romantic partner, and that you are deserving of a partner who has the same to offer to you. More to the point YOU know that and that is the most important part. Please don't give that woman's thoughtless words anymore power over you than they have already exercised. They aren't that valuable.

TRS said...

Thanks Genevra... you were able to say more eloquently what I was trying to articulate through my rage. She is coming from her perspective which I find shallow and inexperienced. She's the type that dated someone when she was 19 and it worked out.
I guess that's what bugs me is I can see her perspective but she can't see mine!!! That is what enrages me..... and that is why I write this blog... to put a perspective out there.... and educate some people as to how their convenient married for 20 years at 40 nutshell doesn't fit everyone.
The same as women who struggle with misscarriages had to educate the easily fertile that their ignorant comments are insensitive and hurtful.

I don't want to give her words power beyond letting another struggling single woman know that she's not the only one hearing this insensitive shit... and for others to realize they don't know what they're talking about when it comes to lives they havent experienced.