Sisters and Singledom

19 Jul 2006

The word single has replaced the stigma-laden word spinster which used to be an offensive term for a woman, especially one who is no longer young or is of advanced years, who has never married. These days the word single has taken on a broader meaning and encompasses all women who are unattached, whether they have never been married, widows or are divorced. Bachelorette has replaced the stigma-filled word spinster. And there are more of them these days. If one takes a head count of the number of single people at one’s workplace or place of worship, chances are that there are more women than men.

But do these women see themselves as old maids or any of the stereotypes of the last century? Are they staying home and moping over their lack of a man in their life? Most certainly not! No longer are they stereotypically dating-wearied, lonely, depressed, frustrated, and terrified of the future. These women are taking charge.

They are having babies on their own, buying real estate on their own, driving sport utility vehicles which they purchased on their own, dating without making commitments, taking vacations alone and supporting themselves financially on their own. Given the many cultural and generational shifts which have included the feminist movement and increase of feminine independence, the rising divorce rates, sexless marriages, women outliving men, single parenthood, not to mention how many men are on the down low, in jails, in priesthood and serving in wars, it is not a surprise that there are more single women on the scene.

Is Singledom a Crisis?

Many sisters are in search of soul mates and finding themselves still single, way past the so-called ‘age limit’, which had been falsely established by society. That is past their early thirties. For those who are truly seeking to have a family, it does not help when family keeps hinting that their biological clocks are ticking away. These single women have nothing against marriage. It just hasn''t happened for them, for whatever reasons, however, they are neither sitting at home feeling despondent nor revelling in their solitude. As they get involved in the dating scenery, they continue with their lives even, if the relationships do not work out. They are still very much a part of society.

For those who are content being single, well, many of them have never felt like they really needed to be with someone. Unlike what we’ve been conditioned to think as a society, there are a number of heterosexual women who have no innate desire to be married, or those who aren''t against marriage but aren''t actively seeking it or those who are under the assumption that they want to marry because it is what is expected of them yet they are unconsciously more ambivalent.

With the proliferation of single women, there has also been a rise in products and television shows that cater to them. Think Ally McBeal, Bridget Jones, Girlfriends and Sex and the City. But it’s ironic that in a country where men can ‘purchase’ brides from Russia, from Philippines, and Thailand from mail order, many women are single.

Is it True That There are No Good Men Left?

Despite the contentment of being single once in a while, many sisters do want some form of companionship. However it’s becoming a common complaint that all the good men are taken and that all that is left is the players, loosers and scrubs. Is it true or do some women expect (near) perfection from the men they encounter? Is it that some women would not know a good man if he was in their face? Could it be that the expectations are too high?

Sarah (name has been changed) was tired of hearing her younger sister Joan (name has been changed) complain that she wanted a man. So she linked her sister up with one of her best friends from her university days abroad, Kenneth (name has been changed). He had always had his eye on Joan but had never approached her because first of all, he had never met her and she had been too young then. Kenneth had only seen a photograph of her and had made a promise to Sarah that he would marry Joan when she was of age. He was now ready to do so. Sarah had thought it was a joke, but Kenneth pressured her until she gave in. So Sarah, who was not normally a matchmaker, linked them up. She thought her sister was lucky because her friend was well set-up. He was not perfect but he was tall, dark, handsome, had a home, car, good job, was spiritual and was very romantic. It would be a long distance relationship at first but, he had enough money to make sure that they would eventually meet.

Sarah was shocked to hear her sister complain that Kenneth, who had been one of the most sought-after bachelors at her university abroad, was not handsome enough, and was too dark for Joan when she finally received his photo via email. When he offered to send a ticket for her to meet him, she was more worried about what the people in her church would think. Kenneth pursued Joan long distance for a year, incurring long distance charges, sending her money when she needed it, emailing her and offering his support. He even offered to visit her, but was turned down. But after that year, he gave up. Luckily for him, it did not take long before, he was snapped up by another woman who saw his good qualities.

Joan was filled with regret and found herself interested in him at that point. But Kenneth had moved on. So Sarah linked her up with another friend. Again her sister had a list of complaints about him, much to the annoyance of her sister. Two other men were involved until Sarah, who was frustrated, gave up on her sister and told her to stop expecting perfection in the men, when she could not offer it herself. Sarah is married and Joan is still looking, although she has now recognized that she was too picky and regrets Kenneth slipping out of her fingers. But for every Kenneth, there are even more rogues or players.

Is There Such a Thing as Being Too Picky?

So many men and women have been damaged in terrible relationships that they''ve become exceedingly guarded and increasingly (also understandably) more picky. Unfortunately many have worsened the situation by entering new relations, before healing themselves. Joe, a writer who was interviewed, said that many women he came across were materialistic and too picky. If a guy did not have the right car, the right home, white collar job and money in his bank account, these women wanted nothing to do with him.

Bradley’s response to what Joe said, was that there were gold diggers everywhere but one could not generalize and say all women were like that. Bradley, who is an Account Representative, pointed out that there were very men like that too. He also added that he was having a hard time getting women because players had jaded many of the women who he had dated unsuccessfully, to the point where the women found it hard to believe that he was genuine.

On the other end, Daniel, a Customer Service Representative, pointed out that it was not just women who were picky. He said many of his male friends were picky as well, and that was the reason why they were still single. When pressed to elaborate on a demonstration of their pickiness, he pointed out that they complained for example that a woman called them too many times and would not leave them alone. He said they basically focused on the woman’s negative attributes, rather than focus on her good points.

Jenny, a Technical Service Representative, said that women were pickier than men and admitted that she was very picky too. She pointed out that she was not materialistic at all, but that chemistry, a man showing her that he was interested, stability, responsibility and a sense of humour were important for her. Patricia, a Sales Executive, pointed out that she was married, but she hated it when men said that women were materialistic. She pointed out that men were supposed to provide for their families, and yet there are many men who are not prepared to do this, but they complained when they are rejected.

For some women, singledom is a choice, whereas for many it is not. The stakes are even higher, since there is more competition nowadays. One thing is for sure; there are no perfect men out there. When one is in a relationship or looking for one, one has to be ready to compromise and overlook some of their partner’s shortcomings. This is not to say that one should take things like physical, mental, and verbal abuse or being cheated on, but one should not sweat the small stuff.

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