The last thing I intended to do was restart my blog with a rant over another blog. But when I saw the title of a Vogue.com article shared on Twitter a few weeks ago, my biscuits became quite burned.
“How Did I Become the Last Single Person In My Group?”
A.k.a., “Mid-30s and Single: Did I Wait too Long to Settle Down?”
As a woman in her mid-30s, I get bothered by these kind of articles. Not because I feel an unyielding pull to get married and have kids by the next full moon. Rather, they seem to reflect a stigma that still appears very prominently in modern society–that women lose their attractiveness and sex appeal once they reach a certain age.
Before I even started reading the article, the first comment describing it called it “cringe-worthy.” “Really?” I thought curiously, clicking on the link. “What could POSSIBLY be cringe-worthy about an article?”
You ask a silly question.
The blogger in question–a blond, pretty woman encroaching on the dreaded age range of her mid 30s–laments about how she managed to reach said age without being able to find a single Mr. Right to wed and bed–or is it the other way around?
She has the sudden epiphany that drinking and going to orgies (not kidding) just aren’t holding the same magic that they used to. It is now time for her to do the settling down thing! Every man met must now be scrutinized for his wardrobe, his choice in mattresses, his papa potential.
But perhaps she has waited too long. Perhaps all of the good men in the world have already been snatched away by the fresh, young 20-somethings, leaving only the bare minimum for 30+-year-old women (whom she terms “leftovers”). Nevertheless, she will embark on a tireless search (I guess through dating apps, since she is also feeling “too lazy to go out”) for her perfect mate before she is too late. Meanwhile, all of her friends have already linked up and shacked up, spending more time with other couples than with her. Now what is she supposed to do with the rest of her free time?
I’ll be honest.
I am not the most sophisticated, swanky, social media savvy individual. In fact, just call me an individual. My retirement goal in my golden years is to have a hobbit hole and shepherd a yak farm in New Zealand. So maybe this article just went over my head, and the cringe factor that everyone else got, I did not.
Is the article cringe-worthy because the author was trying to be funny-cute by calling unmarried women in their mid-30s “leftovers”?
Is it cringe-worthy because the whole thing is satire so brilliant, I just missed the memo?
Or is it cringe-worthy because it possibly makes other mid-30s women embarrassed to be mid-30s women?
Over 30 = Obsolete (Apparently)
Let’s say the cringe falls under the third option.
My own embarrassment does not find any fault with the blogger’s sudden desire to get married and have kids. Though the reality of the “biological clock” is still reputed among the experts, I’m sure almost every woman has at least once glanced at a man having a moment with his child and felt…tuggings.
I know I have.
And it was…interesting.
But I digress.
My embarrassment lies, instead, with this blogger’s decision to turn her article into a victimization of the fact that she has been “abandoned”:
- Abandoned by friends who had the nerve to get married and leave her cold and shivering on the couch of their summer holiday beach house.
- Abandoned by men who had no romantic interest in her and only wanted to check her teeth for decay (it happens).
- Abandoned by her non-existent boyfriend when she bought a new portable air conditioner and forgot (*shrugs*) that she had to drag it up four flights of stairs to her apartment.
At the end of the article, she resolves to “keep eating steak alone and RSVP’ing to orgies”. After all, that’s what you do when you’re waiting to meet Mr. Right after you’ve entered “leftover territory”.
To the single women over a certain age who want to get married and have children, this article paints a horrifying
though unfortunately statistical (EDIT: yeah, there were no actual statistics in that bad boy. 🙂 ) picture:
What About the “Other” Single Women?
I was an absolute mess in my 20s. The literal small-town girl in a big city with everything she owned in the back of her 2005 Grand Am. I found the world a scary mass of contradictions, and the attention of men was a new and often frightening experience. I spent most of my time trying to traverse among the players, the narcissists, the insecure. By the time I determined where the borders lie in Good and Evil, I was often too late.
But there was a worse “too late” that was happening to me, even worse than missing out on meeting men.
- I’d had dreams of being a professional wrestler since I was in high school. Had I pushed myself, believed in myself more, I could have been a veteran in that arena (no pun intended) as far as 10 years ago.
- What about singing? I come from a singing family. When was I going to stop mucking around to do that whole “singing in a jazz club” thing I’d wanted to try for years?
- And what about my childhood goal of making a living as a novelist?
- And aerial silks? And Brazilian jiu jitsu? And my lead-in as the new voice of Bugs Bunny???
I spent most of my adulthood afraid of living, let alone loving someone. Only in the last couple of years have I finally started addressing my fears and enjoying myself. To my shock, I’ve had more fun and felt more comfortable in my life now than I ever did in my 20s.
Meeting the “right” Mr. Right
“But B,” I hear someone asking smugly, “wouldn’t you love to meet Mr. Right?”
You bet your top AND bottom dollar, I would. But therein lies a bigger question.
Who, exactly, IS Mr. Right? And more so, who is my Mr. Right?
Is my Mr. Right your Mr. Right?
Is “Kelly’s” Mr. Right the same as “Chantal’s” Mr. Right?
Kelly’s desired Mr. Right might be 6’5” with a square jaw who hates broccoli but loves zucchini, who has dated a lot but never met a girl who could grind her skateboard more than six feet on the rail. He is between 25 and 35, and he is ITCHING to marry someone at least five years older than him and have at least 3 kids starting next year.
Chantal’s desired Mr. Right might be a silver fox who just has to be taller than her 4’11” frame. He’s divorced with two fairly well-adjusted kids in middle school, and he is at an age where he doesn’t have to work as long or as hard as he used to. He studies Shinto and really wants to give taekkyeon a go. And he is a hopeless romantic who doesn’t see age, race, profession, or language as a barrier.
These scenarios paint different pictures. But they are both available options–and opportunities–to marry and have kids, for the RIGHT women.
That being said, we as women don’t have to stop LIVING. We can enjoy ourselves while we “wait” for fate/God/the universe/the Force to pair us up–in our 30s, our 40s, our 50s, and beyond.
And even if you don’t get paired up–that’s okay.
Wouldn’t you rather look back on how much fun you had, how many wonderful people you met, how much of an impact your work/art had, than how you simply scoured the world for a guy who wore the exact color of blue boxers that you like?
Now Exiting Leftover Territory
At the end of her article, the blogger mentions two goals in her 20s: to be a bestselling author and make a movie. I don’t see why she still can’t fulfill at least one of those dreams. There are too many success stories of artists who didn’t break out and reach fame until their 40s or 50s. I don’t know about her, but between her steaks and orgies, she’s got plenty of time to perfect that book or manuscript. Maybe she already has.
But I will say this. If this 30-something blogger wants to call herself a leftover, that’s fine. But I certainly do not see myself as a leftover, and I don’t see the need to include anyone else in that bracket, either. I don’t see myself or my ripe “old” age as a disadvantage, but rather as a blessing. I’ve learned so much about who I am in the last 10 years, things I needed to go through that before I could even consider having close friendships, let alone relationships.
Could I have made wiser decisions in my dating life during my 20s and had more successful relationships with a higher potential of marriage?
But I did the absolute best I could in the situations presented to me. And I’ll bet this blogger did the same thing. Heck, we all did.
And for those who did manage to marry in their 20s? Much congratulations and blessings to them. However, they are not “better” or “luckier” than those who are single. They are simply following a different path.
I say for myself, for the blogger, and for all single women worried that they have missed out on love, marriage, children, and any and all intimate companionship.
You are not a leftover. You will find the love you are seeking.
So power to you.
In fact, power to me, too. 🙂
What the hey–power to all of us.
I’d love to hear other opinions on this point. Feel free to comment and share below.
Here’s the link to the original article.