The other day I was talking to my dad (actually, I went to visit him and so speaking with him in person…) and he said that after I left he’d call all of my aunt’s and tell them that I was doing well. The normal stuff.
I don’t know why, but suddenly I felt defensive.
That was a lie. I know why. Because it’s my birthday this week, so I’m feeling a little over-sensitive. Plus a conversation with any of my aunts can make me feel all twisted and lost. It’s not anything any of them would say. Just the tone of their voices and the looks in their eyes. To each of them, I’m a failure. And they love me. So they feel bad for me and the mess they think I’ve made of my life. And pity is hard to mask.
Anyway, after my dad said he was going to call them all to tell them I was fine I kinda snapped and said, “you can go ahead and remind them all that yes, I’m turning 40 this week and yes I’m still single. No prospects in sight. Still single, never married, no kids – nothing to show for my life.” Yes, that’s what I said. Like I said, defensive.
The rest of the conversation got into family stuff that I don’t feel comfortable sharing here, but he insisted that at least one of my aunts thinks I’m great. It was nice to hear, even if it wasn’t entirely true.
So this story was on my mind (the fact that I’d said that I was “still single”) when I read Maureen Dowd’s Op-Ed piece in the NYTimes just a couple of days later. It’s, essentially, a post about Elena Kagan. But early on it includes this lovely bit,
Single carries a connotation of eligibility and possibility, while unmarried has that dreaded over-the-hill, out-of-luck, you-are-finished, no-chance implication. An aroma of mothballs and perpetual aunt.
Right now, I guess, I’m still single. While there are men still interested in dating me. But at some point in the future I could very well turn into an unmarried woman. Undesirable. Incapable of ever being anything other than unmarried.
So there’s that. I’m still single. Until I’m not.
Tags: 40, Birthday, nytimes, single