This weekend my boyfriend and I officially announced our engagement! We’d been planning it for months while I was having a custom ring built (sweet man, I tell ya) and it was finally finished. The moment of truth had arrived. It was time to announce it to the world and validate our existence through FACEBOOK.
Immediately people began liking and congratulating us on our new life event and picture of my ring. But then… the other comments started rolling in and I started getting that prickly feeling you get when something isn’t quite right.
A little back story: My boyfriend and I have known each other for EIGHT YEARS and admittedly were on-again and off-again during the first part of those years. I’d been used to the pokes from family about when/if I’d get married (“Oh, I see you have a cat, are you planning on getting more?”). Up until a year ago my boyfriend didn’t even WANT to get married and I was okay with it, really, I just wanted to be with him, regardless.
I’d watched the past few years as the rest of my friends got engaged and got married, and I honestly did feel a little left out. I started on a logic crusade on the topic of marriage with him. I started with money, “we can save so much money if we file jointly, combine expenses, etc. etc”. I think it finally worked with him 😀
So now, I sit here, the ripe old age of 29, and just turned 29 mind you. Not old, but definitely not young. Younger than the Sex and City girls who seemed to have a lot of fun as single, in-their-30’s, women.
And the comments: “Whoa… congrats!” aka “Wow, I never thought this would happen to you”
“OMG Congrats!!!” aka “OMG I’m glad I won’t be taking care of you when you’re old and wrinkly”
“wooooo!” aka, well “wooo”
“congrats, bout time”. ’nuff said.
There was a recent article I read about “leftover” women in China. According to the article, the government ordered the All-China Women’s Federation to define unmarried women older than the age of 27 as “left over”, ultimately “undesirable”. Now this didn’t sit to nicely with the career women in China, but I have a feeling if you ask a lot of women in the United States, you’d get a similar response. A conversation with my just-turned-30 sister and she revealed that felt “over the hill” after her age climbed higher after 25.
(Warning: Spoiler Alert if you’re not good at keeping up with your Downton) Watching “Downton Abbey” in Season 3 after Edith is jilted at the alter, she begrudgingly gets up for breakfast, because that’s what spinsters do. She has to be in her early 20’s at the latest and yet in 1920’s England, she considers herself a spinster.
So at what age DO you become a spinster? According to Wikipedia, a spinster (old maid) is “an older, childless woman who has never been married. A “spinster” is not simply a “single” woman, but a woman who has not formed a human pair bond by the time she is approaching or has reached menopause and the end of her reproductive lifespan.” If you have a boyfriend, you’re not a spinster. Literally. Culturally the definition of spinster probably varies.
I think women are probably harder on themselves about being alone than perhaps the society that judges them. There are many reasons for a woman not to take a husband, and that’s okay. You don’t need no man! I sometimes find it amazing that society still cares.
Regardless, I’m eager to leave the “potential-spinster” club, not because I’m afraid of being alone, but merely because I truly love my boyfriend and it’s the logical next step for us.
(Thanks roflcat.com for the Crazy Cat Lady Starter Kit image)