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Posts Tagged ‘single’

Oh no, not another one. Not another smart, ambitious, career-oriented, fifty-something single woman nominated for the Supreme Court. What is the President thinking? It’s not just that she knew what she wanted to be early on and focused on achieving her goals. It’s not just that she’s excessively bright; nor is it about her baseball playing prowess. This nominee has never been married. She can’t know what it’s like to be a working mother. She doesn’t understand how she might balance the demands of growing children, equally striving (or supremely threatened) working (or jobless) husband, and stressful, high-powered job. She has some questions about the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. In other words she’s (wink, cough, chuckle, cue the innuendos) “completely out of touch with the average American,”  or so says former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum , who knows a thing or two about being out of touch.

(By the way, the above picture of Kagan in the early nineties ran on the front page of the May 11th, 2010 issue of the Wall Street Journal and has provoked intense debate about what the Journal was “hinting.” )

Are we really having this discussion? Even behind closed doors or the backs of our hands, online or on Fox News?

KaganJoan Vennochi, writing in the Boston Globe on Sunday, asked: “why does a single career woman with short hair always have to answer the is-she-gay question?” A better question is: why should anyone, male or female, who is unmarried, have to address questions as to whether he/she is gay, straight, uninterested, unable to find the time to forge a long-term commitment, unable to find an equal partner, uncomfortable with the idea of matrimony, or perfectly content with things as they are? Of course, when it comes to matters of the heart, or perhaps something much lower, Americans display both easy offense and prurient interest in equal measure. (image downloaded from lawyersusa.com)

Single American women, however, are particularly distrusted, it seems, especially if they’re a bit older. From divorced cougars to “black” widows, popular culture maintains the stereotype of a woman on the prowl for a suitable mate. The fabulous forty, strong women, coming-into-our-own narrative is a lie; what we all really want is a nice guy to settle down with.

That’s a whopping generalization to make about what  Page Gardner, founder of Women’s Voices. Women’s Vote, has identified as one of the fastest growing demographics in this country–single women. Absolutely, there are many women who’ve hoped that circumstances would present themselves and stars would align so that they might discover (or rediscover) their soul mate. But those women are still leading their lives. Some are shattering glass ceilings or bounding over barriers; others are celingstepping over small obstacles or pushing past resistance every day. Along the way, some may have of necessity put the thought of a romantic pairing out of their minds; rather than being out of touch with average Americans, though, they are average Americans.

The successful, smart and lucky women, like Elena Kagan and yes, Condoleeza Rice are those who have discovered joy and satisfaction in their work and in being the trailblazers and why not? Love and marriage work for some and if it happens, it happens. In the meantime, there are places to go, people to meet, friends to cherish and trails to blaze.

(above image downloaded from nurses.com)

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Although other holidays may seem to be specifically targeted (Mothers’ Day, Chinese New Year, Kwanza), Valentine’s Day comes across as the most exclusive. The day really is all about romance, which is why a V- Day shutout carries with it a particular sting,  especially if you’re a single female (or Charlie Brown). No cards, no flowers, no candy or jewelry? Oh, the pain, the embarrassment, the loneliness!

That a holiday named for a martyred 5th century saint managed to couple  with an ancient Roman practice of allowing young men to choose young women by lottery as sexual partners is more than a touch ironic. That it has become a means by which those who are neither wooer or woo-y might feel slighted is nothing short of cruel.

There are ways of dealing with V-Day. You could ignore it, of course, but where’s the fun in that? No, you have to get it to pay attention to you, accept you. Imagine how empowering that might feel, sort of like the Salahis felt after last November’s State dinner.

Herewith, a few simple dos and don’ts:

DO buy a card. Or make one, if you don’t wish to contribute to the relentless marketing machine. Put it on your mantle. Believe me, you are someone’s valentine, even if said individual (or pet) is too inattentive or lazy to remember you (or lacks opposable thumbs).

DO treat yourself to something: haircut, flowers, night out. Skip the chocolate; you’ll only hate yourself in the morning.

DON’T  go through old pictures, especially if they are of your old boyfriend or ex-husband. What are you, a masochist?

DON’T hang out with anyone who freights V-Day with too much importance. It’s just a marketing holiday.

DO something for your heart. Take an aerobics class, eat an egg-white omelette, walk the dog.

DO celebrate the idea of romantic love. Maybe it’s impossible, maybe we’re all delusional, but doesn’t that cute couple over there make you smile? Okay, not them; they’re too young and good-looking and overly demonstrative in public; but what about those two old people over there walking slowly hand in hand? Aww…

And go ahead and have a piece or two of candy. They say chocolate is good for the heart, eh?

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