Sunday, August 18, 2013

Why are you single?

The Scarlet S.  If you are single, you must be miserable. Why don't you fix that?  Choose to be happy, merry, married? Is it a choice?

People say some thoughtless things. My brother once told me that the reason I was still single was because my standards were too high. People do thoughtless things. Like the co worker that wanted to set me up with her son's friend because she thought I was "accepting" enough to like him despite his prison record. Clearly, these two had conflicting opinions of me. So I could choose to believe one, or choose to believe that other, or choose to believe neither...
Or I could choose to take it in, think about it, weigh it, wonder why someone's opinion would be as it it, accept the accurate, reject the inaccurate, and strive to display a more honest representation of myself.

So the other night I was at dinner with a group of men. Friends. Acquaintances. Seriously attractive, successful, single, Mormon men. Leaders in their communities and congregations. Every time I am with this group of men, I find myself wondering how I get to be the one girl hanging out with them.  We are not in the same league - physically or socially.  I'm telling you, they are pretty. And confident. And successful. And so very everything that I was told in Young Women's I was supposed to want. What are they doing having dinner with mousy awkward me?

That's a question I have never been able to answer.

But on to dinner. The conversation turned to mail order brides. The smart phones got turned on and suddenly, there were the websites.  That's right, among the wonders of the internet are actual websites where you can order a wife. Cataloged according to age, weight, height, location, cost. With pictures!  And profiles! All for your browsing enjoyment. They started passing around pictures, mocking. Making guesses as to what is wrong with each one. This one is probably high maintenance.  This one is ugly.  This one says she wants a family. How ridiculous.

I've never felt like such a piece of livestock. Try to be cool.  To speak up means to be high maintenance or a bitch. Speak up and you are a "feminazi".  Stay silent and you agree with them. Stay silent and you let it happen. Stay silent, and you perpetuate the problem.

Well, how am I supposed to act?

These guys would never actually use the website for purchases. They would never actually participate in human trafficking. They would only sit in a restaurant and mock the women who place themselves up for sale.  What kind of a life must these women have to choose to sell themselves?  What do these men know of their pain?

And these men sat mocking them.

Objectifying is as old as humanity itself. Women are guilty of it. Men have made an industry of it. Women tease with it. Men live in it. Women wish they could be so callous. Men march on buying and selling and mocking. Do you have any money? You can buy anything with money.

Too harsh? Oh that you could have been at that table with me. Perhaps I could have had a friend.  A fellow woman to stand with me, a chivalrous male to defend?  An ally?  I was alone at that table, so you will just have to take my word as to what it felt like. I was the three legged disease ridden cow at the county fair. They could talk like this around me, because I was the most certain loser. I was the hideous joke that best just be understanding because even the women selling themselves were worth more than me.

Do you know what I wanted to do?  I wanted to indulge them.  I wanted to invite them to start rating the women, and then to create a pricing guide. She is a 10?  How much would you pay for a 10?  How much for a 4?  How much for a 2?  Oh good, now that we have this established, let's rate a few more women. Where does your sister fit on this scale?  How much for her?  How much for your mother?  How much for me? Is this still funny? Is this still a joke? Have I taken it too far yet? When do you think you took it too far?

And the world keeps asking them "Why are you single?" And the world keeps asking me "Why are you single?"

Here's the deal.  I'm not going to name names or give identifying information here. That's a level of cruel and shaming that I am unwilling to engage in. But I swear if one of my friends ever goes out with one of them, or shows an interest in one, or so much as begins to flirt with them I will giver her every gory detail.  I will warn her. I will point her to this blog entry and I will plead with her to stay away. My friends are better than this. They are worth more than this.

I was right about one thing. We are not in the same league. I was wrong about one thing. They are not worth more than me.  My brother was right about one thing, my standards are high. But he was wrong as well. I think perhaps that my standards have not been high enough. I may be a chubby, unattractive, poor, and socially awkward 36 year old woman, but I am so far out of their league. As long as we are going to quantify people, and value them on some scale or another, they may as well know: I am so much more.

I was done playing the dating game a long time ago. It was always a miserable awful experience and I was frankly eager for the day when I was deemed "too old" for that scene. But until last night, I hadn't thought to be grateful for my singleness. You see, I can be happier on my own than I could ever be bound to one of them.  I will travel the world, I will serve the people around me, I will be a mother to every child that comes into my office, I will have a closet full of shoes just because I can, I will be responsible for my own salvation without having to drag someone kicking and screaming behind me. I will sing in the choir, I will cherish every friendship, I will eat cheescake, and I will resist every urge to ever question my worth again.

So, in case you want to know my answer.  Why am I single? What I am is happy with what I am. Why should anyone deserve more or less?

9 comments:

Jeannine said...

I remember wondering how a girl I knew was on her third husband and I hadn't been able to find one yet. What did she have that I didn't?
Well, she had 3 husbands and I wouldn't want any of those particular men.
I too am happy with where I am.

Michael Young said...

Wish I had been there to give those men a piece of my mind. It is hard to see people not honoring their priesthood. All I know is that their looks will fade, their status will fade, and all that will be left is the character they have built for themselves.

That being said, I think you are a talented, interesting, and beautiful person whom I am happy to call my friend. The Tabernacle Choir is a better place because you are in it.

Ems said...

YES.

I never believed the people who preached that it was better to be single than with the wrong person. How could it possibly be better? How could I possibly find happiness without a husband? Then I was actually with the wrong person and very nearly married him. Now I know it's better to be single and happy.

And it's definitely better to be single with good character than a douchebag like the ones you had the misfortune to dine with.

Nancy said...

I've thought that about many a friend. And I've come to the same conclusion. You are amazing, and I count you among the most remarkable women that I know.

Nancy said...

Thank you so much, Michael. I am grateful for our association and your friendship as well. Going to choir on Sunday morning was an incredible balm after this Saturday night experience. It is such a blessing to have that resource, spiritually, musically, and socially.

Nancy said...

I'm so glad you didn't marry him. I'm so glad you are finding happiness. You deserve it. The last thing we need is someone telling us we aren't actually happy.

Katie said...

As always, your blog is my favorite. I really needed this tonight, so thank you. Z

Katie said...

Also I don't know how I added an extra z... But whatever.

Nancy said...

Um, because z is the coolest letter? I alwayz uze az many az I can. :) thanks, Katiez!