Maybe it’s the universe planning its own grand scheme of things! You know they say, ‘you attract what you believe in and what you really deserve’! And that, ‘when you desire something desperately, the sun, moon, stars, and galaxy conspire to give you what you want! It’s that kind of bizarre stage I am going through. Of late, the moment I open my Facebook account, the only relationship articles that pop up on my timeline (helpfully shared by friends, friends of friends and sponsored posts of course!) are those that indicate how great singledom is. For instance, this article that says how single women are far happier than what society believes them to be. Then there was this Guardian piece that listed how women without a husband or children are seriously happy, live longer and are more positive than their committed-for-life counterparts. These are just two of the examples.
The married vs single is age old but truth be told, I always knew these facts even without researchers having had to invest time, money and resources but well, when basic maxims of life are backed by science, they enjoy a wee bit more credibility than when WLUs – Women Like Us who live these truths – blurt them out. Ah well! Is single life better than married life? No doubts, yes! There’s no second thought about it.
So coming back to where I started, I feel I am seeing more of such posts, articles and quotable quotes for a reason – to give it back to some of those Smug Marrieds (SMs) as Bridget Jones called them – who STILL can’t wrap their heads around our lives and our motivations! So the next time, a smug married questions my singledom or passes a snarky remark about my lifestyle, I have science and a witty one-liner as a comeback.
In all fairness though, in the last few years, I honestly feel the charm of marriage has worn off even among the SMs. As any single woman might tell you, there are not many people advising her to tie the knot ASAP or register on a wedding portal immediately lest time flies away.
Perhaps it’s because the reality of life has curdled the milk of romance. With extra-curricular affairs, tinder and easy-peasy relationships available with a swipe on your mobile, well-intentioned advice on prancing around the holy fire has actually come down to a trickle.
But that does not mean that married (happily or unhappily) people GET us! In their good mood, they may say, ‘Oh you aren’t married? Good, stay that way!’ but when it comes to the crunch, they still carry the same old misconceptions and perceptions about the single life. So here I have compiled a few questions and statements that I often get asked that prove that howsoever they try, marrieds cannot ‘get’ us singles. They try but they don’t.
This question has become so common and so tedious that I just smile and nod whenever I get asked. I don’t blame them. It’s rare for someone above 30 or 35 to be footloose and fancy-free. But the tone and the meaning behind this query is what is amusing.
The young and mint-fresh marrieds blurt it out with a tone of sympathy. As if they actually want to say ‘oh bechari…she is still single’.
Those belonging to a similar age-group have a tinge of envy (ha! Any guesses why?). But the genuinely befuddled are the older people who just can’t fathom why anyone in their right minds would not have a partner. STILL single? – is their query with emphasis on ‘still’. Neither of them understand the basic answer to this million-dollar question – still single because that’s how our lives turned out to be’. It is what it is.
You can stay late at work, can’t you?
This is the workplace demon we have to fight. And this gets asked way too often! Because, since we are not married to a man, we have to be married to our jobs, right? Because, since we don’t have a bawling child or nagging ma-in-law or a busy husband to return to, we need to stay back and do someone else’s work too, right?
Because, commitments are only important to SMs, right? Wrong! Sorry to say but my commitment to my cooking or reading or meeting friends or watching Netflix is equally important.
I can’t stay late at work also because I need to return home and clean up the kitchen and make the bed – since I have no Ramu kaka or Malti bai to take care of things while I am away.
You will never understand the pressures of being married
Err…sorry sweetie, but you don’t understand the pressures of being single either. Life is not about Facebook posts, though posting on FB and Insta is a lot of fun. Sure, you expect me to understand your home stress, pressures of disciplining children, the inevitable fights with your spouse, having to sacrifice your needs and desires for the greater, common good of the family yada yada. I promise I will. But in return please also understand MY stress – paying bills alone, having to fix a leaking tap alone, having to nurse myself to health when ill, needing to take charge of finances, health, travel, and career, to name just a few.
What do you know about family life?
Of course, I don’t understand anything about family. I dropped out of heaven, sans any family, you see! So pardon me if I don’t understand anything about school stress, in-law visits, traveling with 10 people, so on and so forth.
My family is my friends. And parents and siblings. And anyone in the whole wide world who I am free enough to connect and have chemistry with. The definition of ‘family’ has changed, in case you didn’t know.
Why are you so choosy?
Hmm… because I have the choice! Because I refuse to compromise. Because I feel there is something (and someone) better. Because I believe in organic connections and not forced relationships. Simple.
Why do you travel/watch movies/go shopping alone?
Because I like to and it’s wonderful. Try it once.
The married vs single debate will always continue but please don’t us, “How can you be still single? because we are not asking you, “How can you be still married?” If there is happily married there is happily single too. Just understand that.