Singles’ wish

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What do you think about this? Isn’t this enough? 🙂 😛

i do

What kind of single?

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The ancient definition of single is someone who has never married at all. I fit that definition. However in the modern context, there are many definitions of both singleness and couplehood.

I will start with my particular state and then talk of others. I do have someone I have been seeing for sometime now. Yes he is there but there is no ring on my finger, we don’t live together and both of us haven’t met the other’s family. So what we have is sufficient to update a Facebook status to in a relationship, but that’s about it. We are pretty serious about each other but the future has not been outlined in the conventional terms and hence I consider myself single in the unmarried sense of the word.

You may then ask, why am I advocating this singles movement, if I do have someone however much in the background. I don’t know about you, but in my heart I feel if you live together like a family as a couple, then marriage is just a milestone and so even if you are unmarried you are living the life of wedded bliss. This I probably am saying from the envy that comes from never having even come close to anything like this 🙂 Yes, one reason of starting this blog is to get rid of some of those moments of negativity I face about not being wedded or even close to being wedded. Living in is not an option in my country and even if it were I am not sure I would risk my heart because living in without marriage may trigger anxiety in me. I admire those who are able to though. It shows a level of self confidence and trust in the other person.

Back to the topic though, single could also mean you were married once and aren’t anymore or you had a long term relationship where you raised a family but that relationship has ended now. You could be a mother, you could be a former live-in partner but in the present moment, it is just you. You could be a widow. Sometimes you are considered a spinster or single because you have passed the conventional marriage age in your culture.

The struggle in being single I feel is mainly with respect to a greater need to be loving and forgiving of yourself. You have to love yourself even when most people try to bring you down because of the absence of a ring on your finger. You have to look at the disappointment in your parents’ face when they contemplate your future and still soothe yourself. No one else is there to do any of this for you. Happiest day, saddest day, whatever kind of day, you may return to an empty home.

All of the above may make you think that its awful being single. It actually isn’t that bad. But I feel it would be a lot easier if people around you didn’t make your singleness, whether by choice or circumstance, a failure or character flaw of yours. Which is why the greater need for a single to just be strong and loving towards themselves. Its easier said than done on some days.

It is this need to celebrate myself no matter what, that made me start this blog. And as I browse through WordPress, I realise there are many smart, witty, successful women out there, single for their own reasons and connecting to others like me through this platform. The human concept of shame is such that you can inflict it on someone if you convince that person that he/she is alone. But with so many smart people writing on singleness, who can convince us that there is any shame to it?

So what kind of single are you, come on spill, now that there is no shame to it 🙂

Parlour talk

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Have you ever noticed how most of the talk in beauty parlours and salons revolves around relationship statuses? Of course, the primary talk is about the latest facial treatment and the latest hair colour product, but once you have chosen what you want to get done and then relax on the chair while the beautician works; the talk inevitably shifts to marriages, engagements and the like.

This phenomenon is more common in the beauty salons that are very local and run by the neighbourhood auntie. Put off by the prohibitory costs of professional salons, most of us go there. While no salon auntie has come right out and asked me about my relationship status, I see that talk going on all around me with the multiple women beautifying themselves there.

The talk usually starts with someone coming in there for a special treatment as they are soon going to be a guest or a bridesmaid in some wedding. The talk then veers to some dress or style of make up seen at a previous wedding and from there on starts the discussion about whose wedding is coming up, who will get engaged and who seemingly has no hope.

While salons and parlours are the place women bond at and most female bonding occurs over relationship discussions, somehow I find myself disconcerted if parlour chatter is only about impending marriages. It leaves me with a mild dread that sooner or later someone will ask me about my marital status and it will go all downhill from there.

Then I also wonder if I would be more comfortable with my single status if there were no automatic judgements and opinions attached to it. Will it be easier if no one ever asked or even if they asked, they never made my single status into a character flaw? Will it be better if they still considered me ‘normal’?

But then again, is it necessary to be single and a particular way? Like the discussion about singleness is divided into two categories. One category is the single who is happy being single. The other is the single who is bitter about being single. And who decides which is a better kind of single? Some singles struggle with the singleness for a while and then eventually accept it and just stay happy about it. Some are happy from the word go. Yet others have some days of bitterness and more days of just an emptiness. But if you show any amount of unhappiness at being single, you are advised to become happy or start trusting in God’s will and somehow accept it quickly, just so that the other person doesn’t have to feel uncomfortable. Why is it not okay to be single but not like it or accept it wholly. Maybe some of us don’t have a zen attitude.

Funnily the same kind of judgement doesn’t happen when it comes to some other losses or lacks in life. Say someone doesn’t have children or lost a child and they remain bitter about it for years, people are more ‘adjusting’ about it. They try to ‘understand’ and generally refrain from commenting on the bitterness or lack of acceptance of that person. That is a life event, just as marriage is. So why is the same empathy not given to a single person? Why the look of sympathy or one of disdain when it comes to a single person? Why the automatic assumption that they didn’t try hard enough or that it is their fault that they are single? When we can have a fatalistic attitude about other life events and empathise with the grief that comes with its non-fruition, why not the same for marriage and a lack of it?

But there is a question I have wondered about. Is it easier for single men out there than single women and by single men I mean those who have crossed 35-40 and are still single, is it easy for you guys or is it as difficult as a woman of the same age that is single? Do you get judged or is it just us women?

Most annoying questions/advice/observations

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When you are single beyond the socially accepted normal age you are forced to hear some unsavoury things about yourself from people who may not even really know you. Sample some of these :

1. Maybe you aren’t trying hard enough/meeting the right ones.

2. The one you are with hasn’t asked you yet? Maybe they are only interested in a casual relationship.

3. It will happen when it is supposed to (though said to help, this advice just makes you intensely aware of the not yet happened part)

4. Why, she is smart, funny, beautiful. Can’t imagine why she is single still. Is she too picky?

5. To parents : you should force her to marry. You shouldn’t have let her study so much.

6. Do you have very high standards?

7. You should have just decided to live with (insert annoying quality of the ex).

8. Gay? Asexual?

9. If you wait some more, no one will want to marry you and you will die alone.

10. Are you very career oriented?

11. Are you a feminist?

12. Maybe she is not a virgin anymore?! Maybe she can’t conceive?!

What are the ones you have heard about being the long suffering single?

The big 3 O

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I am just 3 months shy of the big 3 O. And yes, I am single. For the last 2 years or so, this unmarried state of mine has defined my worth to a lot of people around me, so much so that it is how I started viewing my own worth. So when 2013 started, the year I would turn 30, I wondered, will this be how it will always be? Throughout my 20s I stopped myself from doing certain things, was conditioned to save myself from many things, just so that I could do those things in the acceptable confines of couplehood. But now I have started questioning myself, what if I am amongst the few who might not get to know what that is?

Now before any of you start telling me I am young and there is hope yet, let me tell you that it is this hope that has held me back so far. My resolution this year therefore is to be happy, no matter what. To try and find happiness on my own.

When you are young, no one tells you about the possibility of staying unmarried when you are 30. The cultural conditioning is study and get a job by 21-23, work hard a couple of years and by 25-26, settle down, get married. No one tells you what if that doesn’t happen. No one tells you that you may feel a certain sense of panic when you see everyone around you getting married. No one tells you about the anger that rushes into your system when some ‘well meaning’ person gives you marriage-dating advice or tells you that you are being too picky. No one tells you how painful logging on to Facebook and seeing all those photographs is going to be.

What has helped me on such days is a random search of blogs written by other real women. Women who may be 30 or older and single and how they have coped with it. Women who may not be single at 30 but are coping with various phases of being coupled. And so I thought, why not take inspiration from these women and track my own journey, so that maybe, some day some other girl may be able to see that it is not all so bad.

James J Need

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