Deep Thoughts: I am the opposite of Princeton Mom

The email-hacking situation is still open. Haven’t had another incident since Sunday, but that’s not really an achievement, now is it?

Anyway, a thought occurred to me on the way home tonight.

I am the anti-matter opposite of Susan Patton. (If the name is unfamiliar: here you go.)

It’s not exactly Big News that I disagree with her on some things—we’re hearing about her because a lot of people take serious issue with her!—but if Mrs. Patton could see my life, she’d probably use me as an example of That Woman You Don’t Want to Be.

I was posting on my Facebook author page the other night about what I’m up against as a novelist with a full-time job, and basically the only thing that’s better for me now than it was this time last year is that now I’m single.

Recap: I’m in my 30s, childless, and not even trying to find a husband. I’m prioritizing my writing career over finding a smart man to marry before my fertility disappears in a puff of dust.

So the idea struck me this evening on the way home: not only am I living my life in exactly the way Mrs. Patton thinks is a disaster for any self-respecting woman, I think she’s full of shit in every way that counts and the world would be better off with fewer people who think the way she does.

I think women receive quite enough advice and guidance on finding a partner, and keeping him, already. The last thing we need is yet another book exhorting us to place potential husbands at the center of our existence. OTOH, I think the world’s men could use some guidance on interacting with women and maintaining relationships, beyond what they currently get. (If you asked for my thoughts on the conclusion of my last relationship, for example, “I didn’t try hard enough” would NOT be among my regrets.)

I think it’s okay if a woman prioritizes her professional life over husband-catching and baby-making. If she wants to pursue a demanding career, she might not have any options except to delay family life until she’s brought her professional life over a certain hump. It sure would be nice if we could have kids young without being penalized for it in the job market, but we are penalized, so we have to choose our battles and figure out which option sucks the least. If some women don’t get a chance to have the children they want because they’re too busy kicking ass and making things happen, that’s not the end of the world.

I think it’s okay if some women just don’t get married. To anyone. Ever. Even if we leave non-heterosexual women out of the picture, and assume that everyone really wants the nuclear family lifestyle in the single-family home with the two-car garage, it’s okay if some of us don’t do that. There are some men out there who don’t treat women well, no matter how hard those women try to make those men happy. There are some men who are irresponsible, immature, overly entitled or even abusive, and it’s not their potential wives’ responsibility to turn them into better people. If there aren’t enough “good men” for all the women who are available, then some women will be single. And we can be awesome that way.

Don’t even get me started on Princeton Mom’s shooting off her mouth about rape victims. I’m not too ladylike to make a scene that’ll haunt your dreams.

I don’t think teenage girls should resolve their body-image problems with cosmetic surgery. I think society needs to stop teaching women to hate themselves starting in defenseless girlhood, and I think surgery at a too-young age will only further complicate most women’s body image.

I think more students, of both genders, should spend their college years studying hard and learning as best they can. If we must spend so much money on higher education, that time should be devoted to getting educated, not to getting married.

I think that having no partner at all is better than having an unsupportive partner. (If I had to sum up Why I’m Still Single in a few words, it would be those.) I think it’s okay for women to expect certain things in terms of how their male partners treat them, and if the men aren’t interested in meeting those expectations, those women haven’t failed at life when they tell those men to fuck off. I think it’s okay for women to have interests and ambitions that don’t center around their husbands, and they have the right to seek partners who respect those interests and support those ambitions. If no such partners are available, then it’s okay to be single. Really, it’s okay. I think that’s the central difference between someone like Princeton Mom and someone like me. Given the choice between having a shitty relationship with a selfish, inadequate partner, and having no relationship at all, I think that being single is not only acceptable, it is cause for celebration.