She Doth Protest Too Much
September 25, 2012 § 166 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
I have just been accosted by a plankton in the street. An acquaintance who started barking at me so people in the nearby cafe looked up from their Americanos.
“Don’t you just love being on your own, having no man?”
I’m obviously failing to shout it from the roof-tops, so she has decided to do it for me, from the pavements.
“God, it’s such a relief, isn’t it? David [a husband] is being such a prat. Does absolutely nothing. Nothing! Rachel does everything in that marriage and is fed up. Chris and Jane haven’t had sex for six years and are going round their separate bends. Sophie refuses to move to Lausanne, and can you blame her, but Simon is insisting. Aren’t we so lucky? Spared all of that. I love it, love it, love it. Don’t you just love it?”
I read the other day that increasing numbers of 50-65 year old women are embracing their single status. A poll discovered 23% has been to a music festival and 18% to a nightclub in the past year. (Oh, me too! To pick up bunches of rank teenagers). And 34% maintain that they enjoy their independence so much they have no desire to settle down again. The pavement acquaintance is firmly in that category, obviously. But there was something so strident about her that it made me feel she did protest too much.
I am not saying that it is inconceivable that a woman wants to be alone. The joys of autonomy, freedom, privacy, are not lost on me. 59% of these women said they love being able to wear what they like. My husband was not the sartorially controlling type, so that particular freedom holds little weight for me. There are others, of course, which do. Eating weetabix for supper and not having to feel furtive when doing anything other than working or childcare. A leisurely latte, for example, devoid of guilt prompted by remarks such as, “What do you actually do all day?” Even so, I remain one of the 66% who would sacrifice this apparently lovely-jubbly cocktail bar independence for even a swish of companionship. I have lowered my sights since, during the most recent date, the man declared before we even sat down for dinner that he never wanted to get married again, presumably just in case, little lady, I was harbouring any fanciful ideas above my lowly station.
I long ago gave up holding out for marriage. The odd text and movie would do. But I am clearly not as evolved as some. I still can’t quite manage a barking, “No man! Love it, love it!”