Tracy McMillan thinks she knows me. She thinks she knows a lot of things about me. She thinks she has figured out why I haven't settled down and enjoyed the idealism of matrimony. Good thing that Tracy isn't me.
There was so much flawed logic in her piece it would take days to sift through the bullshit. I'll grant perhaps she was talking to a specific audience and didn't mean to use such gross generalizations about the single woman. But it won't change that she got so much wrong. Assumption after assumption, Tracy seems to think that the reasons older women aren't married boils down to six things.
Tracy says we are slutty angry shallow selfish liars who think we aren't good enough to live every girl's dream.
1. Yes. I am a bitch. And I get angry. But suggesting that either of those things stands in the way of marriage is absurd. Tracy, if I'm scaring men off, they are wimps. And some of us women know that a wimp is the last thing we want or need in a relationship. If a man can't handle my mood swings, how the hell is he going to deal with a toddler who throws things? How the hell is he going to cope with a smart ass teen? What about when the issue could be bankruptcy? If he thinks I'm frightening, how can I expect him to help protect our family from far more turbulent things?
And suggesting that you can't be both a bitch AND kind is a fantasy. It is true that men seek a woman who is nice to them. Who nurtures them. Who stands by them. A woman who is loyal and compassionate. A woman who can stroke an ego and scratch a back. And a bitch can do all of that.
Smart women know that a strong man can take them. That a wise man can calm them. That a brave man can fight for them. Fight them for them. Smart women rest in the oak of the stable hand that loves them. And learns from them.
My brother once told me that he wants the man who marries me in the trenches with him through everything. Because if that man can handle me, he's the stuff of victory. That's not a bad thing.
2. It isn't shallow to want to be attracted to the man you'll be having sex with. Of course character matters. But so does a strong jaw and flexible wrist. It just so happens that the more testosterone a man's got the more chance he has of also being less likely to commit. But yes, there are those lads out there that have the perfect combination of fidelity and true grit. We've seen them married to our best friends. We've watched them from afar and admired their ability to drive a nail in the roof of the shelter they help provide for a family. If all we wanted was a character, trust me, there are enough of those floating around in this world to have our pick. But character alone isn't going to give me what I need. Character isn't going to get me on my knees. Character isn't going to have me screaming to mystic beings because my body just took me places I never thought I'd reach. I'm a woman. A sexual being.And that means, I want a man. Who can please me. With or without a ring.
3. Learn a little more about oxytocin. And don't be so quick to slam dopamine. Casual sex is possible for the single woman. We don't get addicted to the one night stand that easily. Sure, sex is a drug, but like all drugs, we are capable of dosing based on the level we want to reach. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone. The drug of love and intimacy. One orgasm isn't going to turn us into Holly Homemaker. It takes shared communication and affection over time to achieve that kind of thing. *
4. I'm not a liar when I tell a man all I want is a casual fling. And if I want more than that from him, I'm honest enough to tell him. I've have plenty of relationships where the exact opposite happened. The booty call turned into an invitation for nine course Kaiseki. I flat out told him it would alter the agreement and dynamic and he insisted we try this new thing. There are thousands of stories "about last night" and a million times it didn't work out right. Both men and women are guilty.
Besides, a woman might very well be ready for marriage, but not to him. So it isn't a lie to maintain the sex if it's quality and each party agrees.
5. Of course I'm selfish. So what? That doesn't change a damn thing. Plenty of marriages are birthed from a place of selfish desire and motivation. Take a look at the costs of the average wedding. Three thousand for a dress? Are you kidding me? And a cake decorated like it belongs in a museum of pageantry? Hell no. Give me a beach. Some comfortable jeans. Scrap the flowers and the diamond ring. I'll take good old fashioned fiscal responsibility over the lavish little girl dream.
Most relationships start from selfish spaces. It's a partnership between two selfish people deciding to compromise about a lot of things. It's okay to maintain an identity. And you can be selfish and selfless in varying degrees.
Don't be the doormat. Be the door. Open and close. That's what makes healthy relationships work.
6. No one is good enough. That's the point. Perfection doesn't exist in men or women. The trick is to never confuse your actual faults with those projected onto you.
Which is what you attempted to do.
But more than those, the biggest point to make is that this is just my perspective. Plenty of other women have their own. The next time you decide to dish out advice to the single woman, take a walk in our shoes. Some of us wear sneakers. Some wear boots. Heels, loafers, pumps and sandals, you'll find we all wear different sizes too.
We don't need to justify our decision. Hell, marriage isn't even necessary. But if we want it, when we want it, we will be. Because any woman over forty not married is so because she chose to be.
So, if I'm not married for the reasons you listed (no), that's fine with me. It's still better than having three goes at it for the wrong reasons and failing.
*Read more about the science of love: Episteme Agape