Now, at the beginning of this brand new century, it is still considered odd for a woman to choose not to be part of a couple let alone be married. There are a few famous women who remain bravely single – Diane Keaton, Oprah, Anna Wintour, Germaine Greer. Take for example, Condoleezza Rice who managed to become fluent in Russian and play classical piano and become Secretary of State without a husband. But they are regarded as exceptions to the norms, if not outright freakish and weird.
I say that there is absolutely nothing wrong, apart from lazy cultural assumptions, which proves that being in a relationship is the ideal state for a modern female. A really great man to live with and love is not the highest pleasures of life, and it is not the only route to happiness and fulfillment. It is absolutely not the single lining at the end of the road. If you should decide that this is not your thing, then embrace your inner bat and hold your head up high. Take pleasure in demolishing the arguments that will be told against you. “What about the opposite sex?” or “You really have no plans in getting married?” people will say. From what I’ve seen from the movie Friends with Kids, the great secret which many married couples hide is that once the honeymoon years are over, and the daily demands of children and work and financial worries turn into habits, they hardly even touch each other; “sex” becomes a distant memory, something that they did when they were young and energetic. But that just came from a one point perspective. I’m pretty sure there are still a lot of married couples who still do it on a regular basis.
“Oh but the solitude” the concerned will exclaim. Well solitude never killed anyone. The great thing about deciding to stay single is that you know that being alone is part of the deal. You know that you will occasionally get a sudden yearning for a strong pair of arms to hold you, and you know that this too will pass, and it is the price you pay for your absolute freedom. What destroys people on relationships is that they are promised a lifetime of companionship, of having someone in their corner. When that fails, and the love mysteriously withers and dies, they find themselves living in an atmosphere of careful silence and they are not armed for it: the agony of being with someone and yet feeling alone is the bitterest pain of all. As the great American writer Djuna Barnes once wrote: “I could never be lonely without a husband.”
The fantasy of “being in a relationship to a lifetime of wonderful marriage” is a lifetime of laughter and shared troubles : you are in it together. When this dream comes true, and a really wonderful relationship works, it may be the highest pinnacle of human achievement. You have all seen those old couples who still laugh at the same secret jokes and hold hands and take care of each other’s tender feelings after forty years. The mistake is to think that they are the norm. They are the astonishing exceptions, and you should gaze at them in awe and wonder and give them flowers and prizes. Being in a relationship is incredibly hard work, and, like anything complicated and demanding can bring marvelous rewards if you put in the work, but you may not have talent for it – just as not everyone can play Bach cantatas or cultivate prize-winning delphiniums.
You may, instead, have a raging flair for living happily, successfully, defiantly on your own, and you should not be ashamed of that.
If you want a not-so-serious version of my post, here’s a YouTube video from Ryan Higa: