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Single Going Steady

By Mink Stole | Posted 1/11/2006

Iím a 38-year-old single woman, reasonably attractive, reasonably successful, and reasonably happy. Or at least I was. Lately, some of my married friends have started pressuring me to get married and have kids, ďbefore itís too late.Ē Iím not against the idea but Iíve never had any kind of committed relationship with a man. Iíve tried dating services, but never hit it off with anyone. Iím not a virgin; I had some short-term boyfriends in college, but having sex with someone Iíve known only a short time lost its appeal years ago. Before my friends started this ďyouíre missing out on the best part of lifeĒ campaign, I was perfectly content with my single status. I enjoyed the freedom I had to go out when I wanted and to travel. Now Iím starting to feel like a failure. Iíve never thought of myself as a feminist, but it does seem to me that if I were a man no one would be questioning me like this. Any thoughts?

Single Gal Sal

Anyone who tells you, SGS, that you canít be happy unless you mate and reproduce has his head up his ass. If it were an absolute truth that everyone married and/or with kids were happy, I might be more tolerant of people who insist that this is the only life worth living, but since we all know thatís a big fat lie, these people should just shut up and mind their own goddamn business. Sure, kids are great; sure, marriage is great. Iím all for them, but this notion that if you donít have them youíre a failed human being and a second-class citizen is just plain wrong. Itís insulting and dismissive to people who canít legally marry, or who physically canít have children, and to people who have either deliberately chosen to remain single and/or childless or, when they didnít find worthwhile partners, decided to pursue other interests instead of spending their time and money mate-hunting. To give your friends the benefit of the doubt, though, they donít mean to upset you; they just lack the imagination to appreciate the benefits of a life unlike their own. Itís also a teeny bit possible, whether they realize it or not, that they envy your independence. Donít let them get you down. By the way, now that the world has acknowledged the existence of homosexuality, while ďspinsterĒ still just means an unmarried woman, the term ďbachelorĒ has taken on a whole new meaning.


A woman Iíve known for years but hadnít heard from in ages is now acting very chummy with me. Turns out sheís getting married this June and wants me to be a bridesmaid. Sheís planning a lavish ceremony and has already picked out the very pricey gowns her bridesmaids will have to buy. Not only would this cut a big chunk out of my budget, possibly meaning I wouldnít be able to take my long-anticipated vacation, but I donít really like her that much. When I tried to demur tactfully, saying I didnít feel I deserved the honor, she said I was just being modest. When I told her the gowns she chose were way out of my range, she told me it was an investment that Iíd be happy to wear for years. Sheís been married twice before, had big weddings both times, yet didnít invite me. I hate to be rude to her, but do I have to be in this wedding just because she asked? And, since sheís already had two, isnít it a little tacky to be having another really big wedding?

Never a Bridesmaid

Some people donít know how to take no for an answer, NAB, and while this tenacity may be prized in the business world, in social situations it ranges from mildly annoying to downright obnoxious. Yet too often we allow people to bully us into stuff we donít want to do because we canít get up the nerve to say no. This gal may truly think youíre the greatest thing since TiVo, but her newfound enthusiasm does make me wonder whether the other women she has honored with bridesmaid status have made it clear theyíre not available for encores. There is, after all, only so much pastel pink taffeta a gal can fit in her closet. And, although wedding planners and dress designers may tell you different, there are some of us who agree that a third wedding should be at least slightly less ostentatious than the previous two.

Not only is it not rude for you to decline, good manners require her to accept your decision gracefully, but since sheís not picking up on your hints, youíll have to be more direct. Tell her that while youíre pleased to be asked you canít do it. When she presses for a reason, which she probably will, either be honest enough to tell her that youíd rather spend the money on your vacation or make up a lie. Tell her youíre allergic to church dust. Or maybe you should just reschedule your trip for the weekend of her wedding so youíll be out of town having your own good time.

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More from Mink Stole

Pick and Choose (4/12/2006)
First of all, homosexuality isnít like snake handling or Catholicism; it isnít a cult or a religion you can be recruited for or converted to.

Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

Family Guy (3/15/2006)

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