I’m a single, child-free (child-less?) lady in her late 30s. I’m straight, and (but?) my work concerns gender and sexuality, amongst other things, but my general theoretical approach to my scholarship relates to issues surrounding those indexes of identity. I like babies and kids (all of them, really, I’m a baby and kid person) but I don’t have one and haven’t had one. I like the idea of a husband, but I’ve never had one of those either. Indeed, I am a 21st century spinster.
For the first time in a long time I’m in a serious relationship, which really is grand, and I’ve not written kids off, though, let’s be real: I’m an old lady and that might not be in the cards for me. (I am not interested in reproductive medical-technological intervention, and I don’t actually think I’m interested in adoption either, so my point here is maybe, but who knows – I’m leaving this shit up to fate, because my life is not empty or missing something without a baby or kid. I’m not saying that people who take advantage of reproductive technologies or who pursue adoption have any problems – I’m just saying I don’t think that those are my things – at least not right now. My ambition has never been to be a mom, or to be a wife, though I think I might be great at both. But if those were my ambitions, I’d probably have gotten around to one or both of them by now.)
It took me aback this weekend when somebody wished me “Happy Mother’s Day” when I was leaving the sushi restaurant at which I’d had a good amount of Japanese beer with no kids in attendance. Sure, I’m of an age when a lot of women are mothers, but DUDE. I’m not a mother. Why would anybody assume I am one?
It also takes me aback that all around me people are getting engaged and getting wed. Not because I’m not happy for people – I AM. But EVERYBODY? I mean, I used at least to be able to count on my gay friends not to be on the marriage parade. No more! Indeed, everybody is getting hitched. EVERYBODY. Except me, apparently. And I’m now people (gay, straight, whatever) regard me with suspicion because that’s not tops on my list of priorities. (Note: I’m not saying that gay marriage should be illegal or that it’s a bad idea. Marriage is great if people want it! I’m just saying that I miss the good old days when my gay friends were not *compelled* to be married, as us straight folks are and have historically been, as if that is the only way to make things official. Why can’t one be an adult human being without a spouse?)
Seriously: why does anybody need to put a ring on it?
And yes, I get that marriage comes with legal and social benefits – I’m not stupid, and this is why I get the whole gay marriage thing – why I get the marriage thing in general. I just wish that I didn’t feel so pressured into that particular institution at this particular moment. Maybe it’s FINE that I’m a single woman who doesn’t have a child and who isn’t DESPERATE to be married or DESPERATE to have a kid. Maybe I’m FINE, even without a spouse or a fucking kid. Dammit.
And yes,The Dude and I are in love and we have discussed being in a permanent-ish situation, so this isn’t about me not wanting a committed relationship! And yes, we might get married, in spite of all of our (both of our) reservations! I just really resent the idea that people seem to think there is only one way for us to be authentic! Or for us to be real! I mean, seriously?