09 August 2006

Spinster

My new blog header got me thinking. I'm 45 and I have been dating since I was, what, 14? Ever since that night when I went to miniature golf with Wayne Herron where he wanted to stick his hand down my pants out behind the shrubbery and I wouldn't let him. What an auspicious beginning.

Thirty one later, I have never married. That seems weird even to me. And despite the fact that he was a pushy, horny little freak, I probably can't pin all the blame on Wayne.

Did I have a desire to get married? Sure, yeah, once, desperately, but that was also the point of my life at which I was the most insane. I can also say that I am positive I would have been miserable with him, and that I would have divorced him and that he would not be a nice person to get a divorce from. So in my book he saved me a lot of trouble by refusing to get married (after he proposed, mind you).

When I told my mom I was moving in with Mr. Stapler, she said "But you have failed so many times before."

That was a bit of a karate chop to the gut.

My mom thought I failed. Ouch. Being a failure in the eyes of my parents is one of my worst fears and one of the things that keeps me from drinking cheap gin all day and living in a cardboard box as I have always aspired in my heart to do.

I had never looked at the end of my relationships as failures, which might seem strange. I have cried many big breakup tears and spent weeks moping around with wadded-up kleenexes in my hand, but I had never considered what I did failing. I always just thought I was moving on, and that I HAD to move on. I didn't feel that I had an alternative.

A friend asked the other day "When you look back on all the men you dated, don't you think it would have been ok if you had just picked one and married them?"

"Hell, no," I thought. I am thankful that I never tied the knot. None of them were horrible people, they just weren't people I wanted to spend decades with. Maybe no one IS.

And anyway, I'm boycotting marriage until everyone can get married. I feel strongly about gay rights, and right now it feels like getting married would be the moral equivalent of sitting in the front of the bus in Alabama in 1964.

So all you men who are lining up to ask, just don't bother. Get back to me after legislation changes. Thank you.

Some damn fine writing over at Linkateria today.

20 comments:

Mother said...

Ha. I love that you are boycotting until everyone can.

I never got why people thought you were a failure because a relationship didn't work out. Most of the time, it's for the better than they didn't. And sometimes when they do, they may have actually been better off not working out after all.

Juliness said...

"That was a bit of a karate chop to the gut."

Having experienced one or two (or ten) jabs of my own delivered via my own nearest and dearest I can say honestly that I feel for ya, babe.

When I consider those Ones That Got Away, I thank God more often than not.

Good on ya for being the voice of those that have none.

Kvetch said...

Funny. My marriage failed and I triumphed.

My men will line up next to yours. We're trendsetters.

Suzanne said...

Sounds like big successes to me. I was practically a child bride (OK, in NYC terms anyway, 24 is a child bride), but I swore I would never get married and have kids. Sometimes things work out how they were meant to, and you seem overall like one of the few functional, happy people I know. Different strokes for different folks and all that. As for gay marriage, I am with you 150%. It is a continuing stain on the constitution to deny people this fundamental right, if they so choose.

Elizabeth said...

I would join you in this crusade if I wasn't already married-dammit!

Don't call yourself a spinster, it's such a negative word. What you are is a capable, responsible adult who has chosen not to participate in the institution of marriage. Cripes, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been living together for what, 25 years? You can still get married, one day, when it's legal for everyone! Good on you, Suebob.

stampydurst said...

Ah yes, the well-meaning but still painful mama "shot-to-the-gut". When my last relationship was imploding (he wanted me to take a year off from my surgical practice to have kids - note: he is also a surgeon and was not offering to take any time off) my mother chimed in with a, "Well honey, you've never been easy to live with." Ouch!

Chase said...

I love you more everyday, ma'am. :)

Holly Capote said...

Like you, suebob, I don't view an ended relationship as a failed relationship. All relationships eventually end. In a hundred years, we'll all be gone and 99.9% of us largely forgotten. Even those of us that are remembered will only be remembered in the most cursory way: as a name or a relationship (Great-great grandma). So, none of us belong to even the not-too-distant future. We all belong to just now. So, what's happening just now isn't just important: it's everything. Thus, Suebob, if you loved Mr. Stapler Part V in 1996 and Mr. Stapler Part VIII in 2006 and you've loved them both well and were loved well in return, that works for me.

As far as standing with our beloved queer brothers and sisters in being deprived of marriage, that really, really works for me.

cameo said...

wanna know why chris and i decided to get married? health insurance - i was pregnant! i know it's nice we have the option. but gay men can't get pregnant either.
had i not gotten pregnant - we wouldn't be married. it wasn't important to us.
do you think less of me now?

wordgirl said...

Every relationship a failure? No...actually...every relationship is a teaching tool, whether it ends in six months or six years. A success is when two people who aren't meant for each other DON'T get married. A failure is when they do. You're a walking success story, SueBob. I agree about the marriage ban as well. Living in Texas, I knew the boycott against gay marriage would pass, and I had a sense of futility about my vote to allow my gay friends to wed legally. But I did it anyone. A drop in the bucket is still water.

Holly Capote said...

FYI:

spinster: 1362, "female spinner of thread," from M.E. spinnen (see spin) + -stere, feminine suffix. Spinning commonly done by unmarried women, hence the word came to denote "an unmarried woman" in legal documents from 1600s to early 1900s, and by 1719 was being used generically for "woman still unmarried and beyond the usual age for it."

Chantal said...

"And anyway, I'm boycotting marriage until everyone can get married. I feel strongly about gay rights, and right now it feels like getting married would be the moral equivalent of sitting in the front of the bus in Alabama in 1964."

Kick ass. That rocks. You rock.

Chantel said...

I'm with SueBog. I'm boycotting marriage too.

Hugs!!

thegreenbicyclist said...

I never thought I'd end up married -- no real desire, no real since of its importance, and no real desire to 'play' the role of wife. But I ended up getting married -- just recently, in fact. Mainly because it was really important to him and that made it really important to me. But I am certainly no 'traditional' wife -- I don't wear make-up or dresses and feel more at ease with a hammer in my hand than hair-dryer. And much to my continued amazement and happiness, these are the qualities that endear me to him.

Margaret Mead said that society will only change when both men and women renounce the confines/constraints of their 'roles'. So in the my own personal, private way I am actively doing my part of challenging traditional marriage. Women like me shouldn't be 'attractive' to men and yet I'm pretty damn happily married.

So Suebob let's attack the institution of marriage from both sides. Let's challenge the definition of marriage as well as who gets to participate in it. Quite frankly, I think the reason that the religious right is so up in arms about the prospect of gay marriage is that gay marriage by definition is about by 'choice' and by 'love' not by reproductive concerns or security (emotional, financial or otherwise) -- what a radical concept. The more those of us, both inside and outside of marriage, flaunt this fact, the more we weaken the absurd notion that marriage is about protecting the children and is more about respecting and cherishing those who've come to share their lives together by choice -- and dammit, that should warrant shared healthcare coverage, hospital visitation rights, and all other legal and financial protections granted to heterosexuals.

Genuine said...

I don't know why I'm standing in this line but it must be something good at the end.

mothergoosemouse said...

Sue, I have such admiration for you. You've got the courage of your convictions, which is more than most people can say.

I consider myself damned lucky that my marriage has worked out as well as it has. Granted, we've put work into it, but sometimes work isn't enough.

One of my aunts married for the first time when she was 54. As far as I know, no one in our family ever gave her any guff about it, and I never saw it as strange either.

I'm sorry that your mother hurt your feelings. I don't know if our support can help counteract that hurt, but you've got it.

super des said...

I'd like to say I am boycotting as well, but I am more selfish than that. Really I'm just waiting for my bf of 9+ years (whom I live with and moved across the country for) to realize that he should keep me around.

Besides, according to last poll, the "president" didn't care about my opinions on anything, even though I am always right.

Christina said...

I see nothing wrong with not finding a relationship you want to pursue for a long-term committment. A person can have several relationships, of all types, through his/her life, and never marry yet be successful in living a full, happy life.

My mom was the only one of three sisters to marry, and it ended in divorce four years later. My two aunts both have higher degrees, have excellent careers, and a wealth of friends and family around them. If you asked either of them, they would tell you that they are not missing anything in their lives. They are happy, they are loved and they have people to love in return.

Mir said...

It's all steps on the way to where we belong, right?

I can clearly trace why the path of my marriage/divorce was necessary to get me to THIS point, and as much as I still wouldn't exactly volunteer to go down that path again, I can see that absolutely, it's where I needed to travel, to learn what I need to know.

It's only failure if you didn't learn anything. You, m'dear, are clearly learning plenty.

Rhea said...

You rock! "I'm boycotting marriage until everyone can get married."

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