"Once upon a time a man asked a girl to marry her. She said “No!” and she lived happily ever after in a lovely tidy house where she never cooked and always looked fabulous.”After complimenting me on my achievements as a young business women a married man recently said to me:
“Gill, can I ask you a personal question?”
“Of course” I replied a little nervously.
“What about babies?” he said looking worried as if he was frightened for me.
My response? A raised eyebrow and look of utter confusion.
There are two answers to that question if you are single and in your 30’s, one is, “I don’t want kids.” the other is, “I hope I will have kids one day”. Neither ever seems quite satisfactory.
It’s not like I have this perfect man who is waiting for me to be ready to start a family and I’m just ‘choosing’ not to be with him for the sake of my career. Though the amount of times I get asked that question (or similar questions such as “Don’t you want to get married?”) you’d think that that was the case.
Is it really still considered that at my age, if I want a baby I should just take what I can get and marry the first man who’s willing?
I’m not making a conscious choice not to ever have babies and I’m aware of the fact that time is ticking, but short of marrying a man I’m not in love with or running screaming to the sperm bank (before which I would probably have to rob an actual bank) what on earth choice do I have?
Then there is the sympathetic cock of the head accompanied by “awww, you’ll find someone honey” (usually in a baby voice) *puke*. Talk about patronizing!
What about the fact that I am a well rounded confident and self sufficient human being who feels perfectly complete just as she is. What about a “well done for not choosing the wrong guy” or “congratulations on avoiding a divorce.”?
It’s not as if I haven’t tried, I go on dates, I’ve done the internet thing and I’ve had a great time, I’ve had long term relationships and short term relationships and I’ve worked at them. and (with an inevitable couple of exceptions) we are all still friends. It just hasn’t worked out.
What if I don’t find ‘him’, what if I am all there is in my future? Is that so terrible? Is that a reason to feel sorry for me? I don’t feel sorry, I feel fabulous!
And why shouldn’t I?
I have a career that I love, amazing friends who I adore and a tight family unit. I feel secure and loved and lucky every day. What more could anyone ask for?
A while ago I read a wonderful piece of research by an American genealogist which suggested that our genetics could pre-dispose our relationship patterns. She claimed to have found a gene that could be linked to commitment phobia. She went on to explain that in ancient caveman tribes not everyone would have paired up. There would have been monogamous couples who bought up Children in a family unit and there would have been others who may have remained single to play other roles in the community.
Instead of spending time raising infants the singles could be, for example, inventing things and perfecting skills for the good of the tribe.
The research suggests that with out the dictations of our modern society there might be many more bachelors and bachelorettes knocking around happily leading perfectly fulfilled lives without a spouse or children.
Maybe that is my destiny, maybe not, but I’m happy to go with the flow on this one. I won’t have a baby because society suggests that I must to fulfill my role as a woman.
Earlier this year Venue magazine published a piece in their Valentines issue profiling happy successful South West singles...I was one of them...The head line was: “Sartorially Sassy Gill Cockwell - Single Fashion designer from Bristol.”
A local radio station saw the article and asked to interview me live on air. During the interview they suggested that I could not be truly happy on my own and that I must feel a little sad about not having a partner to spend Valentines day with. I argued that whilst I love being part of a couple and I am in no way dismissing the benefits of being in a loving relationship I also genuinely relish my time being single, I don’t feel that I’m missing out and there are many wonderful benefits to being on your own too.
You have to agree that it is perfectly possible to be happy without a significant other in your life, the alternative is utterly destructive.
My lifestyle suits me. I’m more productive, more flexible and more available to my friends and my work, I find it bizarre to have to justify being happy without a boyfriend.
It should come as no surprise to those who know me when I write that there are many crystals in my life... crystal encrusted ball gowns, crystal encrusted jewelry a drag queen named Crystal...and, (before I accidentally smashed them) I did own a couple of crystal champagne flutes once...But. I don’t own (or have access to) a crystal ball. Therefore, I am afraid I am unable to tell you weather or not I will ever marry or have children.
But. I can tell you this: I am, genuinely happy, just as I am.
Now, can someone tell me; Why is that so hard to believe?