Why I am so Mean (Or, Why I don’t Blog about Dating)
You won’t find much dating advice on this website. This is not an “in search of” blog. I don’t even tell you to be happy “first.”
I’m stating the obvious but an acquaintance asked me about the site recently and was completely confused by my description. When the wifi cooperated and we could see it, the reaction was:
“You’re so mean.”`
This person poked through a few pages and concluded—out loud– I dismiss relationships and dash hopes, and I paint a bleak future for women. The word “bitter” was thrown in, too, just for kicks and giggles, I guess.
To tell you the truth, I struggled with the same thing as I was starting Single and the Sweet Side of 40. I consciously decided to stay out of the fix-me-up corner of the singles blogging world, even though statistics show it is a popular destination for unwed web surfers.
I didn’t do it to be mean. I did it because women have other things on their minds occasionally. For instance, money easily trumps men on the list of things you can’t live without.
Plus, if a woman’s sole purpose in visiting websites is to get unsingle, input from a single person is probably not her go to option.
Part of the confusion is what you think constitutes “single.” To me, single simply means unmarried. From what I can tell, this is a minority opinion.
The majority view seems to be if you are part of a couple for long enough or are serious enough, you are not single. What is “enough” to warrant a status change is not clear, except maybe on Facebook and guest lists.
The kicker is, the government agrees with me.
In case you weren’t aware, the government really is mean to single people.
Consequently, I chose the federally-mandated definition (to be clear, NOT the definition of marriage) because a marriage license is more than a technicality.
Women need to know the implications for their wallets are more than just semantics. Love is blind but Social Security ain’t.
The main reason, however, that I don’t write about romance is, I don’t know what to say. As with most women, being single and 40+ was not part of the plan. Talk about confusing. We are forced to account for our civil status regularly and the truth is, most of us don’t know why we are not married.
Single and the Sweet Side of 40 was designed to be a place where no explanation is necessary. Somewhere to ease the sting of single, or ignore it completely. A place for playmates, not soul mates. Where, “There is nothing wrong with you!” is a proclamation, not patronizing or pitying.
The goal is to let women off the husband hook and open the door to the full range of by-choice relationships- friends, neighbors and yes, even acquaintances who are not afraid to tell you which hook to get off.
Nothing here is intended to deter anyone from looking for and finding “the one.” Nor should anyone feel embarrassed about being like 93% of the population who wants a special bond with a significant other. Just don’t push pause on life until love comes to town.
That is where the trouble starts. Not the no pause clause—the percentages. I am mean because I cite statistics.
In this case, my acquaintance was disturbed by what I call the arithmetic of the unmarried. Plus One is more like calculus than addition, and life is not half what you expected. You expected to be half of a twosome.
Love becomes a numbers game at some point and the game-changing number is age. The data, i.e., 30 million single women over 40 in America versus 20 million single men, is supposed to be liberating not disturbing.
Hell, there are only 87 single men over 18 for every 100 single women in this country so the ratios are skewed before we get to college. There is no shame in math.
The shame is the societal and governmental unwillingness to add up Census Bureau figures and shift the (anti)single-minded focus from finding a spouse to celebrating self-sufficiency. Maybe even rewarding it, like with equal treatment under the law.
Information one person calls soul-crushing, I call, TGINM—Thank God, It’s Not Me! If you overheard me state 80% of married women will be widowed, you might think I was a mass murderer planning to ensure their fate. I think I was debunking the myth that if you don’t get married, you die alone.
The intent is to shed light, not shred dreams. Isn’t it nice to know that single is the majority lifestyle in the US? Literally, as of two years ago. More than 50% of American adults are not married, and 25% of us live alone too. Know how many households have a husband-wife-child? 25%.
Ultimately, I agreed with my acquaintance. Reality sucks and I keep talking about ‘what is’ while ‘what could be’ looks like it has a happier ending.’ (This is when I normally whip out the divorce and death stats, so yeah, kind of mean.)
Still, the problem with ‘what could be’ is the percentage of life that doesn’t get lived, in the name of love. The problem with the fix-me-up business is, by the time you are 40, there’s nothing left to fix. You spent a few decades and a few thousand dollars on self-improvement. You are perfectly you.
That said, there are many gifted dating writers, coaches and matchmakers and we all know people who met on-line. The kind of help my acquaintance suggested I provide—and need—is abundantly available. A Beth-branded system would add nothing to the mix, if I had one, which I don’t.
Women need encouragement (and maybe a system) to find friends, forge connections and foil loneliness. I might be a fool who rushed in where wise websites fear to tread, but the world does not long for another fool for love.
Someone else can tell you that single women 40+ have to be happy “first.” All you’ll hear around here is, be happy. Period.
Is that so mean?
[hr toptext=”” size=”medium” custom_size=”” hide_mobile_hr=”true”]