It honestly isn’t because I put my career first. It truly isn’t because I’m too picky. You should see some of the horrors who’ve dumped me. I’m as attractive as many, as amusing as many more and yet there must be something wrong with me. Something so subtle and yet so disgusting that no one wants me. No one really ever has. And I can’t talk about it. I have to pretend that I’m unlucky. But I know it’s not that. There is clearly something wrong with me – unidentifiable but repellent. Actually repellent enough to ruin my life. But ethereal enough that nothing can dissolve it. Nothing can break through. Nothing can make me lovable.
I’m nearly 40. I am not and have never been married. I have no children. How can I have no children? How can I look that in the face (the eggscalator)? And apart from the grief and the panic and the weariness I am overwhelmed by shame. By broken expectations. By terror that the desperation I feel in my heart is visible. Each birthday party feels like a wake. Each baby shower like acid.
Mothers tilt their head to one side – that intolerable universal language of pity – and tell me I can travel and shop and sleep. Married friends lie and say they envy my freedom and, if they mean it and get divorced, then they’re hooked up again within minutes. If life is always this much of a struggle, if I have to spend each day buffeted by gentle breezes of desolation then I don’t know how I’ll carry on. I want to be chosen. Why is that so, so, so much to ask?