cate blanchette, elizabeth i, single woman

Things you only know if you’re single over 35

  1. Married people can’t decide… if you are pathetic or dangerous. Nor can married men. Married women think they are being inclusive when they ask you to coffee after a dinner party (singles bugger up the numbers) and often sit you next to another woman as ‘punishment’.
  2. Unless a man is… gay, married or dead you have to fancy him or you will endure a chorus of ‘See???? You are impossibly picky. You have to learn to compromise.’ No matter that he clearly has a personality disorder/a drug habit/is in prison. The problem, my friends, is yours. You: ‘He beat up his ex-wife.’ Friend: ‘People change.’
  3. When people call you brave… it is not a compliment. It is because they are horrified by your predicament. You may well not be horrified. You may well be basking in the peace/freedom. But they are still horrified.
  4. You are amazed by how many relationships… you don’t envy. Sure, there are a few (usually counted on one hand) that look like fun and solace rolled up into one lovely partnership. But most look like hard bloody work without much reward.
  5. Men don’t care…  if you have cellulite. Or wrinkles. Believe it. They don’t. If they do then you are aiming low and missing. You are no longer a trophy – these days you are a prize. You haven’t waited this long to just…settle.
  6. Endless questions and calculations… if I am 42 and I meet him at 43 and he is 48, then how much sex can we cram in before everything dries up or flops? Do I even have the energy? Where will I put him? Everything will be OK but what does OK look like? Am I free or am I tragic? Am I desperate or am I powerful? Does everyone secretly think I’m a lesbian? What if he never appears? What then? What does that mean? Babies! Babies? Babies…Oh God, stepchildren.

I’m Absolutely Fine! The Manual for Imperfect Women is out in paperback now

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