Is this really what we have in store for us? God, I hope not (well, at least for me).

Everyone is different; has a different character and, most definitely, different needs.

I really don’t care if you are married, co-habiting, single (by choice) or anything else (I’m not sure if there IS anything else) – as long as you are happy and as long as (if you have a partner), I don’t want to kill your partner or partners :-)

To be honest, what you do with your life is absolutely none of my business – unless it directly affects my life – in which case it is my business. Of course, if you ask me, I may or may not (depending on whether you’re asking for a confirmation of what you think or really asking me) tell you what I think.

Luckily, for my lovely readers, this blog is about what I think (at this moment that I’m writing, of course – in two hours I could think the opposite although, in this case that’s unlikely).

From Lola’s blog, I read this article entitled “All the Single Ladies”.

The strange thing is that I was quite disturbed by it. I mean, unsettled. Basically it was saying that, given the way that society has changed and the general ratio of men to women, being a single person was now more likely.

Perhaps I was unsettled by the truth of it, for it is not a truth I want for myself.

I understand that some people say they are happier alone. Bar a very few people, I cannot believe it, I’m sorry. True, not every society works in the same way and, for sure, partly why I am happier being ‘with someone’ is that I was brought up to believe in a household where two adults live together (with or without children).

And friends are important. Good friends are irreplaceable, of course. I have many friends. Not thousands but enough for me. Being in a friendship takes work on both sides. And yet, there are friends (like Best Mate and I) who don’t need to be in contact for quite a while and just pick up the friendship where we left off. And I would do almost anything for Best Mate. She is there, even if I am having problems with my partner or even if I don’t have a partner. I love her to bits.


She is not the same as a partner – and I don’t mean for sex. After all, for sex, if I wanted to, there is a tall, leggy prostitute that hangs on the corner of the street and is there when I take the dogs out for a walk. We even say ‘hello’ now. Well, why not? Anyway, as an aside, business seems to be quite good for her. Maybe it’s one of those businesses that thrives in crisis periods?

But I digress. And, anyway, she is a woman so not really interesting to me.

So, if not for sex then what is a partner for? Why is it that I consider it essential for my life and others (including the woman who wrote the article) don’t?

But, then again, the article doesn’t say that a partner is not essential but that, given the fact that she dumped her (probable) partner some time ago, assuming that she would be getting one later and could settle down when she felt like it, and now, finding that a partner is unlikely to be found, she has, in fact, come to a realisation that ‘this is it’ and that she had better get on and enjoy what she has.

And I think that is my point.

My greatest fear is to be old and alone. Since I don’t have (and won’t have) any children, unless I have a partner, I shall be alone when I am old.

But it’s not even that, really.

After V, I thought that, given my age, I would remain alone. For those of you that have been readers for over three years, you will know this.

But I found, after a few months of being alone, that ‘being alone’ was not an acceptable life for me. I NEEDED a partner to share things with, to cuddle up with at night and, mostly, to not feel ALONE. ALONE I cannot handle. And, as you may know, I thought that I cannot be the only person in Milan who thinks this way and so I went out to find the other person who felt the same (or, more or less, the same).

And I think that’s the problem with this woman. She hasn’t come to terms with what her single life is and doesn’t want to commit. And, by not committing was thinking that when the right man happened along, they would both know and everything would be fine.

However, as I said before I started the online dating search, it’s no good waiting for Mr Right to come knocking at my door if I am stuck there night after night. No, I needed to go out and FIND him.

And I think that, in spite of her positiveness, she is, in fact, ALONE and, possibly too busy to feel LONELY – but she may well feel lonely later and that she is fully well aware of that.

Friends, of course, will be important to her but there are those times when (even when you’re with friends) you feel alone. With a partner, I don’t get this feeling. With F, I don’t feel alone anymore.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble. They are, after all, just my opinions and thoughts.

5 thoughts on “Is this really what we have in store for us? God, I hope not (well, at least for me).

  1. Andy,
    thank you for sharing your take on the article.
    I disagree though, mainly because I read it more through the “sociological and gender lens” than through my personal perspective. As you know, I’m not a single lady!

    If for a moment you don’t focus on your own feelings and/or personal experience, perhaps you would grasp other aspects which are indeed crucial. For instance, the journalist sheds light on interesting cultural and social shifts that have occured in our society. And she is very good at it, despite the fact it’s not an academic paper.

    Also, finding a partner is unlikely to be found for her because

    ” We’ve arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown up—and those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you don’t want to go out with”.

    and also because

    “we no longer need husbands to have children, nor do we have to have children if we don’t want to. For those who want their own biological child, and haven’t found the right man, now is a good time to be alive. Biological parenthood in a nuclear family need not be the be-all and end-all of womanhood—and in fact it increasingly is not.”

    and it is not sad, it’s just the reality of things. Women are indipendent enough not to rely on men anymore. This is, I think, a cultural revolution. We don’t need husband to have kids if there’s no one out there who match our interests.

    Maybe she, as you put it, doesn’t want to commit but you know what? I think it’s fine not to commit. This is key to the aforementioned revolution. She doesn’t need to find someone, if he shows up is ok if he doesn’t show up…. who cares? She is strong and economically indipendent in order to be quite happy alone with friends and grandchildren etc.

    One thing is certain: she knows what she wants

    “Jst as I am fully aware that with each passing year, I become less attractive to the men in my peer group, who have plenty of younger, more fertile women to pick from. But what can I possibly do about that? Sure, my stance here could be read as a feint, or even self-deception. By blithely deeming biology a nonissue, I’m conveniently removing myself from arguably the most significant decision a woman has to make. But that’s only if you regard motherhood as the defining feature of womanhood—and I happen not to.”

    I wish some of my female friends were like this. I wish I was like this.

    My mum is a single lady and she happens to like it. A lot. Even though it’s been difficult and even challenging sometimes.

    • Hi Lola. Thanks for reading my take on it. I need to reply to you properly and I shall do that tomorrow as I think it’s an important subject (obviously – as I bothered to read the article and then make my post).

      A domani.

    • Hi Lola,

      OK, here is my slightly longer reply:

      Yes, I realise that this is from my point of view, of course and yes, she sheds light on cultural and social shifts that have occurred in our society. But I disagree about the reasons that she cannot find a partner.

      “Had I made the biggest mistake of my life?
      Ten years later, I occasionally ask myself the same question. Today I am 39, with too many ex-boyfriends to count and, I am told, two grim-seeming options to face down: either stay single or settle for a “good enough” mate. At this point, certainly, falling in love and getting married may be less a matter of choice than a stroke of wild great luck.”

      Firstly, neither of those options seem ‘grim’ and, in fact, the staying single option is exactly what she is writing about. If she thinks it is ‘grim-sounding’ then, as I first surmised, she is exceedingly unhappy with her life and most probably regrets dumping the ‘perfect man’ for nothing better than “something was missing” and “I wasn’t ready to settle down”.

      And, to be honest, although there have been seismic cultural and social shifts, the problem is a general problem of today – in all walks of life.

      We have come (and, indeed, it is going to be worse in the future) to expect ‘perfection’ in everything. We expect to have the career we want; we expect to have the latest gadgets that must always be a great improvement on the past one; we expect that we should have a better life – eat better, have better clothes, have a bigger house, have holidays every year (maybe several times), have better leisure time, etc. etc.

      In fact, we have become the ultimate consumer society – wanting new and better and cheaper and always more, more, more.

      Unfortunately, we expect it too of our friends and, in particular, our partners. We are unsatisfied unless we have the latest iPad – oh, yes, and the perfect man/woman. Now, we demand the best. And, unfortunately, whilst technology can always be improved (run faster, do more things, be better), the human being cannot. We also expect our partner to ‘fit in’ with our life with much less willingness to compromise. It isn’t about settling for a ‘good enough mate’ but, rather, realising that a mate is a human being too and needs attention and care.

      She IS prepared to do this (although appears, from the article to be more of a ‘taker’ than a ‘giver’ – that may be unfair as she is trying to explain the way it is working for her and how her friends are supportive of her and, therefore, doesn’t explain the support she may be giving to her friends) with friends – but that is because they come without the same strings attached. However, she is (from the article) very ME, ME, ME. And, to be honest, along with our general consumerism comes this thing about ‘it’s not right/it’s not fair/why are they doing this to me/I need this fixed NOW’ – and, unfortunately, what her mother didn’t teach her was that, when you settle down with a long-term partner it really isn’t all about YOU.

      To be honest, the children thing is a bit of a red-herring. Women have been having babies with and without partners since humans started. This monogamous partner thing is a recent invention, for sure. And the Victorians have a lot to answer for. But even the babies thing is part of the consumer society. When my parents decided to have children they were in their early 20s. I don’t believe they had a discussion about whether babies could be afforded nor whether my mother’s career should come first. Now, these days, everyone wants a certain standard of living before considering whether to have babies or not. They ‘hang on’ because they want to have a nice house or move further in their career. Sorry, but having a baby (and I am not aiming this at you) is not the same as to whether I can afford to buy the new Gucci handbag! Women now have the chance to have a baby almost whenever they want – with or without the bother of a man (there’s always a sperm bank). BUT, we seem to have lost the real reason for having children. Having children is to pass on your genes. That’s it. It’s called nature and with our consumer society we have moved a loooong way from that reason. We are, in fact, fighting nature. And I don’t believe this is a good thing.

      You could respond with ‘it’s not fair that women have to give up their career just to have children’. But, again, that’s a bit of ME, ME, ME. It’s because we see a career as more important than the passing on of the genes. We want our children ‘off-the-shelf’ – just like the new Gucci handbag. We don’t want children to interfere with our enjoyment of life. We have been told that we don’t NEED to let children interfere with our lives. We can have our cake AND eat it.

      And the results of this little experiment can be seen every day in the high streets of the UK and (less so) in the high streets of Italy. Spoilt brats who are given everything they want by parents who don’t know how to bring children up and, anyway, are so grateful that they managed to have them that they are subservient to the kids – leading to adolescents who are taught, from day one, that they are ENTITLED to whatever they want.

      Whoops, sorry. I seem to have gone a bit off track :-(

      Anyway, I don’t disagree with you over ‘it’s her choice not to commit’. And I, too, have no beef with her choice. BUT, if she chooses not to commit, then please don’t moan about the consequences. If you choose not to commit to a mortgage, you will not own your own house. It’s no good saying ‘Oh it’s not fair, I didn’t get a mortgage and now, look at me, I haven’t got my own house!’ If you consider that a partner is exactly like taking a mortgage – it requires work, effort and making sacrifices – she hasn’t done that and, whoa! Surprise! She doesn’t have a partner!!!!

      And I am certain (just as you are certain in the opposite way) that she really doesn’t know what she wants:

      “Jst as I am fully aware that with each passing year, I become less attractive to the men in my peer group, who have plenty of younger, more fertile women to pick from. But what can I possibly do about that? Sure, my stance here could be read as a feint, or even self-deception. By blithely deeming biology a nonissue, I’m conveniently removing myself from arguably the most significant decision a woman has to make. But that’s only if you regard motherhood as the defining feature of womanhood—and I happen not to.”

      I read this in a different way to you. I read this like this:

      “Shit! Now I’m too old to get men who are the same age as me – they can choose someone more attractive. So, let me keep saying (until I believe it is the over-riding thing) – motherhood is not important to me. There! That makes everything better, doesn’t it?”

      Well, yes it does, if having a partner is also not important. The whole article was trying to justify why being single is actually a life choice whereas, in her case, it was more that she was so busy trying to have everything, she now realises she has missed her chance.

      And I don’t, for one moment believe that ” We’ve arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown up—and those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you don’t want to go out with”. What she HAS found, however, is that when she reaches the top of the staircase, she is so self-centred that, unsurprisingly, the men who would be interested are either players or the ones by the cheese table. And, in line with what I said earlier -“[I] arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives” – I mean – WTF???? If there’s one phrase that is true it is ‘Life is not a dress rehearsal’ – it doesn’t start when you’re 35 or 39 or any other age. It seems to me that she missed out on the ‘living’ part of life. She was too busy getting to a point where she could begin life without realising that, in fact, she was ignoring life. Then, when she was ready, she realised that it was too late to start living a life (although better late than never, I suppose).

      Now, if she demands that the man should be her equal (salary, status, etc.), and, having had a life where she gets everything she wants – she would be dead right – they aren’t there. But that’s because she doesn’t understand that to find the man that would be her partner, try looking for someone with a personality that you like. How old, what status, how they look, etc., etc. is decidedly unimportant if (and it’s a very big ‘if’) what you’re looking for is a person with whom to SHARE your life (and share theirs too).

      No, the summary of this very interesting article which does, from a sociological viewpoint, trace the history of our cultural and social changes over the years (but let’s remove then for just a moment) is: “I was told I can have what I want. I wasn’t satisfied with what I had because there was bound to be something better and more perfect round the corner and, anyway, I had a career to do. Then I suddenly found that I was alone. Now, let me tell you why this is a good thing and how I don’t need a partner anyway and let me keep saying it until I convince myself that it is so. There, I feel much better now and I’ve proved that I am right, haven’t I? Well, of course I’m right. I’m always right. OK so I can have everything I want – erm, except a partner cos I left it all too late. But that’s OK cos I have friends that are the same as me! They like doing their own thing too and, luckily, some of them are there to help me out. Because, after all, my life is all about me. I’m too important to be bothered by people who don’t think it’s all about me’

      But don’t get me wrong. I know some ladies who are single – some of whom have children and some of whom don’t. For some of them, it has been a choice. For others not. In any event, the ones that I really like are those who make the best of the situation they are in and don’t go blaming everyone cos they didn’t get exactly what they wanted every time. They’re the ones who aren’t buying iPads nor expecting the Gucci handbag to appear (OK so some of them have iPads but you know what I mean?) but accept that life ain’t perfect but it’s the life we’re living and, so, be happy with that!

      Sorry. Have I ranted a bit? Forgive me, please?

  2. Hi Andy,
    I must confess that I am a bit confused as we do have very different views on the article which, per se, is not bad. I like reading/hearing ideas different from my point of view. Thanks for taking the time to read the article and to reply to my comment!

    However, I am puzzled because I didn’t grasp the aspects that you mentioned so I don’t have a “proper” answer.

    Just a couple of things I’d like to add:

    1) I agree on the “ME, ME, ME”: there’s too much subjectivity but I also think that it’s the “beauty” of it. It’s not an essay, she can rely on personal experience (although she seems a bit egocentric).

    2) I completely disagree as far as the “baby issue” is concerned: I don’t think that “Having children is to pass one’s genes”. Luckly, things are much more complex and I haven’t heard a single woman saying that she’d love to get pregnant to pass on her DNA.
    You could respond that it is inconscious will but I can tell you, as a woman, that perhaps it IS uncounscious but it is also intertwined with many other issues which are, hopefully, less deterministic.

    To conclude, I’m sure you would like my mum who is a happy single lady who doesn’t go blaming everyone cos she doesn’t get exactly what she wanted every time. However, she loves Gucci :D and she definitely prefers a Gucci bag to an “omino qualunque” as she says ;)

    • Firstly thank you for taking the time to reply. I know you’re busy right now.
      Secondly (but not second in importance) – I’m sure I would like your Mum – she is YOUR mother, after all :-)

      Yes, yes, I know it’s more than the passing of genes – but I do think that is the over-riding reason – even if we have evolved so it is hidden.

      Finally – not everyone complains about their lot in life. I have no problem if people wish they’d made other choices – but I don’t like when they then dress it up and justify it by saying it isn’t really their problem. The choices we make are the choices WE make. We have no one to blame except ourselves.

      p.s. I love that your Mum loves Gucci – why not?

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