Hmm. Now this is a tough one. As a single woman, no matter how awkwardly embroiled in however many torrid affairs, pretty much anything you might say against ‘the marrieds’ will make you sound bitter and angry. And saying you’re not bitter or angry just makes it worse, it’s the sameas Monica telling the answering machine that she’s breezy – you can’t say you’re breezy! It negates the breeziness!
Anyway, I’m not bitter or angry. Honest. I’m terrified. As a child of divorce, I have a very healthy fear of tying the knot and until quite recently, it’s something I honestly never believed I would do. Not that I don’t think marriage is awesome – The idea that someone you love wakes up one day and is sat at work eating a sandwich and just suddenly, pow, he realises he can’t possibly live without you and wants to tell every other single person in the world that you’re his. I think that’s amazing. I also think it’s hard and, having seen the worst of divorce, I would want to get it right and have it be forever. I write romance novels. This is probably one of the reasons I’m not married. That and the fact that my recurringstress dream is me at the church, in a wedding dress, about to marry my ex. Except I haven’t done my hair or make up and I always pass out from a panic attack just before I’m about to walk downthe aisle. There’s a chance we shouldn’t have stayed together for seven years…
But is it true that married people and single people are secretly at war? I won’t lie, there can be a tension. In my life, my married friends seem to fall into one of three camps – those desperately in love with their husbands and just happy to be wed, those who are relieved to have locked something down and no longer be dating and those who started out in the second camp and now spend an awful lot of time looking over the fence at their single friends and thinking that the grass is an awful lot greener over here. Of course, that’s natural. We’re all human, we all want what we don’t have and I would imagine, to my friends who juggle kids and a husband and family obligations and work, my life looks quite tempting. I live alone in a New York apartment, I travel all the time to exciting locations, I meet fascinating people and throw myself into ridiculous affairs and shoe purchases that are not options for them. But while lounging in my singleton sun lounger, I peep over the fence, usually hungover and nursing a Bloody Mary, and see stability and commitment and support and love and sometimes, when I’m licking my romantic wounds, that looks awfully nice, no matter how many pairs of Louboutins, I’ve stockpiled.
For the most part, there are no tensions with my married friends. Three of my very best friends are married and I can’t say it’s changed them in the slightest. They’re amazing and I love them. The ones who have altered are the ones who maybe weren’t such great friends after all. As soon as the ring hit the finger, they became someone else. All of a sudden, they’re not the same girl whose hair I was holding back in the street after one too many happy hour cocktails, they’re smiling beatifically and telling me I’ll understand when I meet ‘him’. I’m not sure who ‘he’ is. I assume they mean my future husband but I can’t help but think they’re really picturing the jeweller at the engagement ring store.
The other married vs singles drama comes with women you don’t know, especially here in New York. Marriage is a cut-throat business here in the Big Apple and if you think the girls are bitches in the office, you’d better believe they will fuck you up in the pursuit of a husband. Kind of like The Devil Wears Prada but with diamond solitaires and summer houses in the Hamptons at stake.
I’ve always been a girl that gets along with boys. I love football and wrestling and dinosaurs. I make inappropriate jokes when I’m uncomfortable. I like to make people laugh – apparently, to the women of New York, this means I’m after their men. It’s quite a strange feeling to realise you’re being shut out by a woman just because you’re making her husband laugh. Anyone who knows me, knows I would never, ever cheat on anyone – sisters before misters, ladyface – but I remember one party at a friends house, a party where I was the only single girl in attendance and therefore feeling incredibly awkward and cracking joke after joke after joke, and yes, it was January and yes, it was cold outside but even with the boiling hot Brooklyn heating system, I was frozen to the core by the icy bitches in attendance. They literally shut me down every time I opened my mouth. So I ate my dinner, made my excuses and abandoned them for a bar in Williamsburg with my other friends. My single friends. And that’s when I realised, I had become That Girl. I had become a threat by virtue of the fact I didn’t have a boyfriend, I had nice hair and I’m funny. That hardly makes me an Angelina Jolie-esque home wrecker but still, they had silently decided I wasn’t welcome.
It would be a lie to say there aren’t single girls out there who just want to get married. They don’t care to whom but they do care what he makes, how quickly they can quit work and how soon they can pop out a kid. And if that’s what makes them happy in this world, then more power to them. Seems kind of cynical to me. I think these women are naïve to think just getting a ring on your finger makes everything better. Rings come off. Sometimes they stay off. Perhaps they know that, maybe that’s why they’re so afraid of having perfectly nice single women (with lovely hair) around their husbands. If the foundation isn’t stable, it isn’t hard to break.
I have this worrying recurring daydream where a guy proposes and instead of saying yes, I say ‘why?’. That’s not how it goes, is it? Sadly, I can’t imagine me ever saying yes unless it’s overwhelming, blinding, heart pounding, can’t imagine waking up a single second without him, desperate to repopulate the world with his awful tiny babies, devastating love. Maybe I’m the naïve one. Like I said, I write romance novels. But on the upside, I do still believe that exists. Beyonce said, if you liked it they you should have put a ring on it. Like isn’t going to be enough for me.