Love is not in the air

He's not lonely. He's contemplative. Photo used under Creative Commons license.
He’s not lonely. He’s contemplative.
Photo used under Creative Commons license.

Ronna Fisher, Editor-in-Chief

*Warning: this article may be full of generalizations and personal anecdotes. If you are here for research, statistics or logic, look elsewhere.*

   Valentine’s day was this past weekend. Heartpal, the weekend before. Spring is just around the corner, and for many, including me, graduation is as well.  The past year or so I have found myself the subject of concern. By my college pastor, my parents, friends, even my younger sisters. Everyone wants to help me find “a husband.” It seems that the “ring by spring” mentality has spread beyond the borders of SNU’s campus.

   I have been trapped in multiple conversations about “my type” or “what’s wrong with (insert name of male friend here).” My younger sisters have even told me that they are worried that I won’t get married if I don’t meet someone while in college. When told that I don’t think I have a “type” or know what it is, my dad, concerned, said, “You’re nineteen. You need to be thinking about your type. Finding a guy is like shopping for cars; you have to know what you’re looking for.” What? To which I replied angrily and dramatically, “Well, Dad, the car salesmen aren’t lining the streets trying to sell me their cars!”

   I know they are only looking out for me out of genuine concern for my well-being. (My dad also really wants grandkids). And, I appreciate that. I really do.

  However, I hate the idea that my little sisters think that I will be unhappy if I’m not married and settled down after graduation. I hate knowing that, at least in the Bible-belt south, there is this assumption that if you’re single, you’re unhappy, and you’re probably on the prowl for a man.

   I recently talked with my eleventh grade students about gender roles in the late 1800s and in today’s society. I asked them if women today are still expected to marry. We talked about stereotypes for older, single women. I knew what would come up, and I was prepared with funny memes and pictures. What do you think of when you think of an older, unmarried woman? Drumroll please ….

   The answer is: Crazy cat lady!

Used under Creative Commons license
Used under Creative Commons license

  I get it, and I agree—the idea of the crazy cat lady is hilarious. It’s a common joke and image. But why is this stereotype for single women (granted, for single, older women) still so prominent? Is it because, even though the idea of being a young, independent, successful, and single young adult is idealized, we are still expected to get married?

   I know—trust me, I know—about all of the articles, books and statistics that show that finding a mate is harder the older you get. I even once read an article about how, statistically, it is harder to find young, single, Christian males ready to settle down than young, single, Christian females, and the longer you wait, the harder it gets. Another article I read testified that getting married at a young age actually leads to stronger marriages. I’m sure studies exist showing that married people tend to be happier than singles. Trust me, I’ve read it all.

Her dying wish was that women in the future could be single without being ostracized. Wish denied. Photo courtesy of Yvonne Thompson  Used under Creative Commons license
“All the single ladies. Now put your hands up, up in the club, we just broke up, I’m doing my own little thing.”
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Thompson
Used under Creative Commons license

    Last semester for TWIRP and this semester for Heartpal, I heard countless girls bemoan that they couldn’t or wouldn’t attend unless they had a guy to ask (TWIRP) or were asked by a guy (Heartpal). To be quite honest, it infuriated me. And, yes, I know that TWIRP stands for “the woman is required to pay.” I also heard, “And, that’s what makes TWIRP and Heartpal fun—having a date.”  But, seriously? You’re going to choose not to attend an event because of a lack of a male partner? Is this 1896?

    Let me just say it: I am single, I am not looking and I am completely fine and happy. Before you quote, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” to me, let me also say that this article comes, not from denial, but from years of frustration at society.

    No, it is not my turn next, as relatives so love to suggest. No, I do not think that I would be happier if I were in their shoes. No, I don’t need you to set me up with someone. Yes, I still make girlish jokes like, “He hates winter, just like me! We’re meant to be!” or “Eli McCann is my future husband.” What can I say? I have my flaws.

   So. I conclude my single rant with this: Please, do not be offended if, unless I am a bridesmaid, I don’t jump up and run at the chance to catch the bouquet at your wedding. I’m single. And, I’m okay. I promise.

  1. I really appreciate this article, and I think it puts into words the thoughts of many girls/women/females (whichever you prefer to be called). College is stressful enough with homework and projects and just the general task of having to plan your future without adding in pressure to find the perfect man. Thank you for standing up for us strong independent women.

    1. Thank you so much Mary Jo! Your comment means a lot to me. I hope I can be a great representation for us “strong independent women.” 😀

  2. What an excellent article, Ronna! Unfortunately, the pressure to hurry up and marry off so people can quit worrying about you doesn’t end in college. Let me tell you, you haven’t lived till you find yourself on a surprise blind-date orchestrated by your father at age 24…. Thank you for writing to express the frustration so many of us have felt!

    1. Thank you Dr. Weaver! I appreciate that. And great, I can’t wait–I’m sure the questions about marriage and such will only get worse with each year.