In Defense of Being a Spinster

Single and not ready to mingle is OK

I’m 26 years old this year and very (almost horrendously) single. However, by today’s standards, I’m still in my “relationship prime” with plenty of time to get married. The average age of marriage for the modern woman is somewhere between 28–32 years old.

Even 100 years ago, it would seem odd by this time in my life if I didn’t have some prospects — even if I wasn’t married or engaged. In the Regency era (or Jane Austen’s time period), I’d be well on my way to spinsterhood in the fashion of Charlotte Lucas, who is 27 at the beginning of Pride and Prejudice.

For reference, the term “Spinster” is defined as a woman who is not married, especially an older woman who is not likely to marry. The term comes from a woman’s occupation to spin wool, which was mostly done by unmarried women. It often carries negative connotations, while the male term “bachelor” does not.

Yes, these are things I think about sometimes. But more often lately, I’ve been embracing the idea of my potential spinster status. The more I daydream about the life I’d like to have — when I can finally afford to move out of my parents’ house — the more I find myself alone in these dreams. I like to imagine a cozy cottage with a large garden with maybe some sheep or goats and a donkey for company — and my cats of course. I’ll bake pies and write my books and do all the things I love to do. Of course, these are very idyllic by themselves, but they also don’t feature a man.

I don’t need a man

“My secret to a long life has been staying away from men. They’re just more trouble than they’re worth.”

Jessie Gallan, Scotland’s oldest woman in 2015, at the age of 109 revealed that one of her secrets of long life was to stay away from men. She’s not the only one. Brenda Osborne (105), claimed her secret is hard work and avoiding men. Emma Murano (117), stated her secret was staying single as well. Last but not least, Leandra Becerra Lumbreras (allegedly 127) attributed one of the reasons for her long life to never getting married.

Studies have shown that single women are actually happier and healthier than married women, while it seems to be the opposite for men.

As well, a study done in 2016 shows that boys do better in school when there’s a higher population of girls.

So maybe it’s time women take hold of their power and care for themselves a little more. As much as men would like to say they hold the authority, it sounds like they need us more than we need them.

I don’t want no drama

Along with not needing a man, I don’t need all the emotional stuff that sometimes comes from being in a relationship. When I’m single, I just worry about my own baggage, my own issues. Obviously opening yourself up to someone is guaranteed to come with some drama at some point, but is it worth it? For the right person, yes. I guess I just haven’t met them yet. (Cue Michael Bublé)

The misery I felt from being cheated on (twice) is greater than the misery I’ve ever felt from being lonely. I’ll take feeling a little lonely over being emotionally thrown in a trash compactor any day.

I can do whatever I want

Since you been gone I can do whatever I want
I can see whomever I choose
I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant
— Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O’Connor (or Prince)

Being single means that my schedule is for me. When I get home from work, I know the rest of my day can be spent on me, my personal projects. I don’t have to work out whether I’ll be able to go out or see my partner on any given day.

When I make plans, I don’t have to worry about telling my partner or seeing if said partner wants to come.

My future is wide open. If I wanted to move across the country, I could.

My time is my own to do with what I will. And it’s great.

I can be alone without being lonely

Being alone is not synonymous with being lonely. I’m an introvert, so I already thrive on alone time. But I’ve also learned how to be my own best friend, my own date.

I can take myself out on “dates”… okay, really just the mall and McDonald’s. But I’ve THOUGHT about going to a movie by myself. It’s doable. I could do it if movies didn’t cost so much to go to. Ugh!

But seriously, who’s going to love me if not me? Now, I don’t subscribe to the idea that you have to love yourself for someone else to love you — someone else loving you is a good way for you to learn how to do it yourself — but, I do think everyone deserves to love themselves. Enjoy spending time with yourself because, at the end of the day, you’re stuck with you for your whole life.

I don’t need outside validation

“Ready for a harsh truth? Women don’t need your validation. We already have our own.”
― Amanda Lovelace, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One

One thing I learned from being single is that I don’t need third-party validation. The longer I was single, the more I was able to get validation from myself. I started self-validating because I know I’m a cool person.

I change my hair because I want to, or do my makeup because it makes me feel pretty. I feel good about myself and my decisions; I’m a whole person and I don’t need another person to make me feel that way.

Sometimes a little outside validation is nice, but I can get it from my friends and family. A manboyperson finding me attractive doesn’t make me less attractive when one doesn’t.

I want my fellow spinster sisters to know that your worth is not connected with your marriageability. You may find a partner and get married one day, or you may not. Life is a magical journey and doesn’t necessarily need a romantic partner to make it worthwhile.

Treat yourself, and let the expectations of society roll off your back like rain. You don’t need a man! Heck, you may live to be over 100 without him.

As a note, this piece is very heteronormative and written by a cis-female. This advice can be taken by anyone who identifies as a woman, even those who are romantically attracted to women. Be single if that makes you happy and healthy, do you!

Writer || INFJ || Wellness junkie and chronic oversharer.

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