There is a clear current theme in the blogosphere, and it's writing about why we're not married.
In case you live under a rock, yesterday, the Huffington Post ran this article from Tracy McMillan, a writer for Mad Men and The United States of Tara and a self-proclaimed "jailhouse lawyer of relationships -- someone who's had to do so much work on her own case that [she] can now help you with yours." In her piece, McMillan explains that the reason you are not married is because one or more of the following applies to you: You're a Bitch, You're Shallow, You're a Slut, You're a Liar, You're Selfish or (You Think) You're Not Good Enough. Though I actually think the article was well-written and made a few interesting points, it's not hard to see how it pissed off a lot of people. Responses have been flooding Twitter and Facebook, most notably those by Jessica Ravitz of CNN and Laurie White of BlogHer. And, well, given some recent events in my life, recent conversations with friends and the increasingly frequent questioning from well-meaning relatives, I figured I'd kill a few birds with one stone/join in on the trend and share why I, too am not married.
Firstly, I'm a Career Girl. My well-meaning but very traditional grandmother called me this recently. "Oh, you'll get married some day," she told me. "Right now you're a career girl." I started to get defensive, but then I realized that she's actually right. I am way more interested in my career than getting married right now, and my attitude is reflected in my behavior. That's not to say I wouldn't be open to getting married if the right guy came along, but so far he hasn't and I'm too busy creating my brand, managing my website, launching my app and writing my book to go out looking for him. Which brings me to my next point...
I'm Self-Focused. Not narcissistic, mind you. I care deeply about my friends and family and am truly devoted to them. But what is my main focus in life right now? Number One, AKA, me. I suppose McMillan would say this makes me selfish, except I'm not focusing on, as she puts it, "[my] thighs, [my] outfits, [my] naso-labial folds," nor am I thinking about "how marrying a wealthy guy -- or at least a guy with a really, really good job -- would solve all [my] problems." Um, no. Rather, I think a lot about my career goals, my emotional development, my place in the world, the travelling I'd like to do and the life I'd like to build for myself. I'm committed to being the best possible contributing member of society I can be. I fully recognize that I don't spend a lot of time thinking about how to attract my future husband...but I'm also certain that I'd rather eventually marry a guy who spends his waking hours thinking about his own interesting, exciting life and not how to find himself a wife. Also, even if I found him...
My Dating Skills are Shaky at Best. I don't play by the rules. I don't wait for the guy to call. I always offer to pay and drive. I routinely try with all my might to articulate my feelings and it frequently backfires. I sometimes, though not frequently, have sex on the first date (which I suppose also makes me a slut, according to McMillan), and I never play hard-to-get. I have no idea what I'm doing and it shows, but I am unwilling to commit myself to a dating "program" a la The Rules. I'm waiting for someone who gets me and whom I get to show up, and, until he does, I will probably continue awkwardly along the "mostly-first-dates-and the occasional pseudo-relationship" path I've been on since my last actual relationship.
Sure, sometimes I wish I were married--mostly so that I can stop going out on awkward first dates, but also because I look forward to, as McMillan calls it, having "a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don't deserve it." I believe in monogamy (for myself, anyway) and in the power of a long-term, committed relationship, but I am also glaringly aware that I need to figure out how to give myself unconditional love before I can give it to someone else.
Honestly, the number one reason I'm not yet married is that I'm not yet ready. I have a lot more work to do on myself before I can see focusing a large portion of my energy on someone else. Most of the time I feel sure that I will eventually be ready but I also know that I might never be...and that will be OK too.
Regardless, however, I stand with this lady.