I didn’t start thinking about marriage — at least seriously — until my late 20s. Yes, I always had Cosby aspirations (husband, kids and brownstone = happiness), but all that bliss costs big bucks, right? As a brown girl from a very working class family, I knew education would be my only way up the ladder. Today, like many women, I have the degrees, the car, the home… and I’m single. For the last few years, I’ve worn my singleness like a scarlet letter. Initially, that S represented single, sassy and sexy — hey! Then it started changing. Slowly it morphed into S for silly — I should have nabbed someone before I turned 28-years-old — like my mother and aunties warned. Other days, S was for stressed, which is how I felt about my search for mate. It even became an S for sore loser — because looking at some of the women who “scored” husbands made me occasionally think, “WTF?” I loathed the pressure I felt to “find someone.” And I hated showing up to holidays alone and being asked, “Are you seeing anyone?”… and thinking, “Do you see anyone? Then no.” As each day, then month, then year ticked away, I began to feel more like a hapless purebred in a puppy mill. Like the dandies, I have the ideal pedigree, weight, look and temperament, but that means nothing unless someone picks me. Worst of all, I have scores of sisters who are just as fair and grand as I am… well, almost. So what happens when a puppy of fine pedigree isn’t matched with a family? The older the dog gets, its chances of finding a home decrease and then eventually it gets put out of its misery. Great, so now that scarlet letter is about to be an S… for spinster, because old hags are out of the game. Is there no worse death for a marriage-minded woman? A life sans a mate — and possibly children. Decades of being asked “where is he?” Or asking yourself, “why didn’t I get picked?” No spooning? Worst of all, it’s my entire fault, right? Isn’t that what society tells us? Black women are too sassy, aggressive and money-hungry to be wed. Slit my wrists now. This weekend I had brunch with a few of my girlfriends, and just as I was eyeing the knives and finalizing which vein to hit first, we engaged in a perspective-changing conversation. One of my gal pals — a sweet, sexy Southern belle who’s single and a long-time proponent of marriage — said she could take it or leave it. After a mad search for holy water to douse her with and incessantly suggesting she go to therapy, I finally listened. Her argument was poignant. The first question was a killer: how many happily married women do you know? I couldn’t name one. Most of the married women I knew were grinding to keep it all together… which lead to her second point. Women are expected, by society and themselves, to have two jobs (a career and manage a home), while men aren’t. The more we talked about it, the more we realized that the only thing most of the housewives we knew were desperate for was a nap. While she was still interested in marriage, she had no desire to be overworked; instead she wanted a teammate. She was open to finding a man who was willing to work with her and co-exist, not simply have her scramble… and here’s the kicker — whenever that happened, she’d be fine with it! She was worth the wait. On my drive home my stomach began to knot up — and I knew it wasn’t the unsavory pancakes I devoured, despite knowing better. I realized that I was looking at life from a deficit perspective, when the truth is neither side of the grass is always money green. Being single can be lonely, but it isn’t a death sentence. Life can still be fun, rewarding and happy. Being married can be challenging, but you aren’t bound to a life of indentured servitude. You can work out a plan that leaves both partners fulfilled. Today, I’m balancing the enjoyment of my current life stage and looking forward to the next. My S will stand for sexy… and searching, but not just for a ring, but for the perfect balance. And I’m a believer. I know I am worth the wait, so I will… patiently and happily… or at least I will try. Finding a mate who is a true life partner may seem like mission impossible; luckily “I can’t” isn’t really part of my vocabulary. Tell us your thoughts on the topic.
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