D is in town this weekend. We have a great love, he and I, and we have since practically the moment we met. We haven’t seen each other since his wedding in August, which is the longest amount of time we’ve spent apart since meeting each other three years ago. On Friday afternoon, I went to visit him in the apartment where he’s staying with his husband while they’re in the city. This apartment is a dream on so many levels, in square footage, decor, bookshelves, etc. It’s also the home of a woman who has lived there for ten years alone. She has never been married, and has no children. This house has always been hers, and only hers, and it’s where she lives a full, beautiful, creative life. I imagined myself in every room, growing into every corner. Because he usually knows what I’m thinking, D said, “You could live here and write and work, and it would be just yours.”
For women, it seems, it is always about someone else. We’re taught to compete for men because we’re expected to find someone to share our lives with, to be caretakers to. We’re taught to believe that this is our nature. In spite of intellect and creativity and the many other things that make us up, our energy is really expected to be channeled into other people, namely, men.
A woman who elects to not share her life with a man, but to keep it for her very own, pays a price. Either she’s a lesbian, which demonizes her in a whole different way, or she must have been abused as a child, or she’s been traumatized by a bad relationship, or she just doesn’t know what she wants. No matter what, her priorities are all messed up (“Yes, dear, those other things are nice, but the point is to find a man.”).
Women who aren’t focused in some capacity or another on this goal are castigated for acting contrary to the nature of women, and not just by men. As women, we can be deeply hurtful to one another. We judge the choices we do and do not make, instead of supporting and affirming each other, corroding our vital female friendships.
A lot of people in my life are interested in my relationship status lately. I won’t elaborate, except to say that I have worked hard to create the life that I have now, and I wish that my personal and professional successes could be considered as interesting, valuable and conversation worthy as my potential relationships with men. My excellent friend V, often my feminist grounding rod, says, “If you want to be with someone, then you deserve someone great, and if you don’t, you should still get to be happy.”