A TALE OF TWO SPINSTERS

My Covid test was negative, I enjoyed proper cappuccino at a coffee shop for the first time in five months, and one of my jeans is super close to fitting again, so I’m feeling particularly optimistic on this fine Sunday evening.

I also finished my day watching a great movie: Spinster. Chelsea Peretti plays…wait for it…a spinster. At 39 years, she is single, frustrated and seeking something beyond what is immediately identifiable to the conventional mind.

The movie was great and I love Chelsea Peretti, but even if it wasn’t and I didn’t, I’d still have taken something great from it: recognition.

Being single at a later stage in life is enough of a ‘thang’ to have to explain, but if you are childless at a later age, you don’t only have to confront questions, but also people’s default output emotion: pity. And this pity turns to suspicion once you explain that you simply don’t want children. Yes, I can have them…I just don’t want them…

The movie depicted scenarios I’ve lived, and while intellectually I know there are others like me, it’s also true that if you live in a small town in an old fashioned community, time teaches you that you are different and that maybe later you will be sorry for your choices.

When a character in the movie called our protagonist spinster ‘selfish’ for not having kids, it hit a cord, because when that accusation was leveled at me, I spent weeks searching my mind for why my childlessness would render me selfish. I used to think it was because so many women yearning for families can’t have children. How dare I not use my wonderfully baby-friendly hips to push out young? And I suppose some people might feel that way…

But in the movie the accuser called our heroin selfish because ‘who would pay her pension?!’

So now I have two reasons to feel great: there are so many more like me out there, entire movies are made about us! And…I pay my own pension, thank you very much, you zit, I invest and save so that one day I can retire and my old, fat, independent ass can sit on a beach somewhere (albeit a cheap one) and think of how cute my 38 cats are…

It might sound silly to those who do not understand the inside of my particular boat, but differing generations have differing ‘rules’…and different countries and communities have different expectations and sanctions for those who step out of line. So when you see ‘you’ portrayed in art as the hero, it makes you little less alone…little less of a freak. And maybe being cool with myself doesn’t need so much justification.

It makes you feel proud.

I guess that’s why it’s so important that ‘otherness’ be seen in main stream media. It’s nice.

And aren’t we all just a little bit ‘other’…?

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