Thursday, December 23, 2010

Vent from an Unmarried Woman

Some of my friends got to hear this back when there was controversy over Elena Kagan's bid for the Supreme Court. She was accused of being a lesbian because she has never married. It's back on my mind again due to Kraig Kahler's sleazy attempt to justify his murder of his wife Karen, their two daughters and Karen's 94 year old Grandmother because she was allegedly having an affair with her female friend Sunny Reese. And I'm absolutely furious. So listen up.

Let me tell you something that may shock some of you. Just because a woman is not currently married, never married, is not currently dating/pursuing/angling for a man and/or has close friendships with other women, IT DOES NOT MEAN SHE IS A LESBIAN! Maybe men are incapable of being really close friends with anyone without it involving the pelvic rhumba. I kind of doubt that's true (I sure hope not, how impoverished a life that would be) but I'm not a guy. I have, however, been female for 50 years now. And I can tell you with absolute 100% truth that women can and do have really close friendships with other women without being sexually involved/turned on/tempted/curious or any other such thing. We can do it with men too! Imagine that.

I am sick and tired of the attitude that our entire female lives must rotate around getting/keeping a man. And that any woman who doesn't buy into that antiquated stereotype must be mentally challenged, horribly ugly, a complete social loser, or a lesbian. Because, gee, there could never be any other reason why a woman might choose to not either be clinging to a guy or desperately seeking one, right? We couldn't possibly have our own fulfilled lives, our own social circles, and God forbid, we couldn't possibly be <gasp> well-adjusted and happy and single and straight. Right?

For some reason the idea of a well-adjusted totally normal woman who doesn't have a man in her life is bizarre and weird. Elena Kagan couldn't possibly be single for any reason other than being a lesbian. Karen couldn't possibly be leaving her husband because he was an abusive dickhead who beat her; she must have been having an affair with another woman. I think it has its roots in our straightlaced Victorian past, where any woman who did not marry was a failure, destined to be a miserable "old maid." Or the 1950s, when the little woman was supposed to stay home and keep the house pristine, have her man's paper and slippers and a highball ready for him when he stepped in the door. The marginalization and dumbification (okay I made that word up) of women. This is just an extension of the "no normal woman can survive without a man" crap we've been hearing for hundreds of years. And in spite of the womens liberation movement of the 1960s, it is still here, lurking darkly in the corners.

Maybe some hetero single women didn't marry (or aren't dating) because the right man hasn't shown up, or did show up but left again, or time caught them by surprise or they just plain flat have other priorities that came first. Who knows. Who cares! It's not important.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing at all against homosexuality. Some of my friends are gay/lesbian, most are not, but neither status means a hill of beans to me. It's not how I identify them as friends. What pisses me off is the attitude that I can't be a successful woman who likes men yet who manages to survive happily without one actively in my life.

How is this dog related? It's really not, except that I am lucky enough to have a large community of mostly female dog training friends who are incredibly talented, smart, socially and financially successful.... and single. We are tied together by our love of dogs, we are close and would do anything for each other. We are no one's cripple or loser. Most of us are hetero. None of us are married. Yet gee, we manage to live productive lives and for the most part we are happy. Happier, in many cases, than our married friends.

So next time you see a single woman hug or kiss another single woman, next time you wonder why someone hasn't married, don't stereotype or judge. Maybe they are lesbian. Maybe they are not. And who the hell cares anyway?

ETA: In reading this, I think it may be taken by some as an inadvertent slam against marriage. That is not at all intended. I do believe in marriage and loving relationships. I believe in loving relationships of all sorts; platonic and not, marital and not, hetero, homo, bi, whatever. Life is short. be happy!

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