In Dialogue with the New Issue: to Zoya
Hello lip team and congrats on a lively new issue. I’ve been reading my lovely hardcopy on the tram and am tired of talking to myself. Thought I would share some of my responses to a few articles, but one at a time, hey?
Zoya: It’s funny how no one wants a gal to have sex but they all want her with a boyfriend…
But seriously, being single after 10 years in a relationship made me really relate to your article. You have no idea how empowering being single really is until you’ve quite easily given up certain aspects of your power to the man in your house. And I’m only really talking little things: giving him the taxes, repairs, vacation planning, car maintenance, navigation.
I feel so much more grown up now that I’m on my own than I ever did in a ‘grown-up’ relationship, complete with mortgage (that I wasn’t responsible for). Now I live like a student but feel like an adult. I come home to my cosy little flat and my excellent flatmate and feel a surge of happiness fpr my maturity.
I even bought myself a couple tools: a hammer/screwdriver and spanner (though they are the girly versions with little pink flowers all over them). Sadly, small achievements like changing a showerhead make me insanely proud of myself.
The freedom from compromise is great as is the absence of farting and television. My abilitity to do whatever/whenever because I don’t have to take my man’s needs and desires into consideration liberates me from bucketloads of guilt.
Also, I’m totally with you about singledom and feminism. This life feels so much more feminist and so many people and movies and books seem to be evidence of what women give up to be coupled and what they achieve when alone. The more women’s issues are defined by mothering and wifing, the more I feel like staying single is an act of political rebellion. And the more single women I meet who are so awesomely talented, intelligent, vibrant and attractive the more I’m convinced that being single makes for a more fully-realised woman.
Nevertheless, I go to bed every night with visions of the men who aren’t in it with me and think about the possibility (or lack thereof) of sex, touching, kissing and romance on a much too regular basis. Despite failing to find any particular man particularly desirable, I constantly think about them in the abstract or hark back to old relationships or speculate about not-really crushes.
This drives me batty. I want to be unconflicted in my enjoyment of the single life but the habit of concern regarding my desirability and curiousity about the future and a lifetime of conditioning to want a boyfriend defeats me. So, in the end, I let the daydreams meander round my brain and don’t take them too seriously.
The only bad thing about being single, for me, is the lack of sex. When I was your age, Zoya, this was not an issue. I wasn’t ready to have sex – didn’t even really know what the desire to fornicate really was. Now, any opportunity to have sex (which doesn’t come up that often) excites me stupidly.
I must be pretty lucky that no one concerns themselves with my singlehood. It’s probably too soon out of my previous relationship for people to worry about me and I’m pretty vocal in my satisfaction with the current state of play. If there are people out there who wonder about me for being single they don’t make it known to me. Not that I would care. Quite the opposite: the more people want me to conform to something, the more I rebel against it, so they are only affirming my determination to be single.
Zoya, when I was 18 I wanted nothing more than to be madly in love, so you are step ahead of me. Now, 15 years later, I realise how fleeting, unreal and distracting that is. Artist Mirka Moira, who married young and stayed married for more than 40 years before getting divorced, said something to the effect that marriage is impossible. I agree!
Yet, the desire for the excitement of romance surely never dies. Despite my best intentions, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to stay single and be in a relationship at the same time. Well, bring on the fling: fun, self-affirming, intense, full of sex, short-lived and long-remembered. At least that’s how it is in my fantasy.
So, Zoya, may your first prince come when you are ready for him and may you leave him when it is time to go.
Thanks for the article.
Thanks for the thoughtful reply!
I agree that there is a certain power that is attached to being single. There is a sense of independence that I enjoy.
At the same time, I can’t help but feel that being single results in my being more insecure and self conscious, more determined to come across as indifferent. Whether these feelings are a product of society’s insistence that a person is not whole if not in love, or whether they are more personal, I don’t know.
Though the logical side of me realizes that my life is fulfilling even without a relationship, I can’t quite help but feel left out of something that other people share.
I hope you’re right, and that things will happen in good time!