Spinster & the Single Girl

Spinster Girl
Confession: I have been single for my entire life.

…and with that confession I’m inviting in a whole truckload of stereotypes that come attached to being single girl in the 21st Century.

Stating ‘single’ as your relationship status comes with a wealth of contradicting views and feelings. In some ways it’s empowering, yet you feel prudish for not putting out; envied for your independence and free agency, but bound to the clock that counts down to getting a boyfriend/girlfriend and marriage; pressured to follow your own dreams, your own career and your own path, but are consistently fighting off questions about your dating life, when you’ll have kids, whether you’ll ever settle down.

At nearly 24 it’s literally taken me this long to come face to face with the reality of what ‘being single’ really means and the societal pressure that comes with it. Sure, I felt it in small bursts at school, at College, at University. But it didn’t really hit me until now, two years out into the ‘real world’ living away from home and a year into a ‘proper job’. Where once the statement ‘No I’m not seeing anyone’ was met with ‘Well you’re young, you have so much more time to think about all that’, the response now garners wide eyes, a questionable ‘Oh’, and a ‘…well have you thought about online dating?’

Sometimes it feels like women are wholly defined by their romantic entanglements and relationships status. Nowadays this is only escalated by social media and the ‘fear of missing out’. We see our friends, classmates, colleagues, and family getting hitched/starting families/getting mortgages, whilst I sit in my pj’s and Netflix and chill on the sofa on a Saturday night.

And that reality – the one where ‘being single’ gives off the air of not being a real grown up, just plain ‘sad’ and inevitable late night thoughts that I will end up dying alone with loads of cats – is a really horrible, hard pill to swallow sometimes. To put it bluntly it f*cking sucks.

I reviewed Spinster by Kate Bolick recently and aside from it being a Grade A for Awesome read, she magnificently highlights the stigma attached to being a single ‘spinster’ in our society and how much absolute bull that is.
In reality there really shouldn’t be any shame attached to being single. As Bolick so eloquently presents in the book, what is important is that women should be free to carve a path of their own life. Whether that includes marriage and children, or not is – frankly – none of your business.

Woman Up - Charlene Kaye & Kalae Nouvuae
Woman Up – Charlene Kaye ft Kalae Nouveau

For me Bolick’s sentiments in the book infer that choosing the so-called Spinster life will not lead you to becoming the crazy cat lady from The Simpsons. In fact, should you fall into that path you are in wonderful company. Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Coco Chanel, Greta Garbo, Florence Nightengale, and Bolick’s ‘awakeners’ – columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton, were all incredible women who lived amazing and fulfilling lives. Some married. Some divorced. Some were widowed. Some simply never found ‘the one’. And all of them were fine.

The take away from this post is to choose the life you want to lead consciously and with a self-awareness that is not driven by societal pressure to be one or the other. It’s feeling comfortable with the outcome of both imagined futures. Your time may come to say ‘I Do’ in a white wedding dress or it may not and that’s ok too.

Never forget that you are valid in b o t h instances.

I’d love to hear any thoughts you had on so-called ‘Spinster-hood’ and relationships in the comments. I’ve also listed a couple of links below from far more eloquent people than I if you fancy skimming around the Internet on the topic.

  • I’ve never been in a relationship in my life either. Some of my friends are starting to settle down and though I wish I have someone by my side some times. A best friend, someone to confide in. However I’m perfectly happy as a single girl. I love that I can do what I want and that I’m my own person who doesn’t depend on anyone else to make them happy. Of course I love love stories and I want to find the one, but for now I’m perfectly happy being single and I don’t think I’d mind it if that would stay that way forever. And if it changes that’s ok too.

    Thank you for this amazing post. I love your views on the topic and I’m glad I’m not the only one who has never been in a serious relationship. Sometimes I feel like I’m weird for not having had a relationship before, but posts like this make me realise that it’s totally ok and that in fact we aren’t less than anyone else. Valentine’s Day is a day that makes you wonder about these things right?

    Love, Eline | http://www.elinesreturnticket.blogspot.com

    • Thank you so much Eline! I’m glad I could open up the floor to a conversation on this :) Xx

  • I am in the same boat as you! To be honest, I don’t exactly want or need a relationship, and it’s not impacting on my self-worth, but I feel like it’s kind of just a milestone I haven’t reached yet and should have, if that makes sense?

    • That’s the thing though. Should it be a milestone for everyone? And it certainly feels the milestone is so heavily weighted towards women than men at times, it’s frustrating. Xx

  • M + K

    This is definitely a book we need to read! This is such a refreshing post on a topic we do feel passionate about. Being in a relationship does not define who you are at all. It’s so strange that in the 21st century, people still hold such outdated views. It’s also strange that there isn’t as much of a stigma attached to single men

    M + K

    • Thank you! I didn’t get to go too far into the differences between the bachelors/bachelorettes on this post but yes, you’re totally right. The stigma is so far weighted towards self-identifying women compared to men when it comes to this topic. Xx

  • Hailey Jade Ryan

    Trust me, it only get’s worse when you get older. I just turned 28 and it’s like an alarm signal for other people, when I tell them my age and that I’m single. And when I add that I don’t want to get married and have kids, it still shocks people. But I won’t apolpgize for living my life and making my own decisions. I don’t need a man to make me happy. I make myself happy.
    I added the book to my Amazon wishlist. Can’t wait to read it. Love this post! :)


    • Go you Hailey! And yay, I’m sure you’ll love the book! Xx