“I mean, how do people who are single, over forty with no children define themselves?”
Believe it or not I overheard this conversation today between two women in a cafe in the West End of Glasgow! At first I thought they were joking but then hearing the follow up to this notion I, and the other diners, realised they were serious. The women were discussing a single friend and were trying to decide whether or not to invite her to a dinner party. Apparently the poor girl had had no boyfriend/partner for a while and had no intention of “finding one” thus apparently making it “awkward” to “fit her in”. I am sorry, did I just step into the Tardis and go back in time rather than ordering a skinny latte? In a world where many women over forty hold great power or bank balances in their hands why does such an old fashioned notion still exist amongst so called educated women? The reason I say is that about five minutes later they were joined by another two friends who seemed to have the same ridiculous notion. Quote “I mean it was easy when she was with ****, we could invite them both”. It was like a moment from Sex and the City in reverse. Believe me it took a lot not to turn round and say something to them, but what it did do was make me think about this word define, and why some people find it necessary to put us into categories.
There are some definitions we cannot get away from, age boxes, where we live or the job we do but even within those parameters we are often judged. For example, everyone who works for an Investment Bank must be a money grabbing crook or everyone over 50 should act there age, but when we meet others and realise that these often pre conceived notions are ridiculous most of us stop “categorising” and just live and let live. If we feel we are defined by the fact that we are a mother, wife, husband, partner or father, does that not take away our individuality? Does that mean that because you are one thing you cannot be the other and you lose your own identity looking after your children or having to be home in time to cook?
I guess we all know what our own purpose is in life and as long as we are not influenced or coerced into changing that notion by the opinion of others then we stay true to who we are. But in a world where the image of beauty is still promoted by photoshop or the idea that you cannot be fit unless your abs are on show, we are still surrounded by these ridiculous ideals and definitions of what others think we should be. Thankfully, in the main, advertisers do not win and most of us can see that there are many strong, positive male and female role models out there who stand up to these so called “ideals” and can show that good abs or a flawless complexion do not make the woman!
So what was the upshot of the conversation in the cafe, well the women were not closed down by another female, nope it was a man who went over to their table. He said to them that he found their chat offensive and when they challenged him for eavesdropping, he pointed out that he had been sitting on the other side of the cafe and could hear them clearly from there and over the music! It did get me to thinking about that old issue when we have to tick the box, single, married, widowed or the classic other ????? I often feel like writing none of your business but instead I think I shall take leaf out of a very much defined character’s book. After all if Loki can have this much purpose with all his perceived flaws, why can’t I?
I’m perfectly happy to confess that I’m single, childless, over 40 and without any urge to define myself. I am also blessed to have many friends either single or married, over or under 40 and with or without children who are happy to accept me for the person I am and have no need to define me either.