I'm Just Saying…

May 28, 2010

Same Time, New Year

Filed under: Daily Life — jillamyrosenblatt @ 2:43 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

This month I’m celebrating my birthday. I am thirty – again. I like the number. I like the sound of the number and so I’ve decided to keep it for a while.  Yes, I know it’s childish but since there’s a kid in all of us, vive la childishness.

Each year at this time I take a moment to do some reflecting. I look ahead to the challenges that are still before me, you know, mountains to climb, yada, yada, yada,  experiences to experience, blah, blah, blah.   I also reflect on the past, the frustrations and accomplishments. To be truthful this year I’m just glad I’m not having a repeat of last year; a neighborhood cat was shadowing my every step. And we all know the connotation society has placed on cats for the unmarried woman. A cat heralds the marrying mode has passed, the train has left the station and I am standing on an empty platform. Well, not quite—a cat is there.

When I returned home from work each night I found the cat sitting in the middle of the parking lot. There are many homes nearby.  Why did I assume the cat was waiting for me? Because it waited while I parked. It sat expectantly while I gathered my personal belongings. When I got out, it sidled up and rubbed its body against the open door. It looked longingly into my motor vehicle. It wanted to come inside. It followed me to my front door, sitting there, meowing plaintively. I knew what the meows meant.  “It’s you and me kid. Why don’t you let me in? You know you want to.” I complained to my mother about the cat. Her response? “You need to get married.”

I think to myself each year, “I haven’t gotten married yet.” I find it disconcerting marriage has been downgraded to an item on a checklist, a rung on the ladder of life to be completed along with “earn Master’s degree, purchase first home.” I think marriage could be marketed as part of a package, like killing two birds with one stone. “Spacious 2 bedroom 2 bath ranch style home comes with fireplace, full basement, and a six foot, one hundred eighty pound Corporate Accounts Manager who enjoys fine dining, spending quiet time together, and traveling.” I may be on to something.

 So why do women obsess over marriage? Julian Barnes said, “Women were brought up to believe that men were the answer. They weren’t. They weren’t even one of the questions.”   I think he’s right. I think marriage was hotwired into our DNA from the moment we got our first Barbie. We were brainwashed that all we needed in life to be happy is Ken, the Townhouse, and the Camper. We never had a chance.  For a species that is the gatherer in the hunter-gatherer matrix,  don’t we have this backwards? We are perpetually on the hunt as if we’re tracking big game. I should have asked for a pith helmet for Christmas years ago. Maybe that’s why I’m not married; I don’t have the right gear.  

There are countless things to do: study a foreign language, take an art appreciation class, watch CNN.  There are countless subjects to investigate and discuss: global warming, the state of US-European relations, the dangers of hormone injected cows. These are all important topics. Maybe I should attend a panel discussion or join an online forum. Who knows? I might meet my future husband. I know, I never learn.

As I celebrate another year,  it’s almost time to pull the plug on my yearly reflection, I think maybe men and women are not so different after all. Men crave a successful job, a big house, and a beautiful wife as status symbols of their success. Maybe for women, having a husband is a sign of success, social success. The presence of a husband says, “That’s right world, I’m part of a couple. I’m not alone, living in a house at the end of the block – with my cats.”  Or something like that.

I’m just saying.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend!

J.

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1 Comment »

  1. Gender socialization still has a long way to go. Men who live alone with cats are bachelors. No negative connotation implied. In fact, for them, pet ownership might be viewed as a compassionate trait.

    Women who live alone with cats are spinsters. Yup, I said it. The “S” word. It’s not used anymore: One of those very un-p.c. terms. But you better believe it’s still in the public conciousness.

    As a single woman, I have experienced the placating looks of others when I share with them the fact that I live with several beloved cats.

    However, I would no more allow others’ predjudices to determine my pets than I would my career or living situation.

    There is a profound danger in a woman believing that her life is inferior in some way to the lives of married women around her.

    That would just be buying into the idea that a woman is not a complete being without the approval of a man.

    Comment by Debra — May 28, 2010 @ 5:27 am | Reply


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