By Ruby de Vera
Last updated 06:20pm (Mla time) 08/24/2007
MANILA, Philippines—An Open Letter to the Concerned Family and Friends of Thirty-something Single Women*
This letter aims to address several areas that have been brought to our attention repeatedly, i.e. every occasion that requires people to bring their significant others and we turn up alone and dateless. While we appreciate your well-meant comments about the state of our ovaries, please take a moment to hear our side.
1 We are not unhappy. Where you got the idea that single women mope around whining about the fact that they don’t have someone, we will never know. We try to live our lives as best as we can, and I think we’re doing good. Most of us are professionals successful in our respective fields, independent, smart, well-traveled, and knowledgeable about a lot of things. While it might appear that we are obsessed (and sometimes we are) about our Jo Malones, Lampe Bergers, Havaianas, gadgets and such [abumeLt adds fangirl items, example, Bruce Wilis' hard to find DVDs], we are not compensating the lack of a man’s presence in our lives by being materialistic. We can afford what we obsess about anyway, with our own hard-earned money.
2 We don’t envy married people, and we have reason to believe that some of them envy us and our lifestyles. Judging from statistics, couples are more caught up in the wedding than the marriage itself. True, there are many couples who are the best fit for each other (hurray for you guys), but how many marriages dissolve before they reach their tenth anniversary? I have lost count of newlywed girl friends advising her single friends not to rush it, and coming from someone who’s married for only two months, that’s a little scary. Take somebody who’s been married for more than 10 years and ask him/her straight if they’re truly and deeply happy inside out with their lives. Chances are they will say, “Yes, because we have kids.” Which is the biggest bullshit. Marriage is about two people who rock each other’s world, and working at it until one partner’s breathing stops. Children are just a bonus. A good marriage should be able to work even without producing offspring.
abumeLt: and it's not only the newlywed girl friends that advice us singletons to not rush things, in my case, it's mostly the divorced/annulled friends/relatives that tell me to take my time.
3 That brings us to another thing, children. Yes, we are aware that women have biological clocks, that past the age of 35 it would be rather difficult to conceive, blah blah blah. Contrary to the winning answer to a beauty pageant question, having children is not the end-all be-all of a woman. [abumeLt adds, i actually don't have anything to add, I just want to agree to this, with conviction] What about those who cannot bear a child because of nature’s bad joke? Will she lose her life’s meaning just because she can’t bring another life into this overpopulated world? While we acknowledge the fact that children do bring meaning to their parent’s lives (see Doodle, Abbey), we can be mothers to children not our own. It can be our own nieces and nephews, or kids we haven’t even met yet (see World Vision).
4 We don’t subscribe to the crap that we have to have children so someone will take care of us in our old age. It’s unfair to the child, that he’s brought here for a purpose. I once saw on a TV documentary a couple who has 21 children, and when asked why do they have so many, the father answered “Isa dyan ang mag-aahon sa amin.” To pass that burden to your children is not right, and to have kids for that sole purpose is just plain sick.
5 We don’t hate men. We like them very much, as a matter of fact (see Trillo, Dennis; Ventimiglia, Milo; Pitt, Brad; Underwood, Blair; et al [abumeLt adds, LaBeouf, Shia to this list ^_^]). However, we are old enough and know enough not to settle for just anybody. Most of us have had strings of failed relationships under our belts, and we have learned from them. We have done our share of compromises and sacrifices, yet we know that if one day we wake up and we don’t recognize ourselves anymore, it’s time to run as far away as we can from the man. We’re not stupid. We’d rather be alone than to be with somebody who needs our constant assurance and coddling, then we turn our backs and they go off chasing lampposts with skirts.
6 In line with that, don’t set us up with your loser friends, or the loser sons of your friends. We can manage to find our own dates, thank you very much. We can go to dinner with our friends instead if we don’t have dates, and we can pay for it. We don’t need dates to take us to fancy places, because most probably we’ve been there already.
Kate: Oh how I love this item. Noticed the extra emphasis there? *smug*
abumeLt: i swear, i'll make a shirt that goes "I am single, but nope, I won't date your single friend."
7 Don’t harp about our age. Don’t keep on saying that we’re of the marrying age, that at our age you already have three children. It’s different now. We have so many options we’re actually overwhelmed which one to take first. French or Spanish? Capoeira or Muay Thai? Bangkok or Singapore? MBA or some other degree? US, Canada, or Australia? Visa or Mastercard? Wedge or stilettos?
Kate: My cousins and aunts and uncles should read this part. Or maybe I should print this in a cardboard then wear it the next time we see each other. Brilliant!
abumeLt: my relatives should read this entire article so they'll find something more interesting to say to me each time we see each other than, "O may boyfriend ka na ba?"
8 We’re not bitter. We’re not cynical. We’re just grounded, sensible people who believe that if there are fairy tales and happy endings, there are also villains. We know that beauty, riches and fame are not enough to bring you happiness (see Aniston, Jennifer [abumeLt reacts to this, I like the woman and I think she's single and happy]; Aquino, Kris; Gutierrez, Ruffa; Barretto, Gretchen; Quiambao, Miriam; et al). We believe that we should first be happy with who we are before we can be happy with someone else. We know that men will not complete us, rather they should complement us. We have to make peace with ourselves and our flaws first lest we bring that baggage into a promising relationship.
We hope that the above points are clear enough, and the next time you see us these kinds of conversation will not happen anymore:
“Ay, kanino ka ngang anak?” (Kay [parent’s name] po.)
“Ang laki mo na iha! Nung huli kitang makita ganito ka pa lang kalaki. Ilang taon ka na ba?” ([Age] po.)
“May asawa ka na?” (Wala pa ho.)
“O, ikaw lang? Asan ang boyfriend mo?” (Wala akong boyfriend ngayon.)
“Bakit? Naku napag-iiwanan ka na. [Laughter]”
Kate: I will be convicted of Homicide if someone dares to say THAT to me. Single or not. SRSLY.
abumeLt: You're lucky no one has said that to you yet. I even get lines like. "O, nakita kita the other day sa mall with a guy ha, sino yung kasama mo? (totally baseless because here they're just trying to get me to 'fess up to something that isn't there)"
This is our cue to get out our AK-47s and start shooting people at random. So please, read the memo.
*Straight single women. The girls who like girls can say their own piece, and no, we don’t have anything against them.