Posts Tagged: single women Results 5
Ever since reviewing Ruth Whippman’s book, America the Anxious, I’m attuned to the concept of happiness, and to its centrality in American life. I thought of it most recently when reading Heather Havrilesky’s recent Ask Polly column, “Ask Polly: I’m Pretending I’m Happy Single, But I’m Not!” The letter-writer may look like a proud, independent single woman, but her inner life goes otherwise: “I still grumble bitterly when I have to move out of the way of some happy couple on the sidewalk, or when I just feel too exhausted from a long workday to carry the groceries to my fifth-floor walk-up apartment all by myself.”
In one of the most remarkable moments in Paula Schargodorosky’s documentary, “35 and Single,” the viewer sees director, producer, and writer Schargodorosky in profile, with a handwritten list beside her face that reads: “25% of me wants to get married, 27% wants to be free, 26% longs for a spiritual life, 22% wants children.”
Oh, so much to react to in this New York Times story about women who spend years planning their weddings before meeting their grooms! First, the mixture of recognition and horror. I’ve always had ideas about the kind of wedding I’d like. Friends’ nuptials as well as ads in magazines have given me examples to react to, so I have a sense of what I find pretty or creative or too tacky for words. But I’m not obsessed with weddings; I just like plans.
According to Jane Eisner’s recent editorial, “For 2013, A Marriage Agenda,” I am a failure. So are the hordes of other young, unattached Jews who have committed significant time, effort and resources to enriching the communal life of the Jewish people. Our fatal sin: being single and childless. And yet without us, the Jewish world would be a bleaker, more boring, place.
Let me offer some examples.
Over the summer in The Atlantic, writer Kate Bolick looked into why smart, attractive women like herself may never get married. Through a heavy dose of anecdotes and a smattering of science, Bolick ascertained that the problem is that the more women achieve more the less they have in the way of marriage prospects. She boils her marriage choices down to two categories: the growing number of under-performing men (referred to as“deadbeats”), and the increasingly rare high-performing “playboys,” who have more power than ever in this era of male decline.