I mentioned yesterday that I had my first knitting class on Monday. A friend was teaching two of us to knit over hot chocolates and a catch up in a book cafe, and it was very pleasant.
Once I had mastered casting on and while (rather unevenly) weaving wool around my needles, I mentioned that I am currently half way through Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch. After giving some initial thoughts (which I will save for later for you) we started to talk about female stereotypes and my fellow knitting pupil said something I wanted to share with you.
“I am really fed up with receiving unsolicited sympathy for being a single woman in my mid thirties”, she said. “If my friend is in a loveless marriage, that is socially acceptable, but somehow the fact that I am very happy yet single is an uncomfortable proposition for people.”
I had to agree with her. I am usually a bit of a serial singleton, totally happy in my free-to-be-selfish state. However, for the last few months I have been happily paired up with a very socially acceptable man and it’s made me realise how much easier this state of couple-ness sits with people.
The friend in question has, in the past, been paired up at dinner parties with a spectacularly pear shaped man (“have you ever *seen* a pear shaped man?” she asked… “very odd.”) And her friend doing the pairing up seriously thought that she would be grateful for the partnership.
If she was a man of the same age, would she experience the same misplaced societal sympathies? Is an adult of any gender going solo seen as someone who hasn’t yet achieved their life’s goal, or is this a particularly female burden to bear? As always, your thoughts from both male and female experiences are solicited….