Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Reader Mail #2

Rebecca writes, Still enjoy your blog, though I don't always agree.

Thanks, Rebecca. I don't always agree with what I write either. Sometimes I wake up in a ornery mood. And sometimes I'm testing out new ideas.

In response to a post on the article on the rising number of single people in their thirties (see blog 12/15) , Rebecca says that being married isn't for everyone.

There are problems being single, there are problems being married, there are problems being a parent: being alive is work. Often, they are different problems, that's all.

I completely agree. I didn't mean to imply that being married was somehow better than being single. I just wanted to mention the new statistics and make some cheap cracks at the professor who wrote about the fetishization of coupling.

The Paper Bag Princess (the book you mention in your blog that the prof recommended) is not about not being married, its about a young princess who is brave, and does lots of stuff to rescue the prince, who has no appreciation of her hard work & clever solutions, but criticizes her hair, clothes, etc. Most of the Moms I know love this book, because of the message that doing the right thing is more important than looking good.

Frankly, I have not read the Paper Bag Princess. I was just going by the article's summary of the book. If you think it has merits, I'll check it out. But usually I enjoying reading books to my kids that have fun rhymes or pretty pictures. I hope that Steve and myself set good examples to our kids about gender roles, so that I don't need to drive the point home with a book. I think it is far better for the kids to see Steve helping out around the house, rather than push the ideas on them with a book. Forcing an issue just paves the way for major teenage rebellion.

I've been married, and not married, and on the whole I like being married more, and think that its A Good Thing. On the other hand, the idea that being married solves all your problems (remember the old song - "going to the chapel"- and the line "I'll never be lonely again") is pretty pervasive. People don't always get married for good reasons (for them), and I'm sure you know people who stay married when its painful, when there is the possibility that it would be better to be single. I think that the woman in the article you cite is somewhat ludicrous, but that doesn't mean there isn't a kernel of a good idea in thinking about the reasons we have for being married or single.


Toni adds her single perspective.

Yes, total stigma if you are single. While you had tons of friends to hang out with in your early 30s, I on the other hand am surrounded by marrieds. Maybe I need to obtain some younger friends? Unfortunately, friends who are married and with children are not necessarily ready, willing or able to go out and tie-one-on. (Usually, they are willing, but they just aren't able.) People are like, "Why is a cute, smart girl like yourself single?" Me, "That's a great question. I wish I had an answer."

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