Who's Afraid of a Spinster?
My bachelor brother with his protracted disinterest in long-term relationships has been admired by my family, even envied for his lifestyle.
He travels extensively by plane and by motorcycle, embarking on weekend escapades across oceans and highways. His life overflows with energetic activities which reap a compilation of colorful photographs: tangible evidence of a life lived fully.
My playwriting, on the other hand, despite productions and positive reviews, is still seen as the hobby of a hermit, and my “activity of imagination,” invisible to the common eye, remains baffling to my family. Not at all enviable.
Is exercising the muscles of our body more highly esteemed in our society than excising the muscles of our brain? Is traveling to other countries, more desirable than traveling across the maps of our minds, hearts and souls?
And is it partly this ostensible “worldliness” of Bachelors that gives them an allure that Spinsters lack?
Or does this double-standard extend much deeper in our social psyche? Are we still swayed by the stereotypes of the Living-It-Up Bachelor and the Lonely Spinster, and if so, does this create suspicion on both sides? The commitment-phobic vs. the relationship-hungry?
But if “being alone” doesn’t translate as “lonely” for Bachelors, why should it for Spinsters?
In reality, women frequently spend many years of their lives “alone.” Women often outlive their husbands (living a productive ten, twenty or thirty years more), and yet, our society doesn’t seem comfortable with women who consciously choose to live alone; who realize we can live without a man handy at all times. We must fall into “alone” tragically, it seems, not claim it for ourselves wholeheartedly.
When we do fall into it, however, we are often reborn, finding a strength we never knew we possessed; uncovering Liberty, not the Loneliness we seem to be encouraged to fear.