So Is She Normal?
A girl decides to end a serious six-year long relationship. Instead of getting married to him, she decides to part ways as she feels he ain’t the man for her. Marriage wasn’t part of her plans and claims to be happy this way. But her friends, family and all who know about the episode are convinced she must be unhappy. Typical exclaims — “No doubt she is miserable? How could she not, for after all she was unmarried and no good match may be possible now? She must be hiding something and most likely he must have left her?” — followed and only increased with time.
Isn’t it something we see in our lives, in media everywhere. A model recently committed suicide and while words like single, depression, love affairs, unrequited love, parties, etc came up, a line was common everywhere: “She was depressed because she was single.”
An increasing number of women have high-paying jobs. Many of these intend to marry late (after all, biology is not tough to manage today!) and some even prefer to stay single. A late marriage does not come easy socially but for those who choose to stay single, stereotypical attitude at times becomes too far from humane.
The concept of being single is even more difficult for a divorcee or a widow. A complete disregard of status for such women in various sections of our society, forces them to not only feel guilty of their circumstances but also pity themselves. People feel that there must be something with the girl only that the man divorced her. In case of the widow, her husband’s death is blamed on her past life’s sins. While we all talk that the times are changing, but there surely in little change in our mindsets, our houses, our neighbourhood and our extended family.
The basic fact that they might just be happy with their current state of affairs (including relationship status) is of little consequence. To most, their life is incomplete.
I AM SINGLE, BUT NOT A SLUT
A girl moves into a new neighbourhood. She is in her early thirties and starts living alone. After a few relationships, she decides to wait for someone who she would like to marry. Or probably she is just out of a bad divorce, or widowed. She decides to stay single.
But consequences of this decision aren’t easy for her. Many men (be it single, in a relationship or even married) think that she is single, it’ll be easy to bed. Sexual frustration of such girls is not only pre-supposed in such cases but some men even take it a point to ask it bluntly.
Today when I just asked an acquaintance why such women are approached more than unmarried women, pat came his reply “The usual notion is after their lost status, they have to accept what comes their way and thus, come with minimal emotional baggage attached.”
I AM SINGLE, BUT MY LIFE IS NOT INADEQUATE
She is a divorcee, a single mother and has not only a great career, many friends and a strong family support system. But she is devoid of marital tag. Poor Mrs Chadha got so tense about her, “Poor girl, she is not married. How will she be happy. You know you should not risk this. Twade khandaan di izzat da ki hovega agar ae behak gayi (What will happen to the respect of your family if she goes astray.” Well, had Mrs Chadha spent all this time, energy and worry on her treadmill, she may have lost a good 10 kilos off herself.
The dominant view in Indian society is that for a woman, getting married is the primary, if not the sole, route to happiness. Most people believe that a single woman’s life will be bereft of real meaning unless and until she gets married. And the stereotypes don’t end here. Single women are either supposed to be promiscuous or they don’t get any. And if, a divorcee/widow gets remarried, all that can be thought is that the roll over was done to have perfect sex.
I AM SINGLE, BUT I HAVEN’T SLEPT MY WAY AT WORK
“Hmm… She is quite successful and has an excellent pay package.” But often, the next line usually is “Do you know who all in the corporate world she has slept with?” Most men even don’t care to consider a basic fact that she is talented. Probably, that wasn’t relevant at all. If that ain’t enough, any single woman’s foul mood, is blamed on her relationship status.
All women need to make a tough choice at one point of their professional life — marriage or career. In case of marriage, the career needs to be put on hold to meet the demanding needs of the new household — recall the phrase, Behind every successful man there is a woman!! Only a few married women are lucky enough to say something similar.
If a woman decides against to postpone getting married or have kids to rather work on her career, her maternal instincts are questioned. And not just that, discussions are held about her biological cycle and even its length. But nothing ever is mentioned if there can be a guarantee how the husband will turn out to be. And moreover, the access to a sperm back is not only easier but also a guaranteed minimal hassle support.
I AM SINGLE, BUT WHY PAY ME LESS?
In case of single women, many companies have strange theories/philosophies. HR executives have been found thinking that such employees are devoid of any financial responsibilities and thus, a salary hike can be tad lower for them than a married colleague.
Almost all single women have their stories/episodes to share. The Mrs Chaddhas and the Mrs Balasubramaniams and Mrs Khans are all faces of our society’s anxiety about the way these women (single, divorcee or widow) are and why they are the way they are.