Tag Archives: single ladies

To All The Single Old Maids

One of the benefits of living in Los Angeles is that I’m constantly bombarded by thought-provoking intellectual discourse.1 And so it happened this weekend that I came across two women at Starbucks whose conversation blew my mind.

Woman #1: Do you think I’m an old maid?
Woman #2: No, not at all!
Woman #1: I think I am.
Woman #2: Honey, you’re so not there yet.
Woman #1: I don’t know, I feel like I am.
Woman #2: You’re totally not.

Keep in mind that Woman #1 had probably just turned 22 (she was wearing knee-high boots with shorts and stretched out “uh huh” into three syllables).  At this point, Woman #2 deftly latte-swerved2 into a fascinating new topic (yoga!) and they abandoned the old maid talk. But it got me thinking: At what point do you go from being a single woman to being an old maid? What’s the lady to hag cutoff age?  And then: Jesus Christ, am I an old maid?  Wait–Why am I even thinking about this?  Why is anyone thinking about this?

Other than psychopaths, single women are probably the craziest, most irrational people in the whole world.  Our incessant desperation appears to stem entirely from our pathetic role in history:  Years ago, it was a lot easier to know whether you were packing up your hoo-ha for good.  Back in the olde days (when people added an “e” to “old” and my ancestors were building your railroads), everyone hooked up so young.  Once a girl hit double-digits, she was hiking up her petticoat and courting her cousin.  If a chick wasn’t married by 18, she was relegated to spinsterhood or thrown into a river (my ancestors).  But as we moved into the 20th century, it seems that the hag cutoff age was pushed back.  Feminists tried to suppress the entire “old maid” paradigm, because hey, women don’t need men!  We can vote now!

But of course, that’s not true.3  And so the “old maid” label persevered, bandied upon any husband-less, child-less woman with an unexplored crevasse and shriveled-up fallopian tubes.

Nowadays, the whole spinster exemplar has almost become chic.  The new-age old maid has evolved far past the cat-loving, never-been-kissed spinster of old(e).  While there are still classic examples (Susan Boyle, Susan B. Anthony, Suddenly Susan, and every other woman named Susan), there are now “career women” old maids (Condi Rice), “hot but mean” old maids (Ann Coulter), and “probably lesbian” old maids (Diane Keaton).  The old maid has become the equivalent of the expired cheese puff that you find between your couch cushions: revolting, yes, but somewhat endearing at the same time.

So back to the original question: When does a single woman become an old maid?  I don’t know.  It now seems anti-feminist to even think about such a thing.  So, I want to make a declaration, for all the single ladies out there who are so freaking worried about their descent into sad-sack spinsterhood: Girls, STOP FREAKING OUT. That thing that you want so desperately–to get married and then half-get divorced?–It will happen one day.  And if it doesn’t, well… kill yourself.4  But for now, just know that you should not have to put an expiration date on your happiness.  You should not have to settle.  Stop counting down the days to some imaginary deadline*, and just enjoy your life.  Besides, if Jennifer Aniston could be called an old maid, then we’re all screwed anyway.

*By the way, it’s probably, like, 37.


1 – If intellectual discourse was limited to only the weather, the gym, and new vegan restaurants.

2 – Latte-swerving is a fabulous conversation-avoidance technique honed in Los Angeles in which you switch topics by making a comment about your coffee. “Oh my God, I just burned my tongue on this coffee. Woo! That hurts! Anyway, enough about global warming, let’s talk about the gym!”  It’s brilliant.

3 – Women totally need men. We need men to kill things, like spiders.

4 – Do not do this unless you are Ann Coulter.

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The Young, Hip, Cat Lady

My friend wants to get a cat.

Of course, being a compassionate and caring friend, I immediately offered my thoughts on cutesy cat names like “Mitten” or “Cookiemonster.”  I helped her do research on cat breeds.  I even reassured her that cats sounded like great pets (less needy than dogs, more furry than fish).  And at no point did I wonder aloud, “Single and in your twenties… do you really want to get a cat?”

Yes, I think it’s bold and honorable that my friend is trying to shatter the glass litter box.  Cat ownership should not be limited to lonely, hunchbacked, elderly women who wear triangle-frame spectacles and veer wildly off-topic in everyday conversation.  The new Cat Lady demographic will skew younger, less nearsighted, and more lucid.  The cat companionship creed shall read: “Cats: A Young, Single Woman’s Best Friend.”

Haters will say that this is the beginning of the end for my friend.  They’ll say that cats are haughty and antisocial.  They’ll say that she won’t ever meet anyone walking her cat at the park (not anyone worth meeting, anyways).  They’ll say that she will end up an old, lonely, hunchbacked woman with a slew of cats gnawing at her toes, hoping that she’s dead.

But, who needs earthly human companions anyway?  No, a cat’s meow can’t alert us of burglars or help us set up a retirement plan.  Still, a sweet, declawed tabby cat can be a wonderful, low-cost, husband-alternative: one who will stay loyal, listen to your grievances, and obediently appear in your Christmas card photos dressed like a midget Santa Claus.  Plus, once your cat has babies, you’ll be able to fill the other half of your queen-sized bed with those warm bodies.  You may always have to settle for being big spoon (unless you decides to get a tiger), but at least you’ll have someone.

For my friend, it’s a big decision, of course… big enough to warrant a one-hour special on Animal Planet.  I just hope that she considers all the implications of her groundbreaking role as Young Cat Lady.  I don’t want her to have any regrets…

Speaking of regrets (and veering wildly off-topic), this weekend I saw a shirtless hiker with the following tattooed around his left nipple: L  (nipple) L.  And I did.


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Desperate Times Lead to Desperate Measures (or DateACougar.com)

This is for all of you who are single: not tied down, not attached, and enjoying or hating every minute of it. You may be recently single, perpetually single, single and happy, single and desperate, single with kids, single with cats, or single with alcohol… Whatever brand of “single” you currently are, these are my thoughts on how singlehood progresses, by the years.

Note: For the guys, I’ve included a football translation, since everything else written below will likely never cross your mind… or will be at least 10 years delayed.

PREGAME (under 25)

You’re young, just out of college, and starting your career. You can justify going out every night. You don’t really care to be tied down just yet… Why not have some fun?

KICKOFF (age 25)

You were just out of school, fresh-faced and young…and all of a sudden, you’re 25. You’re now on the tail end of your twenties, 5 years away from 30, and halfway to 50. You’ve hit the last government-enforced age restriction, but being able to rent a car without a fee isn’t all that exciting. (At least you’re one step closer to the next milestone… getting your Social Security check in 40 years). So now you’re staring down your future, an empty martini in your hand, while all your friends are getting married and sending you pictures of their adorable gurgling babies. Maybe it’s time to think about settling down…


Remember that cute guy in college? The one who sat behind you in class, was mildly awkward, but probably very nice? He’s the guy you’d never think about going out with before, but now… well, you’re thinking about giving him a chance. You start to look at people in a different way: old friends, work friends, and friends of friends… how would they look in your wedding photo? You begin trolling around Facebook to find out if the cute guy in college is still cute… and finally agree to be set up by your mom on a date.

NEW GAMEPLAN (age 30-34ish)

OK, now that you’ve hit a new decade, throw out your old playbook and begin anew. You’re not quite desperate just yet… But yeah, speed dating is no longer all that strange, eHarmony is perfectly legitimate, and there seem to be some nice guys on Craigslist as well. Romance novels and Lifetime movies become idea generators: you start spending less time at the bar and more time at the grocery store…or the art museum… or the library. Even though you may not meet your soulmate at an AA meeting, at least you know that it’s an option, too.

THE HAIL MARY (age 34ish +)

The cute guy from college doesn’t have to be cute, the blind date doesn’t have to be charming, and potential suitors don’t have to be tall, dark, or handsome, as long as they have a job (…and are actually single). You have surpassed the cusp of desperation, where “settling” is an oft-embraced option… right there along with “cougarism”. And there’s no shame in putting yourself out there either, in the form of soul-bearing, heart-wrenching, often-amusing personal ads.

Actual lines from personals in this month’s issue of Harvard Magazine:

“For a really good time, join Science Connection, the singles group for people who can have fun and analyze it too.” – Way to drag down the cool Harvard name even more, guys.

“I’d like to lose my head and find my heart.” – Perhaps we can find your heart at the cheese factory.

“I may be the software for your hardware, in the most non-technological way…. Favorite activity: Burning bright.” – I don’t even know how to respond to this one, other than, “Call me?”

VICTORY (any age)

Honestly, if the above ads represent the pool of people who are currently single, we’re giving up right now. No more ordering salads, feigning interest, and suffering through awkward small talk. We’ve accepted it, welcomed it, and convinced ourselves that this was the plan all along: SINGLEHOOD 4 LIFE.  See, if he liked it, then he should’ve put a ring on it. Now we’re free to flirt with the gardener, make eyes at firemen, and own a bunch of cats without fear of judgment. But… if anyone has any suggestions for cats that can cook and clean, please let me know. I’m desperate.

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Rising to #1 on the Billboard Charts: TARP Commentary from Flo Rida and Britney Spears

Throughout the history of music, we’ve always had a knack for uncovering subliminal messages hidden in our favorite songs. Sometimes the discovery was subtle and unexpected, like playing the Beatles’ record backwards to hear “Paul is dead.” Sometimes the messaging was not as subtle, like hearing Britney Spears beg for someone to “If You Seek Amy” in her new salacious (and radio-censored) song.

Most of the time, pop music is like Brit-Brit: it’s quite literal. Thus when the pop diva asks us to satisfy her penchant for four-letter words, we know what she means. When Beyonce implores the male species to “put a ring on it,” she’s giving our deadbeat boyfriends a pretty clear directive. And when Lady Gaga sings “Just Dance”, well, we…just dance. But for every straight shooter in the music business, there’s always someone out there who just wants to if-you-seek-ay-with our heads.

The following are some examples of masterful, even Shakespearean, trickery; behind the poppy lyrics and tempo beats, we have discovered their true intentions:

volcanoBurnin’ Up (Jonas Brothers): “I’m slipping into the lava / And I’m trying to keep from going under / Baby who turned the temperature hotter / ‘Cause I’m burning up, burning up”

  • Take it literally: The musically-gifted but awfully-coiffed trio is on the precipice of an exploding volcano. An exploding volcano of love.
  • Think about it: If the brothers were to actually slip into lava, they would immediately die. So this song isn’t about love at all; it’s about an extreme fear of love. After all, who wants to burn to death in a pool of flaming magma? Not anyone I know.

akonRight Now (Akon): “I wanna make up right now na na / I wanna make up right now na na / Wish we never broke up right now na na / We need to link up right now na na”

marketcrashRight Round (Flo Rida ft. Katy Perry): “You spin my head right round / Right round / When you go down / When you go down down”

  • Take it literally: So yeah, it sounds like he maaayy be talking about fellatio… Or stripping.  Either way, adult activities.
  • Think about it: It’s a recession, people. And Katy Perry clearly has a thing for girls. So what else is going down down, and making our heads spin right round? Of course… the stock market. The Dow just can’t keep it up, and with all the painful pullbacks, it’s been one wild ride on the Street. There’s nothing sexual about it. And if you seek proof, just ask for Amy.

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If He Liked It Then He Should’ve Put a Ring On It…

A few weeks ago, the number one movie in the country was the chick flick He’s Just Not That Into You. The movie featured a quintet of charming women who were all incidentally looking for love, and only love. Career? Eh. Family? Pooh pooh. Happiness? Well of course… as long as it’s got a diamond ring attached.


To me, the women in the movie would have made Susan B. Anthony turn in her grave. They were caricatures of the worst attributes in the female populace: needy, obsessive, and undeniably crazy, fawning shamelessly after their male counterparts. I didn’t enjoy the movie all that much, but then again, it was hard to relate: the only time that I shamelessly hunt down men is when they’re serving h’or dourves. I’m not a huge fan of romance novels, winking emoticons, or using “heart” as a verb.

jasonBut that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate a good love story. Like so many others, I became addicted to ABC’s The Bachelor this winter, with Jason Mesnick. I watched while Jason played the role of the charming, sensitive dad from Seattle. I watched him make heartbreaking decisions week after week, until it was finally down to two, Molly and Melissa. I watched as he proposed to Melissa, and broke Molly’s heart in New Zealand… And then I watched him pull a little switcheroo in the “After the Final Rose” follow up, revoking his love for Melissa and asking Molly to take him back.

Uh yeah. If there is any reason for my cynicism, it’s this guy.

During the show, I was G-chatting and exchanging text messages with a few friends. Some immediate reactions from the peanut gallery after Jason’s big announcement:

“I feel like I just found out Santa Claus isn’t real.”

“I could throw something.”

“Please don’t date a douchebag… This definitely makes me reevaluate the way I treat girls.” (Thanks, AV)

susanbMy problem with the whole thing is that it’s just another example of a woman getting screwed over by a man, and then running right back into his arms. Just like in HJNTIY, it astounds me that we continue to chase after d-bag guys. Molly, if he liked you then he would’ve put a ring on you… the first time. He wouldn’t have let you go, and he certainly wouldn’t have proposed to another woman. In essence, you don’t deserve to be treated like crap. (Ahem, Rihanna, are you paying attention?)

In the end, I imagine Susan B. Anthony on the silver dollar, rolling her eyes: “Well, it looks like we haven’t made much progress on the feminist front… Damn, I can’t believe I busted my ass for this. Women empowerment? Please. If I could do it all again, I’d just get married. I want some of that Rutherford B. Hayes. Mmm hmm.” Go get ‘im, girl.

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A Few of Our Favorite Things, on YouTube

I don’t care much about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Copper kettles can kill you and I’m fine with cold mittens. Brown paper packages can hide away bombs… and can’t whiskers also be found on most dogs?

Some of my favorite things, ex-family and friends? Cookie dough, cloudless skies, panda bears, The Land Before Time, the word “chimichangas”, the Christmas tree smell, dollar cost averaging, fajitas, and rhyming words that don’t rhyme, like “bombs” and “dogs”.

But when you’re feeling down, it’s not always easy to find some of your favorite things, especially if you’re looking for a panda (cough, cough, environment alert). Thus, we must use the power of YouTube, the best source for cheer-up entertainment since Fraulein Maria and the traveling puppet show.

In fact, I’d like to argue that YouTube isn’t all just about dancing parrots and other meaningless frivolities. There are some pretty deep videos out there that can serve as an important narrative for our generation. The following are some edifying clips to amuse, but also enlighten:

“Cubby dances to Beyonce’s Single Ladies video”: Is this meant to be a comic repudiation of pro-woman, feminist lyrics — or, is it a satire of another over-sexualized music video? Either way, I leave impressed with the durability of today’s leotards:

“Everyone has feelings”: The Care Bears remind us all that we have feelings; ironically, they do this by depicting a grumpy tree which is transformed at the end of the song. But, let’s be honest: trees do not have feelings. And science hasn’t proved that bears possess the human capacity to empathize. Talk about the blind leading the blind…

“Crazy 80s workout”: This is probably how Cubby has been working out. The video not only introduces us to new 80s-era exercise techniques, but it also brings back the soothing, you’re-still-on-hold music. A true relic. Plus, more leotards… who can resist?

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