A ballad for the unwed

5

May 24, 2013 by alie

I thought we had a deal. We would either get hitched at the same time so our kids could be besties, or we’d be spinsters forever. Eighty years old, still eating butt-loads of cake and annoying everyone with our in-jokes. I thought we could remain as we were for a while longer: Going out for breakfast and moaning about how dumb boys are, and why do we love them when they’re so annoying? And where are the John Smiths and the Sean Beans and the Mr Darcys? But unspoken agreements fade when confronted with dashing young men. Next thing I know I’m walking down an aisle towards a beaming, tuxedoed groom. It’s not what you think. I take a sharp left at the altar and hold the flowers while my best friends, one by one, marry the men of their dreams.  In Australia the average age women tie the knot is 27, but no, not my friends. They all decide to get married in their early 20s. In fact I think they’re singlehandedly responsible for lowering the average age and making the rest of us feel old and unloved just that little bit earlier.

It all happens so quickly. At the beginning of the year we’re saying we’re done with guys forever, by the end of the year I’m being fitted for a bridesmaid dress, six months later I get a call saying ‘Don’t tell anyone yet, but I’m two months pregnant’ and I have to squeal with glee while secretly thinking, ‘No! Slow the frick down!’ Image

Suddenly the days of spontaneous road trips are over. No one’s dragging me out of bed for 6am pilates. No one can come out for coffee because they have to go grocery shopping for their little families. My friends come in a set now, like salt and pepper shakers; husband and wife.

My own life remains largely unchanged, I have a healthy fear of long term commitment, yet I continue to fall in love with everyone I pass in the street. The only thing I have responsibility for is a kitten with ADHD, and I’ll probably starve when the can of baked beans is empty, and I’m perfectly content with that thankyouverymuch. But all the while my friends stroke their expanding bellies and talk about morning sickness, and their search for the perfect mother’s group. And then there’s breast-feeding. It’s like people post-natally forget how awkward social situations get once boobs are whipped out. Suddenly everyone’s staring at the roof, or their lap, or intensely into the eyes of the perpetrator in an effort to seem ‘cool with it’.

The fact is, time gets the better of all of us. We’re thrust into the next phase of life whether we’re mentally prepared for it or not. Friendships change. Most survive the transition, some don’t. It’s the impending change that gives life its richness. It fends off stagnation. We have to change, but if anyone wants to not get married till you’re 30, come be my friend. We can have cool, smug single parties.

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5 thoughts on “A ballad for the unwed

  1. Scott says:

    Running out of single friends was one of the reasons I moved to Sydney, and decided to live in a college full of single theology students. I thought I would be safe here.

    Regrettably, the ones who aren’t in relationships are looking for them.

    Still, sitting on the sidelines playing the anti-Cupid has its perks, too.

  2. Tara Jane says:

    Even the married people feel like this. I hate that now there is a ring around my finger, people expect me to be settled down. I want the six am train rides home after a night in the town, I want the roadtrips to nowhere, I don’t want people pressuring me to get pregnant now that I’m a wife. Your ballad is being sung by many married people lost in a sea of young families.

    • alie says:

      Oh, good. So it’ll never end, haha. It is annoying isn’t it that we’re expected to keep up with everyone else. So much for enjoying each season of your life.

  3. Steph H says:

    loved reading these musings, very relatable.

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