On My Home Planet

I have an opinion about everything, and here it is for the world to see.

Hating on: morons, self-righteous political extremists, the man-and-baby-hating strain of feminism, CraigsList, yuppies, careerists, white liberal guilt, people devoid of any sense of morals or personal responsbility, and other generally clueless and misguided types who continually piss me off.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Welcome to "The Club"

The "Ring on My Finger" club that is. In the eyes of much of society, engagement isn't about "getting ready to get married." Engagement is about "OK, I definitely have to treat this person like a legitimate human being, if I haven't been already."

And no, I can't make a happy "I'm engaged!" post. Sure, I'm happy, but this is my blog and I like to bitch! None of you are here for my positive sunshininess anyway. So bitch I shall...

When I turned 26 a year ago and was -gasp!- unmarried and childless, it gave people cause to be judgemental and act superior. A few people who I had thought I would be tight with till the day I died decided I was a moral failure as a woman, completely toxic, and in one case, too dangerous an influence to be around their child. I stopped getting invited to hang out with certain people, socializing was for "married couples only." What I did and did not choose to do in my spare time was up for public criticism as though it were a moral issue. I was bombarded with the messages that I was still single because I wasn't smart enough, interesting enough, spiritual enough, slutty enough, educated enough, a good enough person, fit enough, pretty enough, on and on ad nauseum. Heard some stupid bullshit preaching about how I'd better not want a family, and why the hell haven't I gotten that graduate degree I know I never want, but society seemed to demand of me as a historically overacheiving, 26-and-unmarried woman? (Holy hell, can we please let that stupid 1500 on the 1995 SATs go already?! I mean, that was so long ago that I hadn't even heard of the Internet! Not to mention, my being intelligent doesn't negate my right to decide what's going to make me happy and pursue those goals!) I was a weak and needy person for wanting to get married, a bad modern-woman for wanting children, etc. My marital status or lack thereof, was far more a product of "lack of options" than an actual conscious choice on my part, and those close to me were aware that I was unhappy about my situation. Beautiful and glamourous though she was, I just never wanted to be the Wilona in the Good Times of my life.

Now I am legitimized. A carat and a half on my left hand is the key for me to be "worthy", who knew? I'd have bought one for myself years ago if I'd known how much nicer it was going to make everybody act towards me. Now that I'm part of the "Ring on My Finger Club", people who turned on me before are slowly crawling back to me wanting to make nice. But what does it say about your character that someone has to be married for you to want to treat them like ahuman being? (Sidenote... I am also encountering those who apparently have been feeling all along, "Well Toomuchcoffeelady has XYZ and I don't, but I'm married and she's not so I'm going to throw my happy personal life in her face!" and are now at a loss for grounds for feeling superior.) People now accept me and my choices for what they are, without trying to tie some negative moral significance to it to cut me down. It's all of a sudden OK for me to have the personal goals that I do - strong marriage, having children and being a damn good mom to them - it's OK for me to define and go after what makes me happy now, I'm getting married! Although I am still the same mortal with the same shortcomingas as before, nobody has criticized me nor suggested that I do something to better myself (which I heard basically daily as one of the Not-engaged-not-married). I am slowly noticing adults (the kind who remember the 70's) seem to be taking things that I have to say more seriously, like having a ring has made me smarter and more perceptive than ever before.

The funny thing is, as much as people would bash the institutions of marriage and motherhood in front of me when I was single, or pitched them to me as something I somehow wasn't good enough to be able to handle had the option been available, they've completely stopped that now. Um, if you have been blissfully happy all along with your (married with children) life, why did you make it sound to me like you were miserable? If you agreed with me that my old "all I have going for me is a resume, fat paycheck, etc" existence was a shallow and piss-poor substitute for what really matters in life, why didn't you tell me so or even try to help me figure a way out of it? Better you had been honest with me and tell me what I have been missing - even if the truth hurts. And it's not like I hadn't already figured that out. That is what you're supposed to do if you care about someone - be honest with them, even if it's just unconstructive criticism, know that calling out the elephant in the room alone sometimes can be enough to help them. When you're not, it makes me wonder what else you see in my life that I don't that you could help me by briging to my attention. Last I checked, we were here to help each other.

I don't know why, but as a society, we seem quite hung up on other people's choices, especially those that have no effect on us and are really none of our business. For whatever reason, the "marrieds vs singles" seems to be such a hot button.

It's not that I'm complaining about the attention and special treatment, but the fact is that the support should have been there for me all along. My moral value as a human being and who I am on the inside have not changed just because I'm engaged; I am no more or less deserving of being treated well than I was pre-engagement. Those in my life should have been accepting me for who I am, what I want out of life no matter how close or far I was from attaining those goals, and where I am in life all along, not just suddenly granting acceptance to me because a man gave me a diamond.

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At 12:48 PM, Blogger Ibid thinks I'm the coolest...

People see the choices that you make as either validation of, or an attack on, their choices. If you don't get married it must be because you think they made the wrong decision to get married. If you decide not to have children it must be because you think less of them for having kids. This is part of why polls are so popular. They need validation that everyone else supports what/who they support.

My friends had a phase where they had to make a decision about whether to continue including me in group activities. I'm the only one not married, would I have fun hanging out with people who are? Luckily they decided that if I was fine when we were a pack of single people that I'd be fine hanging out with all the same people after losing the game of matrimonial musical chairs.

There's enough people who won't hang out with people without kids that there's social groups for people who don't have them. I used to run the Kansas City chapter of No Kidding. Now I attend DC get togethers. The bulk of members are people who have decided not to have kids ever, but people who just have not had kids YET are also welcome in most chapters. Some have been cast out by friends with kids as being unworthy, some just can't hang out with friends because some kid related conflict always comes up at the last moment.

What got under my skin was when another of my friends who had been single nearly forever finally found a guy. After all the nights of mutually being single she switched to the attitude that "there's someone for everyone" when only a month before she said the opposite. It took some time to break her of that... or at least break her of saying that sort of crap around me.

And the "why didn't you say that before?" You have to understand that both stories are true. All the moaning and complaining about their spouse/baby and how much they miss being single/childfree is true. But the stories about how much they enjoy being married/having kids is also true.

Anyway, congratulations again on the ring.

At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous thinks I'm the coolest...

Hells yeah! Bitch on! :)

It sucks how people will totally change their views on you once you change your status (or they change theirs). Whether you're single, engaged, they're single, coupled up, etc, people will always find something to bitch about. That stinks that people have been going bipolar on you from before and after the engagement. Just remember, their opinion doesn't matter. Only your own.

At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Class factotum thinks I'm the coolest...


The only person who still hassles me is my grandmother. She is quite distressed that I have made it to 42 without marrying, even though I was the first of her grandkids (there are 24 of us) to go to college.

Not that I wouldn't have liked to be married and have kids, but life doesn't always work out the way you want.

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Phil thinks I'm the coolest...

I'd say congratulations, but I'm frankly afraid of you right now! Kidding (kind of...)!

When did this all happen? I know I haven't seen you in about 3 months (and thanks for the praise for my party, by the way), but I had no idea this was coming. Email me the details!

At 1:50 PM, Blogger TooMuchCoffeeLady thinks I'm the coolest...

PHIL!!! Good to hear from you! :) How have you been?

I'd say congratulations, but I'm frankly afraid of you right now! Kidding (kind of...)!

Man... I was afraid this was gonna happen. OK loyal RL-Friend-and-Relative-Readers: If we're still actually in communication (and/or we've lost touch but I haven't specifically said to you "Friend-or-Relative, you're toxic and ignorant, kindly f*ck off and stay out of my life"), you're clearly not the stupid assholes I am bitching about. ;)

At 1:51 PM, Blogger TooMuchCoffeeLady thinks I'm the coolest...

Oh, and thanks for your congratulations guys!!! :)

At 6:06 PM, Blogger TooMuchCoffeeLady thinks I'm the coolest...

Ibid - Understand that the judgementalness (about the children issue) goes both ways. You're like the only "never wants to have children" person I have ever encountered who doesn't call those of us who want or have children nasty names.

Also - (I'm not sure where you stand on wanting to get married or not.) But if that is something you want, you're younger than my fiance and in general just too young to say "it'll never happen to me". Maybe it's just that you haven't found your chair yet rather than you've flat-out lost the game. But you're still cool in my book if you don't think you ever want a chair:)

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Chopin Girl thinks I'm the coolest...

I know I'm so late (catching up on required reading!), but CONGRATS!

I really didn't know people treated you that way about marraige. It's interesting because in my family, marraige at a younger age (before you're 30) is pretty much discouraged-- but this is by the women who've been burned by men (a good portion of them) and getting that fat paycheck is what was emphasized (essentially to help the family out-- if you're married, that money is obviously going to the hubby and kids). So weird how the same issues are viewed so differently.
You have a great head on your shoulders and FORGET those who were acting so fake and who are acting fake now. BE HAPPY!!!

And, girl, what do you know about Wilona on Good Times??? LOLOLOL

At 8:25 AM, Blogger TooMuchCoffeeLady thinks I'm the coolest...

Thanks CG!

Uh, who doesn't know about Wilona from Good Times?


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