Monday, 6 July 2009

Bridget Bites Back

My favourite Welsh export AW was back in town today. A is an Asian Jessica Rabbit, with a snappy trade in one liners, which would put Chris Rock to shame. Despite my entreaties to read the blog for an update on my latest dating disaster, when she pressed me for the shortened version I caved.

"You need to deal better with rejection love " she said in her brash Welsh tones. "Try this love, my friend's on it" she said scribbling something down and folding it neatly into two. I unfolded it and laughed at the words " ". "Read the bloody blog" I said as I walked through the double doors back to my side of the office. Back at my desk I showed it to M who smirked. "She's a bloody joker". Or maybe she thinks I am a glutton for punishment.

At lunch having demolished my sandwich, I flicked through the women's section of the paper. One particular article caught my eye entitled the "The Art of Being Alone" with a sub-heading of "Stop Sobbing Into Your Chardonnay, Single Life Doesn't Have To Mean Sad".

What a silly title. There is no flaming art to being alone - you just get on with it. To make such a sweeping pronoucement that myself and other single women are incapable of dealing with singledom, without drowning our sorrows in copious bottles of wine, is totally ridiculous and it seems the impact of Bridget Jones and that flaming diary of hers has a lot the answer for!

Even before I'd the first paragraph, I knew that any author who could also be responsible for Solemate: Master The Art of Aloneness And Transform Your Life had to be a smugee. A smugee is a man or woman who had already found, accepted and embraced the reality of 'love' which they then suggest us singletons should happily make do without, if it is not immediately on offer to us.

She chronicled her own story, from meeting her husband, the raising of two children and the subsequent painful breakdown of her marriage, all of which I could genuinely sympathise with. However, it was her fightback by numbers summary, including the obligatory pyschotherapist sessions and 'rebirth' as an all action working heroine with a dynamic career and a brand new take on life, that got right up my nose.

Am I knocking her phonenix resurrection - no good on her. What I do take issue with is the following:

Changing your perceptions of being alone, is what she marks out as the cornerstone of any singletons existence. Forgive me what other perception can you derive from the word single. What you chose to do with status depends on your day, life and mood. Not every single woman attributes their status and overall well being to whether they are in a relationship or not, or turns into a chardonnay swigging hermit harpie when they go home to an empty house.

She then states that when people feel bad about themselves, they tend to project that to others. "Just as confidence inspires confidence, negativity invokes negativity". What rubbish - I am a confident, successful woman who happens to be single. Granted I am not little Ms Sunshine every day, nor am I elated at my single status; but I am secure enough in myself to recognise that although being with someone is desirable, being with the right person is infinitely more important.

Not all single women are depressed at being single as the author suggests. A lot of single women are just bored and disappointed by the continuous effort they are forced to deploy in pursuit of a decent relationship. If you are the wrong side of thirty onwards, being on isn't the most edifying way to compete with a river of younger rivals, for the favours of the few eligible men left on the dating market.

Single women are strong and independent - we have to be. As the cheery "Single Ladies" statistic yelled from within the article " The number of women living alone between the ages of 25 and 44 had doubled in the last two decades." With no man around, the buck stops with us in terms of housing, finance, career, self cpntentment (mentally and sexually) DIY etc....if you start out as a dependent women, necessity will drive you towards independence and empowerment, before you can say Jimmy Choo.

The author concluded that singletons need to turn their expanse of alone time and repackage it into me time, stepping off the couch, being more active and banishing anything which reinforces feelings of singleton isolation.

If I and any of my other fabulous single friends were as sad, needy, depressed and pathetic as this so called expert suggests, then we might just forgo that bottle of Chardonnay and purchase one of her crappy books. Happily for us all, this is not the case...yet!

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