A select dinner party in a middle class West London suburb.
Husband: “Seriously though, offices full of single girls in their early 30s. Fine, physical specimens… but they just can’t seem to hold down a chap.”
Wife: “Yes, why is it there are so many unmarried women in their 30s these days Bridget?”
Bridget: “Oh I don’t know.. ‘spose it doesn’t help that underneath our clothes our entire bodies are covered in scales.”
‘Life’ so Oscar Wilde once said ‘imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life’, I watched that scene from the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary 13 years ago in a cinema in Ealing Broadway and I laughed my socks off, I was young, ambitious and living in the same London as Bridget but without her dating traumas, I was happily ensconced in a relationship.
Fast forward to Christchurch, New Zealand over a decade later and I am the modern day equivalent of Bridget (with the alcohol units, but without the cigarettes) and instead of a diary I have this blog. Personally I believe Helen Fielding’s observations are still a valid and truthful commentary on thirty or fortysomething single women today as they try to make sense of life, love and the way society reacts to solo females.
Point in case a recent Friday night out with three married couples or as Bridge would call them ‘Smug Marrieds’. Of the three I only knew one couple. Within minutes of sitting down they had established I was single and that I would like to one day be in a relationship. For married people who hold all the so called keys to getting life right this is like a red rag to a bull, the wives pounced first with one slurrily advising me to never give up and be ready to receive love and how it would crop up when I least expected it before telling me a long winded version of her love story. The other wife fuelled on Sauvignon, took it upon herself to fix my ‘situation’ by determinedly marching around the bar, interviewing potential suitors and dragging them back to the table for an awkward and downright humiliating chat with me, while his friends would take photos of the moment on their iPhones.
And their husbands…. well first they dribbled all over the table excitedly asking me among other things if I was bumping up my age, was I wearing stockings, did I have sex a lot and could they have their photo taken with me to show their mates on Monday? Then they began accosting any circling, young barman to ask if they liked Cougars and did they want a slice of this action – pointing at me.
I am not sure at what point it became acceptable to treat comparative strangers to an unrequested life intervention or why they thought they had all the answers to fix everything? And this I might add was a group of parents who were all buzzing out of their brains and behaving like a bunch of drunk teenagers. Yeah real mature!
All I know is my pride took a big knock that night and their prejudice about my ‘singledom’ was offensive and rude. Spending time in their company has made me embrace and cherish my status even more. I am not a side show or a loser, but a woman who chooses to wait for the right combination of magic to happen and not just settle for any passing barman.
And yet there are marrieds out there who’ve recognised their prejudice – I salute you Rebecca Sparrow, and I am proud and thankful to say I also have a lot of lovely, sane, healthy marrieds who are extremely supportive and love me, like Bridget, just as I am.