Sometimes I am jealous of divorced women. Oh, not for the reason you might think; not because they've had at least one husband and I've had none. I feel jealous of divorced women because they have more social capital than I do. They exist on a higher rung on society's status ladder than I do because I am an eternally single woman with no kids -- a spinster. By choice. There. I said it, I own it and life is good. I've built a pretty nice life for myself but people still look askance at me and my fellow spinsters from time to time. They don't get it; they want to know what's wrong with us, wondering why we aren't married. People understand divorce and even single motherhood. Spinsterhood is puzzling, for some reason.
And, honestly, I'm puzzled about why they're puzzled. According to the Pew Institute, almost 30 percent of U.S. adults have never been married -- a record high. That's a lot of people, so being forever single should seem more... well, normal, but I guess our culture is not quite there yet.
Some years ago when I was younger, I worked with a woman -- Faye -- who was a spinster, although that wasn't how she referred to herself. She seemed to have quite an interesting life, with lots of romances and the jewelry to prove it. I wouldn't have done it quite the way she did because she was always an important man's mistress and that's not my thing. But I admired Faye's joie de vivre. She seemed unabashed in her single status and her lifestyle seemed to work for her.
Or at least I thought it did. One day, while I was listening to one of her many stories, she gave me a bit of advice that I found startling. She said, "Just find someone and marry him." She told me that it didn't really matter if I loved him or even stayed with him very long. Her reasoning? Divorced women are viewed more favorably than women who've never been married. In her immortal words, "It's better to be a has-been than a never-was!" Read more: