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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Single Thirty-Something Menace

The other day I was having lunch with a good friend. Because of my heavy Baptist background and his heavy Mormon background, we often find ourselves discussing some of what we consider the quirks of the religious system. This time the topic was the Mormon notion a single individual over the age of twenty-five is a menace to society. Of course, we were poking fun at one another, neither believing the other to be a “menace,” but afterward I couldn’t help but ponder the idea.
A menace... The word has such a strong connotation. A terrorist is a menace. A serial killer, a rapist, those are menaces, but a single thirty-something grad student? …a med student? An individual so focused on bettering themselves they haven’t taken the time to marry is a menace?

Knowing what little I do about the faith, I suspect the concept stems from notions of family and populating the earth with new life, new souls. If I’m correct, the concern makes sense considering the biological clock is always ticking and from twenty-five on it becomes increasingly difficult to rear and raise children. Therefore, it is a threat to the well being of society if you can’t contribute more good individuals to the growing population. All of that aside, my musing of the topic went another direction.

If we turn our attention to the reliable Mr. Webster and his third reference to the word “menace” we’ll find it simply defined as “a person who is a nuisance.” As a single thirty-something with mostly married friends, I’d have to agree that my marital status can be a nuisance – the whole third wheel issue. And I have a feeling that some of the other single thirty-somethings I know, in the prime of our physical lives, might agree that we are, at times, a menace to ourselves because of something called “the lonely goggles,” skewing our otherwise good judgment resulting in poor dating decisions.

One good example of such a nuisance is a new fellow in the office, a recent law school graduate, who is most definitely a menace to my work environment. He is “on the make,” even proclaimed himself “a chaser of tail,” who has repeatedly harassed me, along with some of the other female menaces, with his egotistical sexually charged self. If this thirty-something man were married with a family to occupy his time and money, I may not have to endure his torment. Similarly, if I had a husband, whose photograph I would willingly sport upon my desk, I may be less of a target for this idiot and the tripe that spews forth from his mouth.

Another example would be a friend of mine who, at thirty-something, constantly laments over her dating dilemmas, her desire for a mate, her longing for children, and her dread of that ever ticking biological clock. Her recent quest for love has exposed her to the horrors of online dating, of which her most recent endeavor was a weekend rendezvous with a man of bad hygiene and bad manners. The situation, to her, is one worthy of tears because “the good ones” are all married and “the left-overs” well… cold meatloaf is the metaphor that comes to mind.

Personally, I’ve paid my fair share of dues: pretty faces with empty heads, scolding the married men for their improper propositions, and my own set of lonely laments. I was once engaged, a few years after my divorce, but I panicked and called off the wedding. My father used that opportunity to suggest that God may have bestowed me with the gift of celibacy. I laughed as he placed the Bible in front of me, referring to a scripture that, paraphrased, means some are born into celibacy, some (like myself, he suggested) are forced into it, and some (like the ever so chaste and honorable Catholic Priests) choose that path for “the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 19: 11-12).

I still laugh at this because I know that I don’t have “the gift of celibacy.” …please… I also know that my dad suffers from something I call “No Man Is Good Enough For My Daughter Syndrome,” so it would please him to no end if I were to live the remainder of my life as a nun (a protestant nun-like woman, that is). But if I think about what he said too long, I’m reminded that his hero, the Apostle Paul, stated that if a person lack self-control it is better for them to marry than to burn (I Cor. 7: 2-9). So… there we have it again, in my own religious background, a menace to myself… the longer I remain single the more susceptible I am to the temptation of the ever so pleasurable but sinful flesh… the slippery slope into the fires of Hell… Guess I better hurry up and make a rash decision to marry, lest I fornicate myself into the eternal abyss… which brings me to my next point.

Single thirty-somethings, like myself, have a tendency to obsessively dive into their work – a welcome distraction from all that is lacking in the love department. Unfortunately, this sometimes results in an over developed sense of perfectionism or an uptight approach to insignificant details. Because of this, there always seems to be that observant married individual who somehow finds it necessary to approach and say something stupid like, “Damn… you really need to get laid.” This is a comment that I have grown to hate. Not only does this pour salt into an open wound, but coming from a person whose biggest sexual challenge is to go home and entice their partner into the realm of intimacy, they have no realistic grasp of what their suggestion entails.

Their advice implies that it would somehow benefit me to seductively dress myself and wander into some random bar with intent to score myself an easy lay for the night. They seem to think that a night in bed with a strange man would do me some good, relieve some tension, and cause me to wake the next morning with a miraculously well balanced and stress free approach to life. These married individuals have lost touch with reality and equate single life with the romanticized ideals they watched on their most recently viewed Netflix. The reality of their suggestion is that I walk into a room of meatheads who recognize nothing but the physical attributes of my body (if that) and my willingness to be a temporary replacement for the Five-Fingered Lady. These meatheads know nothing about what makes me tick, nor do they care. They don’t care to know my name, where I come from, where I’m going, nothing. I would also venture to say that they could care less about my physical satisfaction in the bedroom arena because life to a meathead is little more than one big porno where women are nothing but objects to conquer and dominate with their manhood that I’m so privileged to receive. And I suppose I don’t need to address the issue of disease; after all, we live in a world where we advertise prescriptions for Herpes on television as though it were as common as a migraine and a bottle of Excedrin (and if I write anymore like this I might convince myself about the thirty-something menace to society). So, excuse me. I may not have the gift of celibacy, but I do have enough common sense and self-respect to say, “Married people, this may be your version of sage advice, but I think I’ll pass…”

But…I must digress. Do I really believe that being a single thirty-something makes me or my comrades a menace to society? No. But do I think the concept was worth a few moments of provocative thought? Obviously… However, the best advice I think I’ve received from anyone, during this thirty-something phase of my life, came from a sixty-something man who said:

The problem with people is that they’re constantly convinced something is wrong with their lives if they don’t have a mate. Because of this, they either find themselves in a bad marriage they blindly walked into or they constantly jump from one person to the next. All they really need to do is stop, relax, stay the course, develop the self, let nature have her way, and one day they’ll open their eyes and see the perfect person standing right next to them.

Bingo! Someone give that man a cigar! That makes all the perfect non-religiously charged sense in the world.

~ Pandora: The Notorious Scribe/Menace to Society

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