Perusing the Value Village bookshelves, one title, 203 Ways to Drive a Man Wild in Bed by Olivia St. Claire, jumped out. Debra Anderson, long-time Alberta Avenue resident and artist, laughs. “We don’t need 203. We just need one way. Breathe.” Then adds, “Not that men are a lower life form.”
The male’s biological ability to procreate indefinitely is a key difference between the genders. Women after 50, Anderson agrees, are done procreating. We have raised children if we had them, and are now turning inward, pursuing passions beyond the boudoir.
Anderson enjoys oil painting and treasures her solitude. Beloved Canadian author Margaret Laurence wrote in Dance on the Earth that she couldn’t be a wife, a mother, and an author so she chose the last two. Like Anderson and Laurence, I prioritize. Beginning with writing, supporting women writers, and enjoying outdoor activities with my son. The predominant complaint I hear from male friends is, “You’re so busy.” My inner thought is, Yes, with my own passions, adhering to my natural rhythms.
There are as many ways to cater to that inner calling as there are women. I did not come to my present satisfaction in singlehood on a direct path. My route was littered with buffalo-sized speed bumps and torturous detours.
Married at 20 for only seven years, for the next two decades I slipped in and out of short-term relationships, driven to be one part of a couple. In my mid-40s, I believed I was destined for a life-giving, mutually beneficial relationship. After all, I had grown into a mature, confident, and vibrant woman. My confidence took a dive at 48 when I learned my dream partner had bedded two other women on his trucking route. Facing life alone hit me hard on my 50th birthday. Mascara was not an option when dressing to attend my nephew’s nuptials. After that day of tears, I moved into my single phase, residing there comfortably for the last decade.
It took my 30s and 40s to revise the familial and societal expectations of coupledom and discard my mother’s statement to me after my divorce at 27: “Find a man before you’re too old and ugly and no one wants you.” In talking with other women over 50, many of us find one thing in common. We no longer capitulate, if we ever did, to solely meet or fulfill others’ needs, with some of us prioritizing our interests for the first time.
For the past 11 years, I have made myself the priority. I am the only one to be irked if my kitchen table has become my second office.
For the happily married men, be supportive when a new venture, hobby, or artistic outlet comes knocking on your partner’s heart. Find some new hobbies you can share or explore on your own.
For older singles, there are different options for intimacy if so desired. Some define coupledom differently by maintaining separate residences. That may appeal to even a hard-core loner like me, provided the one who wants to be significant in my life also enjoys solitude and separate pastimes. That is the only way I might consider coupledom now.
I want me.
March 8 is International Women’s Day
Check out a local festival – skirtsafire.com
Other ways to celebrate – floweraura.com/blog/10-excellent-ways-celebrate-international-womens-day