I just can’t do it anymore.
I’d settled in for a nice Sunday afternoon of regrettable television, jelly beans and blog surfing which led to watching a clip of “Sex and the City,” a show with which I have a tortured past. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point that show became the litmus test for all single women under the age of 50. As I heard Carrie Bradshaw whine about “a woman’s right to shoes” — a legal case I never briefed during my undergrad — I just decided that I couldn’t take it anymore.
I’ll save you from having to slog past the almost five-minute video above, but our protagonist and shoe fetishist Carrie gets her feelings hurt when her former single friend turned wife and mother criticizes Carrie’s decision to buy a $485 pair of shoes, suggesting that Carrie should perhaps get a life. Of course, Carrie is despondent because if anyone has ever watched “Sex and the City,” it’s very apparent that a life without expensive shoes is a life not worth living.
When Carrie uttered the hackneyed phrase “a woman’s right to shoes,” that’s when the video turned into my equivalent of “2 Girls 1 Cup.” Honestly, I’m cringing at the thought of watching the remaining 2 minutes and 30 seconds. I’m about to upload a video of my reactions to watching Carrie bitch about her footwear.
And here’s why: I just can’t be on the single team anymore. It’s not that I’m despondent and lonely and that my life won’t have meaning if I don’t run out and snatch me a husband; it’s that I just can’t identify with this bullshit war between the sluts and the saints. I just want to sit out.
Carrie then goes on to talk about acceptance and how we should all appreciate each others’ life choices, no matter how asinine. What about a third option? It’s called “I’m not playing.”
I’m tired of feeling like I have to either justify my status as an unmarried harlot or long for the days when my left ring finger is weighed down by a gaudy and politically incorrect rock. I don’t want to talk about my relationship status at all. I just want to have a life.
Maybe I’m on birth control. Maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m in a fulfilling secret long-distance relationship with a great guy. Maybe I’m openly dating my neighbor. Maybe it’s just no one’s business. I have a boring-yet-pun-free query for Carrie B and co.: When did relationship statuses become the most important political division in this country?
My ideological leanings have little to do with my marital status, and should I get hitched I don’t think I’ll switch parties. I have a wide array of interests and hobbies that have nothing to do with whom I am or am not dating. And if that magical guy becomes Mr. One Unique Token, rest assured I won’t sacrifice my diversions. Is that what’s supposed to happen? Do you get a new personality when you decide to get a new last name (if you even take his last name)?
I’m just so tired of the media pitting heterosexual women against each other — and against men — all because of whether or not we’re Misses or Missuses. I’m a Ms. and it’s not your problem. In fact, it’s not a problem at all. I’m never going to spend $485 on a pair of shoes but I’m also not going to laud someone else’s decision to do so as if it’s a revolutionary act akin to burning a bra. Liking nice things and buying them is a privilege, not a platform.
I have a group of single female friends who live quite frugally and verge on idealizing poverty. I own a single handbag that is traditionally considered a “luxury” purse, the sight of which makes their stomachs churn. When those females’ faces twist in disapproval, I don’t do a thing because I just don’t care. I’m no better or worse than they are because I sacrificed my self control to the God of the Coach Outlet Store, nor do I feel like I should renounce my salary and benefits in order to devote my days solely to volunteer work.
Fashion decisions, ones so simple and so arbitrary, shouldn’t be dividing lines. I bought the purse because I liked it and thought it would last longer than the free-with-purchase canvas tote with a puppy on the front. I don’t buy things to get attention. I don’t think the vast majority of people get married or stay single to get attention either and it shouldn’t matter to anyone but that person if you’re sharing your bed, home or heart with anyone. Single women aren’t the victims here. All women are.
Reducing reproductive rights to issues of shoes and skanks is dangerous, but the pundits and politicians buying into it are downright devious. Some TV character doesn’t want to reimburse another for an outrageously expensive pair of Monolos? Innocuous. This rift between singles and marrieds, which has leapt out of the pages of “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and onto the floors of legislative buildings across the nation? Incendiary.
The media would have us believe that if you’re single, you either have to be a “slut” or want desperately to get married. If you’re married, you’re either a doting wife who hates single women or you’re covertly envious because you’re trapped in an unsatisfying relationship. That’s the metric. Pick your camp. Divided loyalties not welcome.
I don’t feel like a failure because I’m not married and I don’t pity women who’ve legally committed to Mr. Right. I don’t sleep around but wouldn’t be ashamed to admit if I did. I just don’t get why all of the sudden a conversation between me and my gynecologist is now the determining factor for who can be in my social circle and for whom I’ll cast my ballot this November.
If those are the rules then I’m leaving the sandbox.
Don’t mistake my desire to sit on the sidelines as an act of cowardice. I’m refusing to engage in this contrived conflict because to mobilize is to valorize. I don’t hate married women any more than I hate single women. People are individuals. Some annoy me a lot, some annoy me a little and most don’t matter to me at all because I don’t even know them. If there’s ever a moment where I’m feeling apt to pass judgement on a fellow lady, it won’t be because she’s got a dazzling diamond or paid three figures to keep her feet warm. I’m also not interested in associating with people who want me to align with either agenda.
I’m not launching ammunition on behalf of the promised or the promiscuous, to which the two sides have been so ridiculously reduced. If all of us spent more time validating ourselves, maybe we wouldn’t need to take swipes at each others’ shoes or subsequently find solace with a woman like Carrie who slinks into pathetic and shallow false reflection because of a single shoe-related comment.
We don’t need each other’s sympathy or slander; we need each others’ strength and support. An attack on female freedom is an attack on womanhood, period, so we’re all on defense.
We should really be mad at the people whose paychecks and approval ratings depend on us throwing rocks at each others’ personal lives. They’re the problem.
I’m not a Carrie, a Miranda, a Charlotte, a Samantha or the mean married friend. I’m the token who thinks they’re all fighting the wrong battle.