Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bachelor vs. Spinster

Okay. Before I jump back into this whole bridal-awesome-weird-hot-mess-shebang, I have to rant for a second about something that has bothered me for YEARS.

Bachelors vs. Spinsters.

Let's do a little word-association, shall we?

When I hear BACHELOR, I think...
  • "Swingin' bachelor pad"
  • Fun, life of the party; smooth, slick, flirtatious...
  • Single and loving it
  • Red smoking jackets (I'm just being honest)

When I hear SPINSTER, I think...
  • Sad and alone, and bitter about it
  • Rocking chairs and afghans
  • Hermit-like, afraid of bright lights; prefers radio to television and knitting to basically everythng else...
  • Too many cats and not enough teeth (I may be confusing spinsters with Appalachian hicks - but again, just being honest)

Maxine, The Classic Spinster.
Thanks a lot, Hall--- I mean,
Copyright Hallmark.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't think so. I think the way that I, and presumably plenty of other reasonably bright and open-minded people, envision women who do not marry vs. men who do not marry says a lot about society. Social expectations, and gender roles, and how we value people. If a woman can't land a man, there must be something wrong with her; if a man never gets tied down, he's living the dream, the lucky bastard!

(Unless, of course, the bachelor is suspected to be a confirmed bachelor, but that's a whole other don't-get-me-started-right-now post.)

I get kind of ticked when I think about the fact that if D never married, he'd be cool, and if I never married, people would worry about me. Just because he identifies as a dude, and I as a dudette. The more I think about it, the more this extends not only to marital status but to pretty much any relationship interaction.

Think: sexual activity. Try some free associations around the words we hear thrown at sexually active unmarried women vs. the words we hear proudly clapped on the back of sexually active unmarried men.

I'm not getting married to avoid becoming a spinster, but I'd be lying if I said that I'm not a little relieved that I'll never be referred to as such. Still: why can't we have a nicer, more fun, robust, bachelor-y word for women who decide not to walk down the aisle?

And in the meantime, here's another problem. Know another word I've never liked?


(But I totally like the sound of husband.)

What about the rest of you? Just semantics? Any positive associations with spinster? Chime in!


  1. Responses to these topics much too long for a quick comment. But I will offer this one true story: when I was living with my love and he refinanced his condo, because I was living there, I was also referenced on the papers, as "L--- H---, a spinster". I was 24.

  2. A... spinster. At 24. The mind boggles, it does. Well. At least, our society has gotten past that... Now, I don't think you'd be labelled a spinster on the papers, regardless of age. And very few people would call you a spinster at 24 (considering how many people, of all genders, are waiting until their late 20s and beyond to get married).

    But, yes, I hate-hate-hate the way identified dudes are glorified for various things, while identified dudettes are vilified for those same things.

    I don't mind the word "wife." I just get annoyed with officiants who use the phrase "man and wife" instead of "husband and wife." Dammit, if *I* changed my status, then that means my partner sure as hell did too.

    1. Moni, totally agreed. "Husband and wife." Or "husband and husband," "wife and wife," *both partners* whose official status is changing should be acknowledged equally. None of that leftover man-and-his-property crap. I mean, didja ever hear someone say: "I now pronounce you woman and husband"?

      Um. Nope.