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Exactly How Old Does One Have to Be to Be an Old Maid?

March 21, 2013

Well, it’s over. There are some things you can at least try to fight, like speeding tickets and obstinate DVD players. But other laws won’t be defeated so easily, as I can attest from numerous attempts to violate the laws of gravity as well as space-time governance.

Yep. In spite of how frequently and ferociously I’ve yelled at the calendars and clocks on my computer and phone, I couldn’t seem to make them freeze at some point–any point–before today. Which means I’m being dragged kicking and screaming into the age of 27. This is uncomfortable, as I’m no longer safely in the range of what can generally be agreed upon as mid-twenties. At best, I’m on the fringe of my late twenties. At worst, I might as well just give up and admit that I’m shooting toward thirty like a Super-G racer who lost control of her skis.

The other problem with this particular age besides its upsetting proximity to a new decade in which I’m supposed to finally be a responsible adult is that it represents not only the average age for a woman in the US to get married but also the age at which my own mother got married. I have no problems whatsoever with having no prospects on the horizon, but if society at large were also at peace with this minor issue, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.

Frankly, I can’t fathom a scenario in which getting married this year would be in any way okay. Not only is there a distinct lack of a prospective groom in the picture (not that such trivialities stop some wedding-obsessed women), but I feel like I’m still in the stage of my career where I’m throwing shit at a wall and seeing what sticks. And since that’s a much bigger priority for me than romance and settling down in the sense that infinity is a bigger number than zero, I know exactly where I want to focus my time and energy, and it’s not trawling the depths of OKCupid or likeminded sites.

Besides, even though my mother followed all of the sociological data points that would indicate probable success in marriage–college-educated, married in her later twenties–her marriage collapsed after fifteen years and one child.

She’s not the only example I can point to as a sign that I should avoid the institution. The best birthday gift I will ever receive came last year as I was on my way downtown to have dinner with my family, my now-ex, and a friend who luckily happened to be in town for a conference.

The bus was crowded but otherwise unremarkable until the woman sitting behind my boyfriend and me answered her ringing phone. Right off the bat, I had to stifle my laughter.

“Oh, hell no, Bobby. HELL no. I ain’t comin’ back. You stuck your pee-pee in another woman!” If a cell phone could be slammed down, this one had been.

Not wanting to draw attention to the fact that my then-boyfriend had a pee-pee of his own that could be removed easily enough if the scorned woman decided the situation called for such action, we stifled our laughter as our fellow passenger’s phone rang again. Instead of taking the high road like a sane person would, she picked up.

“Bobby, I said NO! You stuck your penis in another woman!” Well, at least we’ve graduated kindergarten in our language choices, I tried to telepathically communicate to my ex. But I had no time to find a way to whisper this witticism without attracting attention.

“YOU STUCK YOUR PEE-PEE IN SOME DUMPSTER-DIVIN’ TRASH!” the woman gleefully shouted for the benefit of every soul aboard the 15. I stared at my lap, struggling to contain the tears and shrieking laughter. Maybe it’d be better to get off a few stops early just so I could howl in delight somewhere away from this psycho?

Amazingly, I managed to contain myself long enough to get to my desired stop, in spite of the woman getting into a fight with the bus driver when he told her she might consider not airing her dirty laundry with the entire bus–“I’M having fun!” she stubbornly announced.

And to be honest, I was having fun, too. This was better than Bridezillas and incomparably more amazing to behold than Say Yes to the DressThis was real life at its rawest, more powerful than any of those supposedly candid moments captured on television. This was true love at its truest.

Granted, not every romance ends with preschool terminology being used as trash talk in a public setting (although I do have to give that woman credit for being G-rated. There was no part of that conversation that contained adult language in any sense of the phrase). Some even survive hell and high water, and even if the sheer lust that exists in the infatuation stage has worn off, a few adorable old couples are so clearly still in love that even a hardened cynic like me can’t help but get all misty-eyed.

But that doesn’t seem to be a likely outcome for me. At best, someone with my temperament could reach a difficult truce once the passion wore down, a roommate situation that had all the classic hallmarks of a Mexican standoff. At worst, I’d be that woman on the 15, only the overheard argument would lose its charm from me going with more standard language choices: “YOU STUCK YOUR COCK IN SOME GOLD-DIGGING SKANK, YOU FUCKING CUM-DUMPSTER!”

So as little as I like to mark the passage of yet another year, I might as well take the opportunity to reflect on the good things going on in my life. I enjoy my work, my family doesn’t suck, neither do my friends, and I now have the phrase, “He stuck his pee-pee in some dumpster-diving trash,” to refer to men who cheat on their significant others. And perhaps most importantly, I have declared my freedom from a societally set path that I’m certain would only end in my misery. Now if I could find some way to cheat the laws of gravity so it had less of an effect on my joints…


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  1. Loveddd this!

  2. I would not have have able to contain my laughter and tears. Just reading this nearly made me fall down laughing. People act like no one else can hear them when they’re on their cell phones. I have no idea why anyone would want to have such a private, personal discussion on a bus, but I’ve heard far worse on line at 7-11.

    • It was very difficult! I’m pretty sure I honestly had tears streaming down my face from the effort to hold it in. All I can say is that I bet she, and the folks gracing the rest of 7-11 with similar conversations, are the types to write a bunch of Facebook statuses about how much they positively HATE drama and the attention whores who wield it.

      • LOL. You’re absolutely right. I’m a very private person, you’d never catch me doing that in public or on the Internet, but when a person is being loud, obnoxious, rude, and they’re discussing their STD’s or relationship issues at a volume I am pretty sure can be heard in Iceland, it’s hard not to react in some way.

      • “A volume I am pretty sure can be heard in Iceland…” I will likely be borrowing that at some point with credit where credit is due!

        I think I need to need to start another blog entitled, “Things People Talk about in Public that Shouldn’t Be Said at All,” only with a shorter name and less adherence to that nitpicky rule about not capitalizing prepositions.

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