I researched the origin of the word spinster and it appears that the term referred to women who spun wool. Aside from the world's "oldest" profession, it was one of the few ways a woman could work and earn a wage independently of a man. Cool, I too work and earn my own wage.
Then, it became a term for a woman who was not married - whether unwilling or unable. Back in the day, most marriages were arranged - not for love - but to secure wealth and improve a family's station in society. Okay, this is good. I'm not interested in being with someone for money or prestige and would rather be alone as long as it takes. So far so good.
Eventually, the perception morphed into a plump, unattractive, repressed woman who could not get a man... Whoa, hold on! Where did that come from!? Sure I could stand to lose a few pounds (who couldn't) but I look okay. Guys notice me still, and I am anything BUT repressed! I've even watched porn! (on a dare)
In present day, the term spinster seems to have been replaced by "old maid" and "cat lady." A cat lady is a woman who takes on unwanted kittens in lieu of having children. That is totally not me. I don't even like cats! Kids are okay I guess. (some of them anyway)
When I was 28, my company hired a Hispanic girl from the Bronx to complete a project in my department. She was 19, married, and had two children. When she learned I was single, she was shocked, "You don't have a husband?!" I wasn't ashamed. She was young. Too young to be married with kids. I could have told her the statistics - that every other marriage ends in divorce. But I didn't say anything. I figured she would find out soon enough, especially since she spent most of her time at work arguing with him on the phone.
Being a 42-year-old woman, (who looks nothing like this lady in the photo, by the way) I can't help but feel like an outcast at times. There are many benefits to being single but I wonder if there will be a time when it will be too late to settle down. Am I missing out on anything?
So when I feel like I may be missing out, I drive home and spend time with my cousins and their spouses and kids. It's not long before I realize that I made the right decision. Kids are a lot of work! (and husbands are too) Kids love me. I'm that cool cousin who brings presents and plays catch with them in the back yard. And when I've had enough, I leave.
I learned that while sometimes I envy my cousins' lives, they envy mine more! When they want to get away from their husbands and kids, who do you think they come see? Me!
I figure I have a couple years left before perimenopause kicks in. Maybe things will change for me...before I go through the change.