Over this past week I've come to learn that I am very, very smart. Apparently women who drink red wine have more sex and – apparently – lots of sex is good for your brain and makes you smart.* Ergo: me + wine + sex = smart me.
I'm not generally good as such complex logicalising so I must be doing ok. However, I reckon I should enjoy this increased brain function for all its worth now because it's sure to wane after near three months sans sex. There's only so far wine and wanking can get you.
Ah. The life of the uncoupled thirty-something.
Actually, apart from the lack of sex on tap and missing out on all the yummy cosiness I don't mind the single thing so much. I mean, I don't think we're meant to be alone and cuddleless forever, but I usually muddle along quite well being single – party here, work there, try a boy here, try a boy there – with the assumption that I'll one day bump into someone really cool and that'll be that (whatever 'that' is). I call it the fate-driven pursuit of relationship happiness if you will.
But it seems, apparently, that time is against my smug belief in finding someone I actually really like.
Just as I was doing the whole 'yeah, yeah thirties are, like, TOTALLY the new TWENTIES', I found Lori Gottlieb's 'Marry Him!' article in The Atlantic. Then she wrote a book called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. I didn't read it. The article was bad enough. The premise is, basically, that if you're in your 30s you shouldn't kid yourself that:
a) You'll actually find someone that makes your toes tingle/someone you love
b) You won't wake up in your late single, barren-wombed 30s desperate and longing for a husband and child
c) Marriage is anything more than a passionless partnership for the sake of raising children.
Lori seems to believe that marriage with children is the ultimate goal and that if you're to avoid the pitfalls of lonely spinsterhood, the best thing to do is stop being so picky and settle for someone – anyone it seems – to avoid the regret of looking back at all the men you could've had as husband fodder but didn't.
I don't have time for princesses with lists and lists of what the ideal man should look and act like. And by the sounds of things that's generally who Lori's referring to. But she just goes overboard with what anyone should accept. As in: 'Even if you get a cold shiver down your spine at the thought of embracing a certain guy, but you enjoy his company more than anyone else’s, is that settling or making an adult compromise?'
Shoo. Really? A cold shiver down your spine? I generally think of that as a very bad sign.
It's probably the first time I've started wondering about nearing the end of my marriageable shelf-life. I didn't think I was in last-chance saloon? Am I really deluded? (Lori seems to think so.) Should thirty-something women the world over find someone, anyone, to settle down with. Should thirty-something men?
A few weeks back I was at a restaurant opening and got to chatting with a Highly Eligible Bachelor (by Lori's standards this would be someone with a steady job and a sperm supply). I was surprised to hear the words 'marriage', 'children' and 'suburbia' be thrown into the conversation.
Turns out HEB is looking to settle down. On the hunt basically for wife material. 'It's time,' he said. I said: 'But my god, you're only 34!' (I say 'said' but it was more a horrified whine.) He said: 'I'm not getting any younger you know.' And then he added: 'Besides all my mates are married...so...'.
Gulp. I was gone in 60 milliseconds. When did peer pressure go from lighting up a fag to tightening up a nappy?
I'm clearly out of the loop here. And frankly this is where I'm happy to stay. I don't know what happily ever means, hell I don't even know what it means when a relationship 'works out' (is a relationship worked out when you get engaged? Get married? Is it worked out when you have kids?)... I've just always reckoned that when two people dig on each other their relationship is a constantly evolving process, not some means to an end.
Besides, I'm pretty sure there's not a guy out there that would like to think his wife or girlfriend has simply settled for him. Men are people too you know.
But this could all be foolish, idealistic banter by a woman who's brain is clearly going to rot from a lack of sex. Or maybe it's my hormones acting up in a fit of panic at my empty womb. Fortunately I'll be trawling dating sites for the next column. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll find a good
* All verified by men in white coats I'm told.
Follow Dorothy on Twitter here.
Read her blog here.
Do you think it's better to settle than end up single?