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April 15

“Freemales:” heinous buzzword, welcome concept

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:27 pm

This Broadsheet post at Salon.com by FOBG Sarah Hepola is so delightful and spot-on, we’re just going to cut and paste the whole damn thing.

Good news for single women between the ages of 25 and 44 — not only are you a booming demographic, but you also might not be a poor and luckless lonelyheart. Go figure. All this, and you get your own buzzword, too! According to the Guardian:

“‘Freemales’ — manless women who are happy to remain so for the present at least — are now a force to be reckoned with and are overturning the dated Bridget Jones image of the lonely woman staring despondently at an empty Chardonnay bottle. They are too busy living life to the full to make time for ‘Mr Mediocre’ and the last thing on their minds is, ‘Will I find Mr Right today?'”

Well, good for them. I’m always skeptical of these trend pieces, but it’s nice to hear news stories about women who are actually happy with their current situation. Too many articles depict a stricken, desperate existence for us single women. (Lori Gottlieb, anyone?) But not all single women are fumbling for the panic button. In fact, a new report in Britain states that while the number of women living alone between 25 and 44 doubled in the past two decades, “more than two-thirds of people questioned in a recent survey believed they did not need a partner to enjoy a happy and fulfilled life.”

Now, let’s admit that “freemales” is a terrible buzzword. It sounds like the kind of account you get when you join Yahoo. (I have been amusing myself by pronouncing the word like “tamale.” Sorry, just living life to the fullest! You know how we freemales get!) Apparently, I am on the “terrible buzzword” beat: It was only last week I wrote about “thrisis,” the acute anxiety of mid-thirtysomethings freaking out about their future. But since we do so much reporting on what is tough and frustrating and painful about being a woman, I thought it was worthwhile to hear that some news, dumb buzzword notwithstanding, isn’t so bad. As one single woman quoted in the article noted: “It’s not difficult being single. It’s not lonely. It’s pleasurable.”

By the way, in my experience, it is occasionally difficult being single. Rumor has it, that’s true of marriage, too.


March 11

Other than that, Mrs. Spitzer

Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:01 am

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: With every breaking political sex scandal — and the ensuing awkward press conference/photo opp — it becomes more and more tempting to imagine little thought balloons over the heads of the apparently stoic, forbearing wives. (“Well, this explains a lot.” “Game face game face game face.” “Dude. Diapers?”)

And man, is it easy to judge. The wives, not the husbands. (Well, them too.) What are they doing at the press conference at all? What sort of public display of solidarity do they possibly owe these guys? Can they really be such doormats? Why aren’t they home changing the locks?

In situations like these, though, I think we’d do well to remember the wise words of Bridget Jones’s friend Magda. “No one from the outside ever really understands what makes them work.” Really, who knows what has gone on Chez Spitzer? Maybe she is cheating too. Maybe he promised her a quick and clean divorce if she’d do just this one thing. Maybe she is even acting out of savvy self-interest, as Anne Applebaum suggests at Slate: “I can see one clear advantage to this option: It’s all over quickly. And no one asks you for a follow-up interview. You appear once—and then you vanish forever, along with your husband’s career. If you’ve been clever about it, you’ve kept your maiden name and can thus return to your own career. Those who make other, more attention-getting choices will later be forced back into the limelight to explain themselves, which is gruesome.” That, or if you simply don’t appear at all, you can bet they’ll come after you.

I’m not saying she should or shouldn’t show up; I’m just saying that in a scandal such as this, her conduct, of all people’s, is not for us to judge. (I’m talking to YOU, lady I just heard on WNYC saying that this whole thing was Mrs. Spitzer’s fault in the first place because she didn’t kink things up enough.) The real thing to question is not each wife’s motive, or her backbone. The real thing to question, I think, is why these women are expected to show up in the first place. (And what will happen someday when the “stoic wife” is the husband.)


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