real life

Here comes the (single) bride.

Being single is difficult. For everyone but the single woman, it seems.

Tired of being treated with pity and suspicion for being 30 years old and happily single, I decided to have a “wedding” celebration just for me.

By Michaelie Clark.

Sometimes, when I tell a non-single woman that I’m single, I get the feeling that my words undergo a kind of radical transmutation between leaving my lips and reaching her ears.

“I’m single,” I say.

“I have leprosy,” she hears. Her eyes fill with pity and her throat bobs as she swallows a guilty mouthful of sudden awkwardness. She feels sorry for me, but clearly there’s something very wrong and she really shouldn’t get too close.

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“I’m single,” I say.

“I’m going to lure your husband into my libidinous embrace,” she hears. Suddenly, she’s on her guard; who knows what sort of nefarious ploys I might use in my quest to get my hands on her man.

“I’m single,” I say.

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“I’m single,” I say. Image: iStock.

She hears: “I’m desperately lonely and filled with anguish at the thought of taking one more step without a man at my side, buying one more Kit Kat and eating both pieces myself, filling out one more form with my mother listed as my emergency contact. Please, help me.”

She immediately starts mentally capering through her acquaintances. She suggests introducing me to her husband’s workmate, Nick. He willingly owns two cats but is otherwise highly recommended.

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“Actually, I’m happy being single. Really,” I say.

“Help! Really!” she hears. She wheels the prospect of two-kitty Nick out a bit further, turning him this way and that.

“Look, I’m really not interested in getting set-up with some random man,” I insist.

“Oh,” says she. “Totally understand. Say no more. I’ve got a friend, her name’s Penelope, I’m sure she’d just love to meet you.”

Now, I’m lucky enough that all the people closest to me – men and women, married or otherwise – don’t subject me to this kind of singleism. They understand that I value my independence and the freedom to make my own choices and that one of those choices is to not determinedly seek out a romantic relationship.

They know that I’m happy, that I have many things in life I want to do for and by myself, and they see me as a complete person, rather than as a forlorn-looking left-foot Louboutin, useless without a counterpart.

Unfortunately, there are still many people for whom a declaration of my single status gets lost in translation. And, while my experience is that the confusion, pity, suspicion and disbelief comes more frequently from non-single women, I’ve received comments such as “But you’re pretty!” and “There’s still time”.

I get this:

How can you not want someone to love you?

Plus this:

You just haven’t met The One yet

… from just about every quarter.

When I returned to regional Victoria from Prahran in my late-twenties, I encountered this attitude towards my singledom even more. I’d left the corporate life and was making plans to move to Scotland (alone) and focus on writing.

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The most common question I got when I told new acquaintances this was: “Are you moving there for a man?”

It made me start thinking about the way we celebrate our life choices. Usually we celebrate when people choose to add something to their lives: a spouse, a baby, one of those handbags that can charge your phone. But, what if you want to celebrate being 30 and single and happy and on the verge of a merry infiltration of the city of Glaswegians?

I’ve never been keen on the idea of marriage, at least not for myself. I’ve happily celebrated the unions of some of my closest friends, but the piece of paper has no meaning for me. Even if I do find myself in a serious relationship sometime in the future, I can’t imagine ever wanting to get married.

I’m not into the traditional bridal brouhaha. I wouldn’t change my name, or wear a ring, or wait patiently for a proposal on bended knee. I have a real problem with the fact that there are titles for women – and only women – that designate whether or not they’re married.

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Hence, when I went to a hen’s party in the country late last year and was asked by a young married woman I’d just met, “So, what’s your story? Are you married, or engaged, or just… nothing?” I decided I’d had enough.

“Oh, I’m engaged!” I told her.

“What’s his name?” she asked.

“His name’s Scot. Scot Land,” I said.

She didn’t get it. I’d joked with friends and family in the months beforehand that, since I didn’t plan to get married, I should have a ‘solo wedding’ as my farewell, so everyone could come and celebrate my decision to remain single and wish me a happy future of adventuring.

In that moment, I decided to make it a reality. My nearest and dearest would think it was great and it would allow me to take the piss out of anyone who simply couldn’t grasp the concept of a 30-year-old woman bucking this facet of social conditioning. Plus, the national animal of Scotland is the unicorn, a fact I find both deeply hilarious and appropriate to my circumstances.

Read more: 10 reasons I’ve been told I’m single.

What ensued was a bit of light-hearted sardonicism. I had celebratory drinks when Scot Land accepted my proposal (the day my visa came through). I sent out handfasting invitations (handfasting being a pagan Scottish wedding ceremony).

I had a hen’s weekend with my two ‘bridesmaids’, both of whom I had been bridesmaid for previously and who performed the role with no less love and vigour than if I’d really been getting married. Then, less than two weeks ago, I celebrated my union with Scot Land amidst a bar full of my favourite people. They listened to my Dad give a heartfelt speech, listened to me give a slightly more tipsy one, then toasted my future.

After that, we all danced like mad things.

As all the brides say, it was one of the most special days I’ve ever experienced.

Now, this week, I make the big move to Glasgow. I’m excited… and ready to embrace every moment of this life of mine.

After all, there’s not a single moment to waste.

This story was originally published at ABC Open. For more audience-made stories, check their website.

This article was originally published by ABC

 © 2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here

Michaelie Clark is an Australian writer.

Want to read more about being single?

The truth about Mother’s Day as a single mum.

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6 reasons some ladies actually want to be single.

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