by YASHAR ALI
Last week, I was sitting in a hotel lobby waiting to meet with a friend. As I waited, I noticed a woman having coffee with her mother. During this meeting, the woman was excitedly presenting her mother with an e-reader. After the present was unwrapped, the woman proceeded to thoughtfully explain to her mother about how to use her e-reader, dealing with the wireless connection, etc.
Instead of reacting with excitement or gratitude, her mother started lecturing her. The expression on the woman’s face as she was berated revealed incredible frustration. She looked exhausted and distressed.
When her mother went off to the bathroom, I said to her, “That was nice of you to get that gift for your mom.”
She replied in a tone tinged with dejection and irony, “Thank you…can you please take her for the rest of the day?”
Since I wasn’t able to clearly hear their conversation, I offered a simple explanation of sympathy for her frustration, “I know, it’s hard.”
“It’s hard being 40 and not married,” she responded with a mix of sadness and anger.
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You may think of someone in your life who fits the description of the woman in the title of this column or of the woman I met last week in that hotel lobby.
What comes to your mind when you think of such a woman?
If you’re like so many people, your initial reaction might be to think of this woman as lonely, sad, maybe even pathetic—an old maid.
Whatever you may think about this woman, it’s rarely something positive and liberating, but it’s not exactly negative either—it’s just sort of lonely.
This woman I speak of and that you are imagining in your mind is most likely very hardworking, probably has a great job, good friends. She’s generally satisfied and settled in many areas of her life, but she doesn’t actively date, she’s never been married, or if she was previously married, it was for a short time and many years ago.
We don’t need to victimize these women, not at all. And in this column, I’m not trying to destroy the happiness of those who are single and 40 and perfectly content.
I know many women over 40 who are unmarried, some of them are happy and satisfied, others would like to be in a long-term relationship, still others are desperate and unhealthy in their approach to relationships. The point is, women who are 40 and over come in many stripes and types.