On a recent discussion over at Tim Newman’s place, I made the following comment;
Should I ever find myself single and the wrong side of 50, one of my main criteria to filter for a potential new companion would be that they are widowed. Everyone else is likely to be single for a reason that is likely to repeat itself.
I recently had a fairly large team of people working for me for a multi-year project. Without exception, the single people were all the hardest to manage, the single females the next hardest category and the single females over 40 were the ultimate nightmare. The main problem with that last category is that nothing ever seemed to be their fault.
To expand on this theme, I notice an increasing large amount of it about.
What is it?
It is a phenomenon of anger and resentment expressed by single women over the age of 40 (to pick a fairly arbitrary number).
Anger and resentment nearly always have a deep root in personal regret;
Angry about your career? You probably regret a decision you made (or failed to make, because not making a decision is still a decision) in the past.
Angry about your partner? You probably regret letting some little annoyance or a series of annoyances pass without comment or conflict/negotiation immediately that it occurred.
Resentful of someone else’s success? You likely regret not making similar choices or not being as conscientious.
So, these 40+ year old women with anger issues, what do they seem to be angry about?
Lots of things; other people’s annoying kids, colleagues who don’t want to stay out drinking wine after work, other women, other men, everything and nothing.
I think though, ultimately, they are pissed off with themselves for finding themselves single, childless, rapidly approaching the menopause, awash with disposable income and nobody to spend it on other than some nieces and nephews or their cats.
This resentment spills over into their day to day demeanour and, ironically, becomes a further reason why they are going to find it increasingly impossible to find a partner.
Historically, 91% of women had children. The equivalent statistic for men was, depending on which source you look at, far lower – wars had a devastating effect on the relative rates of male reproduction. Some sources suggest male reproduction was 17 times lower than female.
To put it brutally; if you were female and childless you must have been infertile or completely and irredeemably unattractive to men.
Today though, through accident or artifice, there is a growing cohort of women who bought into a concept that they could have it all; a career every bit as vital as a man’s whilst attracting or, even with the added bonus of the career being another channel to attracting, an alpha (or alpha-enough) mate.
Of course, the shiny promise of this have it all life didn’t deliver and the reality is significantly different to the dream. Time cannot be reversed, fertility miracles are hard to conjure and any man over 40 who is single is likely to have more baggage than Imelda Marcus on a 2 week cruise.
Teach your daughters well; invest as much attention and effort into your personal life as your career, if not more.