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I read this yesterday in the East African Standard

The mysteries of being single by nelly kuria

Recently, I was stuck in a queue waiting to pay for a pair of shoes. Three overworked sales girls scurried about the shop trying to keep some semblance of order under the pressure of bargain-hunting, shoe-shopping women who had descended upon them at one of the downtown malls.” I wish they could hurry. My husband will be home soon, and I want to sneak these shoes into the house before he gets there,” whispered the woman standing behind me, brandishing a pair of sling-back heels. I laughed.” Is your husband the same?” she asked me typically. “Oh, I’m not married,” I replied. “Ahhh,” she said with that poor-thing-hasn’t-found-the-right-man-attitude that I’ve learned to expect after living in Nairobi for so long. She pulled away slightly, possibly worried that my singleness could be contagious. We spent the rest of our time together in silence. I knew marriage was many things — a lifetime commitment, a partnership, an entry into a never-ending battle over toothpaste caps and toilet seats being left up — but I didn’t realise it was a universal conversation piece. Apparently, two women who have never met before can discuss, ridicule or complain about their husbands as part of this mystical sisterhood that I, as a single woman, may not enter. Children only make it worse. Not the children themselves — I can talk to the children — but the talk about children. I ran into an old acquaintance a few days ago. After prattling on for several minutes about her son’s football season soliloquy, she looked at me as if she had suddenly realised it would now be polite to ask about my life. Her face suddenly went blank. She honestly had no idea what to ask me. Which is understandable, of course, because single people live very ‘unusual lives’ — most of us have jobs, some of us have hobbies, often we go on vacations, sometimes we try new restaurants, we might even read a new book which we found interesting — yes, we’re a mysterious group. Of course, sometimes I prefer the abrupt halt in conversation with an ‘arm pat’ and the ‘don’t worry, you’ll meet the right man’.

Being a 30-year-old female, it is always assumed that I’m the human equivalent of the Christmas decorations that are found in the discount bins in February. It may surprise people to discover that there are different categories of ‘singleness’. We are not just ‘single people’. We are actually a very diverse group, or perhaps several loosely affiliated categories.

The Woops

It consists of those of us who always assumed that we would get married, but have spent our time playing, working, or living in a mountain cave communing with nature, only to emerge from our shell at some point and wonder where all the single people have gone. These people are easily identified by the confused, and somewhat lost look on their faces.

Frustrated singles

These are the ones who desperately want to be married but have yet to find the perfect person, despite the continual lowering of their standards, until they have reached a point that even the ability to feed one self is a negotiable requirement.

Entrenched singles

They revel in their ‘singlehood’ and freedom. Their sole possession is the remote control and their dreams of marriage end in terror, cold sweats and waking up with a death grip on the nearest body or pillow.

Second-hand singles

They have had a previous owner, have some mileage, maybe a few dents and scratches, and can be as unpredictable as used cars, but without the security of ‘Lemon Laws’. This category may range from the recently divorced who is dating on the rebound and is desperate to find another mate, to the one going through their third divorce and swearing off the opposite sex entirely.

From my practical study, which has generally consisted of dating eligible men and commiserating with other single girlfriends, I have determined that the ‘Woops’ category is predominantly populated by men. Women rarely, if ever, forget to look for a mate. Perhaps this difference lies in the lack of a male biological clock, or at least in the lack of a mother consistently reminding the male of a biological clock.

The ‘Frustrated Singles’ are mostly women. With the sexual revolution, men discovered that they did not necessarily need to get married in order to obtain sex on a regular basis. They immediately began to feel that they ‘needed space’. Shortly after, women began to feel that the men in their lives had ‘commitment issues’. While it may be tempting for the ‘Frustrated single’ women to look at the days before the sexual revolution with a certain sense of nostalgia or longing, one must remember that this was also the era of women staying home and cheerfully cleaning the house. Who wants to live like that?

Single categories

Singles can also be divided into two other categories: Trying and Not trying. Women who are still trying to find a mate take the time to fix their hair, do their makeup, occasional treat of a manicure and pedicure, and maintain a size 12. I’m less certain about men who are still trying, as many seem to fail to draw the correlation between making themselves non-repulsive and being attractive to women. As a woman, this is sheer frustration. A man may be overweight, sloppy and one brain cell away from an aardvark, yet he will still demand that any woman he dates be smart and beautiful. Which brings us to a new category—?

The permanently single
The denizens of the permanently single world may still be looking, but they are so socially inept, so romantically clueless and so sexually repulsive that they would not be able to attract a mate even if drenched in pheromones. The only hope for the people of this category is to make bundles of money and to live in a community property state that has never heard of pre-nuptial agreements.

The Standard Ltd & M Building, Kenyatta Avenue, P.O Box 30080, 00100 GPO, Nairobi-Kenya. Tel. +254 20 3222111, Fax: +254 20 214467, 229218, 218965. News room: +254 20 3222111, Fax: +254 20 213108. Email: editorial@eastandard.net, online@eastandard.net, Advertising: standard.ads@swiftkenya.com

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By Blogger UARIDI at 12:52 pm

I am single and not looking. Never want to (and I not gay). I believe that I am a stunning African women (40+) and happy with my lifestlye. Nobody every says anything about us.    

By Blogger Jay at 5:02 pm

That was such a brilliant article.

I'm not single myself but was single for a long time and I always got the "What's wrong with you look?". Even from my best friends!

Later I caved in, even though I knew better, all in the quest to "fit in" and decided to "be in a relationship". I guess lessons are best lived. Every time I compromised, I ended up with a loser.

I wish women would embrace the truth that they do not need men to define them, or complete them.

Power to all single sisters everywhere who are comfortable being single.    

By Blogger jasmine at 9:22 pm

I really enjoy your content on lemon laws and will be back very frequently! I actually have my own lemon laws secrets blog with all kinds of secret stuff in it. You're welcome to come by!    

By Blogger ioio at 8:54 am

Great Blog! Ilike it.I have Totally Free dating site for singlesTake a look if you have a minute. Thanks and have a good one!    

By Blogger stony at 4:00 pm

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a site site/blog. It pretty much covers site related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)    

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