by Abisola Johnson
When people hear or say “Thirty-something and single” two pictures pop in their heads. One is an over weight woman who has given up on looking sexy because trendy clothes just don’t agree with her tummy and hips. She’s the woman who bumps into you in an empty park and all you can see is the cheap snack she made you drop, you’ll look through her to watch a dog take a leak. When someone says “I saw this really nice bag today” like the bag was walking on its own, she’s the woman that was holding it.
The second picture is the tall, slim, beautiful damsel a man would stare at comfortably even when his wife is by his side because he knows she’ll be distracted too. She is confident, smart and most likely in love with her job and very good at it too. Everyone concludes she’s single because she’s too independent and feisty and won’t give any man a chance. She’s the woman every man would want to be with if they weren’t with their wives…they say its bad timing.
I was with a group of people today, most of them were over thirty and single but they were neither overweight and clumsy nor sexy and feisty women…they were men! Good looking, smart, professional, almost responsible men.
My first argument was… “Why is it okay, even cool, for a man to be over thirty and single, but when it’s a woman, eyeballs start rolling” and then I got the whole biological clock theory broken down to me by men who probably missed every biology class except the one that taught on the anatomy of the female body.
As they talked about loving living single, I couldn’t help but wonder if these men believed in marriage at all and if they ever got lonely and experienced the unfathomable longing for companionship that even a twenty-one year old woman craves for. How different are men from women?
After I asked a couple of questions, I realized that as younger adults, they thought differently. They actually wanted to be married before thirty to women that made them feel life was the easiest thing to do. Even though they found these women in their early and mid twenties, they were still single a decade after. What went wrong?
They got me thinking about the possibility of a theory I once heard. Women can fall in love over and over again but a man has only one shot at it and if he fails, every other woman would be the next best thing but never quite ‘the one’. I shared this with them and they almost had my head, I wondered if the aggression was out of fear that it may be true and the weight of reality that they may never taste the sweetness of true love and passion again.
As I walked back into the room after leaving to make a call, Dotun, a thirty-eight year old doctor was complaining about his ex-girlfriend “ Any woman that wants to be with me would have to find a way to fit into my life, I’ve been on my own for twenty years and I’m set in my ways. She couldn’t live with that and she took a walk”, they all seemed to agree with him, even thirty-three year old Bryan who wakes up next to a different woman every morning was talking about being set in his ways…what a joke!
Does it mean that women that date men in their mid thirties have to conform to their standards and style of living? What happened to the sweet young men who would bend over backwards just to make their women happy? The frequent calls, the surprise parties, the ‘just because’ presents, the words of affirmation, the list goes on. Now, as a woman, they expect you to know they care about you – why else would they be dating you? You have to understand that they are busy, focused men who had lives before you came along and there’s no way they’re giving all that up, after all they’ve come this far without a woman, it can’t be so hard to go without.
It’s easy to tell what a fifteen year old wants in a woman, better still, a girl. Someone whose dad isn’t in the military; she should be cute enough and have evidence of what the biology teacher called ‘puberty’. A twenty-five year old is even easier…does she look ‘wow’ in a swim suit? Do other guys wish she was their girlfriend? Does she play the whole ‘ouch’ ‘oops’ ‘whatever!’ façade? If it’s yes, yes, yes then she’s good to go. They claim they want some brains too, but the brain that can say ‘No’ when a richer, older man comes knocking is just good enough.
But what does a thirty-something year old man want? Now, that’s hard to tell. It’s easy to assume they’ve seen it all, done it all and gotten T-shirts. Does that mean they want something more than all they’ve had and they’ll wait for it no matter how long it takes? After all ‘save the best for last’ right? Or would they settle for something less and be rid of all the tease about having gray hair and kids in diapers? Alas! Even they don’t know, and they have to admit: “the long wait has become their own worst enemy”.