HAVE you readers noticed the new and growing breed of ‘forever singles? It consists of a band of empowered, independent women who don’t want to be defined by a relationship. Not for them: nights slumped on the sofa trying to pacify a screaming kid whilst their man snores in front of Super Sports. Instead, they have made a positive commitment to what is now known as long-term singleton.’ For these band of women, there are no mandatory trips to visit in-laws they would ordinarily not interact with socially—nor dreary weekends traipsing smelly markets in order to warm their affection into their men’s tommy. Being forever single is a lifestyle choice which removes the need for a man from the equation of personal happiness.
ln a recent discussion on one of the TV channels, one of the impressive-looking discussants tore relationships to shreds. If they happened and you’re one of the lucky few to find a man who genuinely commits, fine. If not, there are challenging alternatives to complement your lifestyle.
According to her, a lot of single women today are buying their first property on their own—they don’t wait for Mr. Right before making a key decision. What’s more, fewer women than ever are choosing to get married. The number of single women between the ages of 25 to 45 has doubled over the last two decades.
At my regular salon recently, Kemi, the owner of the salon was not impressed by a customer who favoured a nail polish her husband could tolerate. She sneered after the woman left: “I always laugh when ladies come to my salon to have their nails done, and when I suggest a particular shade of polish, they say, ‘my husband wouldn’t like that.’ Why tolerate that degree of control over your life? I’ve never been maternal and I’ve never really wanted children. I opened this salon when I was 24, and now I’m building up, my events management,my degree has always stood me in good stead in whatever I choose to do. “
“When I have fun, I want it to be on my terms. My last relationship was a few years ago— it was on and off —over a couple of years and I dated other men in between. I realised being in a couple wasn’t for me. My boyfriend never wanted to do the things I want to do, like travelling or night clubbing. I didn’t want to be limited. Mind you, dedicating myself to the single life doesn’t mean I reject my innate femininity, but there’s no room for compromise even when it comes to casual dating. Men take an interest in me all the time. I recently met a man at a friend’s party and he asked for my number. He was nice-looking and seemed up for more fun, so I took out my phone and he saw my screen-saver; which is a photograph of my cute dog. When he said he didn’t like dogs, I thought, “why bother giving him my number?’ So, I didn’t. I can’t be bothered with someone who doesn’t like the things I like. Selfish? May be, but that’s the harsh reality.”
Being single by choice clearly squashes that theory that a Prince Charming is required for a fulfilled life. As for becoming mothers? Well, as one committed singleton explains with brutal frankness: “The fertility industry is out there if we want to have partners’ if that sounds a cold-blooded and even irresponsible way to bring a child into the world, then according to experts, today’s modern woman is more emotionally secure because the fear has been taken out of being alone. As I write, I recall a few singletons, who’d gone abroad for their designer babies, even settling to have half-cast ones!”
Anthonia, 33, a public relations consultant left for the UK six years ago to study marketing. In doing so, she waved goodbye to the handsome, successful lawyer boyfriend she was dating, ‘We later got engaged, but when I got a place at the university I wanted and he gave me an ultimatum—my overseas studies or him, I told him he was being ridiculous, that he should be supporting me, but he didn’t see it that way. I wanted the freedom to follow my ambition, so I left him. I was excited about my new path in life. I had ambition, and no one was going to squash it.”
And to what does she owe this free spirit? Is it nature or nurture? She feels she inherited her outlook from her mother. “I was brought up by a single mum, who taught me that you didn’t need to have a man around to be fulfilled. She developed her own toilet soap range and worked as an estate agent—and I’ve inherited her work ethic. I do 12-13-hour days. I might go to the gym on the way home or chill out at the social club I pay hefty sums every year to belong. When I get back to my lovely flat, I can just crash out. I don’t have to make an effort to stay awake for someone else’s small talk, but I’m not a loner. I love people, and I enjoy hanging out with friends.”
Something else that seems to inspire the forever singles is not having to be financially accountable to a man. “I have some friends who hide expensive buys from their husbands,” said Tcssy, 29, a communications and marketing manager. “They earn money of their own so it’s crazy. If I want something, like the N350,000 set of jewelry I bought recently, I go ahead and get it. I once dated ten men for a project I did at the university— going to the same restaurant over ten nights with a different man. Not one of the men held my interest. I have no desire just to be with someone else because I want a man at my side. I’ve always been fiercely independent with a great job and, a nice flat I fully owned. I’m not anti-relationships, I just don’t seem to need them in my life.
“My parents have been together for more than 40 years, but they accept the way I choose to live my life. I am good at what I do, I work long hours and I travel widely. It’s not that I don’t find men attractive, but I don’t feel any urgency for them to come into my life and change it.”
A renowned psychologist, Susan Firth offers a word of caution: “None of these women should discount the possibility of a relationship. If they’re genuinely happy, then great, embrace it, but I would advise them not to behave as if they’re anti-men. Ultimately, you’ll become abrasive, even defensive, and then you may find that no one will want to be around you. Embrace being a single woman, but keep the light switch on, who’s to say what might happen in the future?”
But Tessy takes her advise with a pinch of salt as she gets ready for yet another trip. “I don’t want to come back after a long day then have to sit down and be supportive to a man about his bad day – because hell never want to know about my bad day,” she says. “Being alone doesn’t scare me. Actually, I find it rather thrilling….”