There's another movement in the black community and no it's not about race or poverty, it's about something very basic, marital status. In this time of deadbeat dads, cuts in social programs (including education), black women are finding themselves occupied with learning to survive on their own without concern as to whether or not mister right is in their futures.
It's not about unresolved issues with men or fear of commitment that motivates so many young women to seek emotional and financial security within themselves. No it's the disillusionment of men's roles. Now men are the ones shopping for material and financial qualities of a stable mate. Other reasons for the resurgence of spinsterhood is the lack of patience for the Rules (the rules we're talking about are found in the book entitled The Rules), career demands, and for some the buying into the eligible male shortage myth. Let's start with the disillusionment with men. The mate expectation has changed shoes, men are now looking for women who have the house, car, and good paying job. Whereas, in the past it were the women guilty of such pickiness. Not perceived as bad at the time women were guilty of screening their mates, it's now seen as unacceptable since men have adopted the practice.
"I used to date a few years ago but have since stopped. It came to a head when I noticed before a man would ask me out he had to know what I did for a living and what kind of car I drove. I thought women did that. It turned me off seriously!" Vanessa (31) accountant, Houston
"I can remember a man asking about my financial standing and job, and I have to say it did not set right with me!" Tonie (36) practical registered nurse, Phoenix
"When that book came out it was received with a applause,all it showed me was how soon we forget that stuff never worked. There's nothing new or mind altering about that book's contents so why all the fuss, it don't work anyway!" Bethany (41) secretary, Houston
Many black sisters see the Rules as a replaying of "old mind games" and offers no real intergender bonding, the type that produces strong and lasting commitments. It was those games that landed them in poor relationships to begin with, so rather than repeat past dating mistakes they've made peace with themselves finding they've evolved beyond the emotional toying.
"How can a woman expect men to respect her when she's playing childish games?" Theresa (29) restaurant manager, El Paso
"I can't stand it when a man strings me along, the last man that did that made me think that I deserved what I got from him, nothing but promises. I can't blame him really, because I messed with his mind so much in the beginning of the relationship." Kanesia (31) graduate student, Dallas
Black women are more likely to get higher education than their male counterparts. They are also most likely to hold white collar positions which leaves them with more money but less social time. Not unlike other women, they're finding bar scenes degrading and a waste of time. Instead they would most likely want to spend their social time more conservatively such as in contemplation or with family and friends.
"It's a fact, the older a woman becomes the less likely she'll be able to find a mate especially one her age". Kandy (42) emergency room nurse, Houston
"When I turned thirty I decided I wouldn't pursue men anymore. I'm not willing to share a man and I most certainly won't fight over one. Yes I believe there's a man shortage but so what I'm just fine without them!" Denise (37) graphic artist, Houston
The man shortage myth has reach it's peak in the minds of thirty-something women, with special emphasis on Black men. Jail, undereducation, overeducation, and death can keep these men out of reach of eligible women. The mere mentioning of a man being overeducated makes one wonder what's being implied here, can a person have too much education? No, overeducated is a reference to how drastically a man's perceptions of others change with his advancement in education. According to a professor in Minnesota, men who had received advanced degrees were prone to objectifying and undervaluing women with less education than themselves. Developing what he called "the gift attitude". Meaning, they saw themselves as the old expression, "God's Gift To Women". Any woman in their lives should be thankful for the attention being bestowed upon her by them. Many women today don't see any reasons to tolerate demeaning attitudes from these men. These "God's gifts to women" are promptly dismissed as undesirables.
"Women waste too much time trying to catch that great guy rather than living, and before long when they're old and beauty-less they realize that time didn't wait for them. I live my life as though my very being depends on it which it does, so you're not going to catch me waiting to live only when I have somebody." Willita (30) advertising manager, Phoenix
This trend to forego marriage and in many instances romantic involvements is not new but it's gaining in appeal. Women feed up with modern men demanding they meet certain material, financial, and sexual critieria are gladly omitting relationships from their lives. Southern blacks have always seen spinsters as "funny girls"(in other words gay) or as women unlucky at love, either way girls didn't strive to be one, until now!
When I read the letters in the newsletter I sometimes feel like whoever wrote it was talking about me. That letter about the nun really touched home with me, I was once a sister. The torment of leaving I know all about, she spoke of being sick with worry of leaving even though she knew her place wasn't there any longer. The good thing for her was she left with the support of others who had left, I didn't have such luck but eventually it all worked out. Oh I don't want to delude you of the truth I spent many days praying for God to help me make the decision that was best for me. I left four years ago and I believe as she did, my life is better because of my leaving the sisterhood. It was only a place for me to hide from any possibilites of disapproval of my singleness by my parents. I sometimes envy those women that had the good fortune of being apart of families that didn't stress marriage as a must for girls. Julia, 45
Hard to believe Miss Melissa will be celebrating her silver jubilee of being devoted to the spinster lifestyle this month. Twenty-five years ago she divorced her husband of eleven years to exert her independence. For her marriage was a prison holding her against her will. A child of Italian immigrants she was told that marriage was the only way a woman could truly be a woman, and motherhood was the jewel in the crown. Married fresh from high school at seventeen she began her journey to self-discovery, a long and difficult road. Married to a man that saw women as servants, one step below children in the hierarchy of life, she endured emotional and physical abuse.
Years went by before she mustard enough courage to leave, abandoning the marriage that caused her so much pain. Told she would fail and crawl back for forgiveness by her parents she left the only environment she had ever known. Facing an unfamiliar world, no job skills, money, or family support she set her sights on Dallas in 1974. Determined not to fail giving life to the predictions of her ex-husband and family she held a wide variety of jobs, sometimes two at a time to make ends meet.
The following year later she had saved enough money to open a beauty parlor, nothing fancy, just plenty of room for her to earn a small consistent salary part-time. Still she pushed herself to do better in life adding night school to her already hectic schedule of surviving. It took her five years to obtain a associate degree in biology and eight to get her masters.
She's come along way from the unhappy marital runaway to the confident vice president of marketing of a cosmetic company in Chicago."I don't take my happiness for granted, I work for it everyday, twenty-four hours a day."
Footsteps of spinsters that have gone before and those that are soon to follow.
Have a Sweet Tooth?
How about a cookie, not just any cookie but one that's rich enough it'll blow any diet? Yeah I know many of us have a New Year's resolution to lose weight but how can we disobey our need to have bit of pleasure. I said a bit of pleasure which means savoring a cookie rather than a dozen of cookies, we can do it because we're women of great control,right? Remember ladies we can cut the recipe in half so as not to make too many cookies after all some of us are watching our weight, hopefully go down and not up. After I prepared the recipe I put half in a vacuum sealed ziplock and froze it for another splurge day.Smile you're getting a treat!
Mad Spinster Cookies
1 cups butter
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cups sugar
2 cups grounded oatmeal
1/2 cup cornmeal
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
9 oz. chocolate bar (grated)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cups chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped macadamian nuts
Combine cornmeal and oatmeal in blender, blend until fine powder. Blend the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder,nutmeg, and soda. Add chocolate chips, chocolate bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 56 cookies..
I don't see why loneliness should be seen as something to be ashamed of. I have work, hobbies, volunteer work and my cat to keep me busy, but it still hits me I feel lonely when the world around me all has other people in their lives. I'll help with the work to make money for a local club that uses it for a summer picnic, but I gave up going to the picnics since I was out of place. All the other women had husbands and children and talked with each other about their families, school events and other things a spinster like me has no part in. I just went home feeling lonely I'm not like everybody else my age. I like my way of life, no sex, but its like that is needed to belong. You must have a family or be a single mother to be accepted in this "family" town I'm in. Even the so called singles Christian group here seems more like a Parents Without Partners club with their Family events and their courses on how we are to get along better with our next mates. I don't want a mate. I just want some friends to go bowling with, go to the local Oldies bar with, DO things with instead of always doing things alone or not at all for fear it will make me feel lonely as it has done in the past. I don't let on that I feel lonely. I just act like I am too busy to go to any company Christmas parties, church, picnics or any other events families get together in so I don't have to look at them and get that lonely feeling inside. That feeling other spinsters get to have sisters to stick with. Why is God making me be completely alone? Why doesn't God get my life over with like He did that other spinster, Eleanor Rigby? That feeling I'm the only spinster in the world, everyone but me belongs out there. That longing for a place where I wouldn't be different and could feel like part of the crowd. When the loneliness does hit, I can do all I can to keep my mind from being idile, but that empty lonely feeling is always there. Why be ashamed of a feeling I can't shake? Anonymous
Thanks for adding this section to the newsletter I've received alot of motivation. I didn't know what a spinster was until I started getting this newsletter. I can recall hearing it but I never thought to ask and others never thought to tell me.
All the frustrations parents put on their kids is unreal. It really puts things into perspective for me, the only girl child in a family of 6. My parents never came right out and said I should find myself a husband but my mother makes sure I take her to every bridal shower she's invited to. I can expect to hear praises of it everyday for a week. Well I think I have it easy compared to others who have written. No Girl Power here just Spinster Power! Louise, 40
Congratulations Regena for getting the library to offer the newsletter to it's patrons, boy quite a feat when dealing with the Houston Public Library. You go girl! Terrie,31
My sister told me she was a leather spinster and all I could think, where did she hear that term? I thought she made it up but she showed me a newsletter. I still don't get the meaning but if being a leather spinster makes her happy then more power to her! Derrick G
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