When I first focused on the study of singles and singlism, I was a tenured full professor at a major university and I thought I would continue to be a full-time academic until the day I retired — which I assumed would be decades into the future. That was in the late 1990s. I never would have guessed that by the year 2000, my planned one-year sabbatical would turn into something else entirely.
Many years ago, one of my colleagues became a father for the first time. One time, as I held his tiny baby in my arms, my colleague looked at me, grinning broadly, and said, “Bella, you’re a natural!”
You know that scare story about how if you are single, you will grow old alone? My fear is that I WON’T grow old alone! I don’t mean that I want to be socially isolated. Like so many other single people, I have friends and family, and I don’t expect that to change. I also don’t mean that I’m worried about not living long enough to grow old, though I do have bad longevity genes. (My mother died at 71 and my father at 64. They were married for more than four decades, so don’t blame their short lives on singlehood!)
There are times when certain topics seem to be in the air, even with no obvious hook from the world of news or entertainment to hang them on. Lately, I’ve received a number of emails from people who don’t have children. Some don’t want kids and are annoyed when relatives or new acquaintances assume that they do. (Friends usually know better.) Other people have written to tell me that they would love to have kids, but don’t know if it will ever happen. Their issues are different from those of the people who don’t want kids.