One of the more amusing aspects of traveling around America’s little motels is the reading material you might find in your room. While staying at the Sweet Breeze Inn on my vacation trip last week, I ended up perusing a 1960s Ann Landers book encapsulating some of her life advice. I believe it was titled “Since You Ask Me”. Some of the advice was quite outdated–Ann took a firm stand against interfaith marriage, for instance. But other parts of the book sounded like they could have been written today. In particular, there was a section talking about how not everyone is meant to be married. Ann wrote about women who don’t have the desire to get partnered up–and how she rarely received letters from those women asking for help, because they were, for the most part, content with their lives.

As I get older, I’m turning into one of those women. In fact, I’m starting to suspect that I’m a person who’s happier when she’s not in a relationship. A relationship requires compromise, it requires a give and take. There’s no way around that. I get frustrated about having to give up time and space to a partner, and that’s not fair to either one of us. I like to spend my time doing the things I’m passionate about. I like writing. I like being involved in volunteering and politics and social events. Whether it’s because I’m the creative type or because I’m just plain selfish, I don’t want to have to sacrifice all that for another person. And I definitely don’t want to have to listen to a guy bitching and complaining because I want to go to a protest rally or want to go out dancing.

Our culture is in such a fevered rush to pair everybody up, as if our life isn’t complete unless we’re part of a couple. As if we don’t represent something complete as an individual. The problem is there is already so much going on in my mind and my soul that I have trouble making room.

So I have to say that it would take a lot to convince me to try dating again. I would have to be sure that my partner would recognize the real person I am, instead of trying to change me or make me over to match his tastes. I would need the freedom to still follow my passions. And I don’t know if any of that is possible.

Because inevitably, a relationship would require that I give and change as well. And like those single ladies who never wrote to Ann Landers, I kinda like my life as it is right now. Is this a bad choice on my part? Am I too self-centered? Am I settling for something less than? And if so, why do my wrong decisions make me feel so damn satisfied?

I should give fair warning that I wrote this at the confluence of a full moon and my PMS.  But hey, if I can’t vent about this on my blog, where else, right?

This post is simply here to say that after all this time, after having been raised with feminist ideals of equality, I have learned that the people who say that men and women are different from each other are right.  I know that there is indeed a feminine part of me which is naturally wired to be gentle, nurturing and caring to others.  And I absolutely despise that part of myself.

I have spent years trying to train myself to be selfish, to pursue my own dreams and my own happiness, but the female part of me always trips me up.  This is the part of me which worries about everybody else and wants to make sure that everybody around me is happy.  The part of me which is too nice and says yes to too many things.  And when I get angry later about agreeing too much, the part which prevents me from speaking harsh words.  Because, unfortunately, I have the ability to empathize with how the other person would feel.

I was hoping that it was possible to use willpower to change myself.  To become just a little more indifferent, a little more ruthless, better at taking what I want.  But I am beginning to think that we are trapped by our biological programming, to a far greater degree than we believe we are. 

So in spite of myself, I am a woman.  I lose myself in relationships with other people until my identity blurs and I’m no longer sure of who I am.  I suppose this should be a comfort to conservatives everywhere–I have been broken down and forced to submit to the qualities of my own gender.