He thought for a second and said, "well, your biggest issue, I think, is that you're 37 and have never been married and you don't have any kids. Guys see that as a HUGE red flag." The way he went on to describe it made me feel like a clearance-rack item, doomed to be picked over as I continue to collect dust on the back of the shelf. It's apparently better to be a divorced single mom than it is to be a middle-aged maiden. I believe I'm classified as what they call a..."spinster." No one takes into account that I spent 10 of the last 22 years earning higher degrees, and maybe I didn't have time to date, plan weddings, or have babies. No one seems to understand that not everyone meets their soul mate at 21. No one (except my girl friends - go figure) thinks it's "normal" to take a year or two off between relationships. No one thinks it's "normal" that I didn't get married the day after I graduated from college and pop out my first kid less than a year later. I'm regarded as "defective" because I didn't live up to the status fucking quo that everyone follows here. I'm not begrudging anyone their happily ever after, but maybe I should, since people see nothing wrong with pointing a self-righteous finger at my barren womb and unadorned ring finger.
I gave up on dating sites a long time ago because they just don't work (more on that later), but shortly after I moved here eight years ago, I received a note from a man on one site or another, and when I looked at his profile, I saw that he'd clearly skipped over the part in my ad that mentioned I wasn't interested in single dads. He had a kid. So I very politely wrote to him and said, "hey, thanks for the note. You sound like a great guy, but I should be honest with you and tell you that I'm really looking for someone without children. I live a child-free lifestyle, and someone with kids just isn't compatible with that. Thanks so much anyway, and best wishes in your search!"His response:
"If you are going to reject me based on the fact that I fell in love with a woman before you and our love resulted in the birth of a beautiful little girl whose light shines on my life every day, then I feel sorry for you. Your heart is dark, your soul is black, and I am lucky to avoid you. You clearly have deep-seated issues and I wish YOU the best of luck in your search, though you might just have to get used to being lonely for the rest of your life."