But…what if he likes me?!?

I bumped into this tweet by @MikeMunyi a few hours ago, and at first I felt slightly offended. It seemed like a huge generalization, while at the same time, it seemed to point directly at me. But then I took a moment to think about it, and there’s actually a lot of truth in that statement.

I’m not sure why it rings so true. Speaking for myself, it’s pretty straightforward. I turn 30 in a few days, so my bio-clock should be roaring as I’m nearer to my sell-by-date. Luckily for me, I had my daughter almost ten years ago, which cured that particular bug. Another issue for women today is marriage, but I lived with my baby’s dad long enough to know that’s not for me.

Over the years, I’ve become rather skeptical cynical  comfortable in my lifestyle, and I’m not too keen to alter it for anyone. I realize that relationships can be a beautiful thing, but they require a lot of sacrifice, compromise, and … well … work. I don’t really have the energy for that. I’m a born romantic, so I have no problem with love – for other people. I do, however, have a lot of problems with love when it comes to me.

There’s another category of women, the type that think men are only after one thing. Possibly because they’ve only been with men who were after that one thing. So anytime someone shows the slightest bit of interest, it’s hackles out! Now, assuming the man in question is keen enough, smart enough, and patient enough to prove he’s out for more, that creates an entirely different scenario.

I suppose it goes back to the reasons why women want to get married: kids, legitimacy, companionship, social standing, nagging relatives, and yes, love. A friend of mine was once advised by her banker that she should get married to qualify for a mortgage, so finance comes into it as well. In the world today, pooling financial resources seems like a pretty good idea, even if you’re not the type that expects your taller half to pay for all the bills.

I consider myself a modern woman. I live in a flat with my daughter, and manage our bills with both difficulty and efficiency. I come and go as I please, except for calling up my little one when I have to stay late at work. I have financial plans, both short-term and long-term, and I have a fairly rigid map of where I plan to be in ten years time.

Given all that, there isn’t really room in my life for a man.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not any kind of feminist. I admit that I sometimes need a man to get a rat out of my house. But my brothers live five minutes away, and they do that for me gladly. I also have a lot more … shall we say … base desires. But it’s sometimes easier to get those needs met outside a marriage than inside it.

And here lies the problem. I have my baby, so I don’t need a sperm donor. I pay my bills, so I don’t need a financial partner. I need male company and advice sometimes, but I have friends, cousins, and brothers who provide that gladly. I have no immense desire for a mum-in-law, and I can get my horizontal needs without a ring. So, for me, marriage is not a necessity.

But if I don’t want him to marry me, what exactly do I need him for?

See, if I meet a man who’s after my … um … assets, then all I have to do is analyze my options. I can look at him, size him up, and decide whether or not he can ‘gerrit’. Simple. But if a man comes looking for more than a one-night stand, then what? I don’t want to marry him, because I don’t want to marry anyone. I don’t want to date him, because dating is a lot of work, and is rather pointless if there’s nowhere it’s going.

I suppose dating is about spending time [and money] together, getting to know each other, doing things you both enjoy, finding out whether you’re compatible. The key difference between dating and hanging out with male friends is that dates get horizontal at some point, and ideally, progress into long-term arrangements. But if I can get horizontal without the small talk, the wining and the dining, then why date? And if you’ve been labelled as ‘ungerritable’ then why not just spend time with you as a friend?

This for me, is the problem. The boy appears, we go out a few times, we have fun, maybe we even get horizontal, but he wants more. He is ‘genuinely interested’ in me. What do I do with him now?

There are still women who are looking for the happily ever after, who long for a man like this, a man who genuinely wants to be with them for more than just one night. But there’s also a large group of smart ‘independent’ progressive women who just want to have fun and live. Maybe when this group turns 35, they’ll be ready to settle down with guys that are genuinely interested in them. I don’t know what the odds are, and I won’t get into statistics. In the west, it’s perfectly natural for a woman of 40 or even 45 to settle down and start a family, but here, you still get strange looks if you’re on the wrong side of 30 and you’re not yet a Mrs.

My brother always says the world has a way of righting itself, so maybe by the time these independent women turn 35, it will be more acceptable to slow down and join the league of ball and chains. But until then, we will have some attending seminars like these, others complaining there are no good men left, and others being overwhelmed by good men that they don’t know what to do with.

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Crystal Ading' is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through threeceebee.com.