As Sunday morning is a working morning for me, I rarely sit and read the papers. However, it seems that when I do, there is always an article, generally in the Style section of the Sunday Times, that sends me in to a spin. Last time it was Claudia Winklemann telling us what we should and shouldn’t be wearing after a certain age, and this time it is Jean Godfrey-June (Executive Beauty Editor for Goop.com, Gwneth Paltrow’s company), waxing lyrical about her ‘post divorce beauty routine‘
I had hoped to find an article that offered advice on things that might make women feel better after an event as a traumatic as divorce: products that deliver a large dose of TLC, or a confidence boost. Instead, I found myself reading about which beauty regime to adopt to have the best chance of securing the next man. How sad.
I should have known, the signs were there from the start:
I’d grown up on statistics about single women and their ever diminishing chances…I could only imagine what the statistics might be for single moms in their forties.
Against my better judgment, and to the detriment of my blood pressure and Sunday afternoon peace of mind, I read on.
What saddens me the most is the idea that life isn’t worth living unless you have a man in it. And that even after the traumas of a relationship that has not worked out, the best way forward is to get straight back on the search to fill the gap. Worst of all, that it is women’s responsibility to look as good as they possibly can to increase their chances of getting one!
You can’t know what sort of a person….your potential mate is looking for. Do they love women with perfect manicures or do they see them as a huge high maintenance turnoff?
When I read articles like this one, I can’t help but feel concerned about the out-dated idea that, as women, we are the subjects of a selection process over which men have sole control. I worry about the inherent impotence and self-imposed inequality that accompanies it. Even more concerning is the potentially flawed decision making that can result. It is exactly this kind of thinking that leads to bad choices…. repeatedly.
And anyway is life without a man really that bad? Not if my own experience is anything to go by. Living alone can be liberating, exciting, and a hugely positive and rewarding experience. I have spent many wonderful years as a single woman and would happily go back there should the chef finally get fed up of my antics (or me of his!). The reality is a far cry from what the media and others would have us believe.
Of course being in a relationship is special too but only on the right terms. I live by the premise that if someone comes into my life they have to make it better not worse and that it is mutual respect, honesty and a readiness on both sides to compromise, that ultimately leads to true and lasting happiness. It does not come from contorting yourself to fit what you believe is someone else’s preference.
Learning to love yourself and treating yourself well for no other reason than because you deserve it, is paramount. Spend the money on the manicures but do it simply because they make you feel better. The more you can love yourself and be true to yourself the more others will be attracted towards you. Whether or not you choose to allow them in is then down to you. As women we do have a choice….no statistics required! Is that not a more healthy position to be in?