I am weird, and apparently have been that way for some time–and I’ve only just found out. Now that was a shock, or maybe it wasn’t, as I’ve always suspected I was perhaps “different,” but would I have gone as far as to say I was “weird?” Maybe not, but now I have the Today Show to thank for this recent revelation that I am, in fact, an anomaly of nature–simply because I am single, and am therefore, officially “weird.”

In an interview with Betsy Israel, the author of a book called Bachelor Girl on the subject of the apparent aberration of society presented by single women, several interesting, and so-called, facts were pointed out. Being a single woman, I paid particularly close attention to see what was being said, because at least in theory, all of it potentially applied to me.

Perhaps I’ve had blinders on–or perhaps I have been totally blind–but according to Ms. Israel single women have always been thought of and portrayed in literature as either sick or deranged–or both. Oh my. Why hadn’t I ever noticed this? Now that I think of it, she’s probably right. Jane Eyre was a bit off kilter and Lizzie Borden didn’t fare so well in the sanity department either. And think of poor old Miss Habersham. Oh my again. Some, or maybe all, of these poor souls are mentioned in Ms. Israel’s book, along with some modern day neurotics, also single women, made known and popularized by TV sitcoms–Mary Richards and Rhoda from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Elaine from Seinfeld, Roz from Frasier, and all-time champion neurotic, Ally McBeal.

Rather than my current single status qualifying me for some “weird award,” what has previously occurred to me, although still only very recently, was that I was perhaps not “normal” because I had chosen not to have children. I guess I now win the award on two counts.

The question remains of why have I only just recently become aware of how my choices have me unwittingly categorized by the rest of the world as bizarre-at-best. Maybe I have a talent for overlooking the obvious. Or maybe the reason is that in the very small family from which I came, I had no cousins. I had three aunts, two of whom never married, and although the third has outlived two husbands, she never had children. So I guess that being single and/or not having children had always appeared to me to be ‘normal’ alternatives. I never thought of either state as being contrary to nature.

But here’s what I really think. I think the rest of the world, that includes many married women, is so envious of the lives of those of us women who are unattached and unencumbered that they long ago passed the stage of merely turning green with envy. Many seem to have lost their balance entirely.

I know from first-hand experience that marriage is not always a picnic as I was married, in a distant past life, for over 10 years. Others agree. Joseph Campbell, the mythologist made famous when his book The Power of Myth first aired as a series on PBS in the 1980’s, called marriage “an ordeal to be endured.”

It would seem that at least some of the writers of Frasier were women. In an episode where Daphne’s mother expressed her feelings about the institution of the wedded state, she addressed Niles and Daphne and said, “You young modern people think marriage is some sort of promenade through paradise, when it’s more like a march through Hell with a man strapped to your back and a litter of nasty babies swinging from your teats!”

There was a study–the one I am thinking of was probably one of several that have covered the same ground over the past twenty years–that concluded with the findings that the happiest people on the planet were, not surprisingly to me, married men–and unmarried women. The unhappiest were single men–and married women. The writers on Frasier must have heard about that study too.

So, considering this, who would seem the best candidates for schizophrenia? Certainly not the unmarried female set! Instead it would seem that perhaps over all these years a vast conspiracy has been at work, inspired and kept alive by men, to make women believe that the single state among women is an undesirable one–and one that categorizes a woman as “weird.” After all, men are counting on women to join up with them in the married state in order to make their lives “happy.”

In fact and all along, the real truth is exactly the opposite. The single state has been and remains the one most desired and coveted, if secretly, by women everywhere–at least once they’ve seen the light as Daphne’s mother had. Is it in fact the only sane state? Could well be. Women I know think it is. So who really qualifies as sick, deranged, and potentially weird? I’d better call the Today Show and correct the apparent inaccurate impressions that resulted from that interview, because on second thought, it definitely is not me!

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