You confuse me.
I am currently reading ‘Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr Good Enough’ (Lori Gottlieb) because I love this kind of stuff. Same goes with ‘How to be a woman’ (Caitlin Moran) and ‘The Happiness Project’ (Gretchen Rubin) and basically anything that provides advice on how to live a good life.
By no means am I suggesting that my gorgeous boyfriend is Mr Good Enough. He’s Mr Unbelievably Excellent but this book makes some pertinent points about women and their expectations, namely women in the mid-30s (me) who the book’s experts accuse of being ‘desperate and picky’ about men, but also overwrought by how much stuff they feel they need to achieve just to reach benchmark.
And this is where issues of feminism come into play. Women are taught not to settle because we should hold out for the best possible job/person/education and on it goes. Our forebears fought for our rights and we should damn well exercise them.
But now I’m confused because this eternal striving for this best case scenario is not only exhausting, it’s unrealistic, not in the least part because we’re not equipped to be the best in every situation.
No one can be, do, have the best all the time.
In the same way I’ve realised that there’s no way on God’s earth I can realistically afford to buy an apartment in Glebe, there’s also a very high likelihood that I will never be on a board (because I haven’t done any board training), I may never write a book (because I can’t figure out the ending) and I will probably always be slightly chubby (because I am a lazy ass).
What I really want is a loving husband, some kids around (not necessarily mine), a dog and have a lot of really long Sunday lunches under a tree surrounded by people I adore. I imagine we’re probably laughing a lot and slightly tipsy. I would also like to paint, write, garden and go travelling every now and then.
I don’t need to make a million dollars, be a CEO, have my own biological children or buy a house but I’m grateful that it’s a possibility.
Sure, I’m a middle-aged divorcee who’s in debt, overweight and has spent the last three years starring in my own version of Trainwreck but I’m glad I have choices.
And the whole point of choice? Is the ability to say no. No I don’t want a high powered job. No I don’t want rock hard abs. No I don’t want to be rich or famous or do a PHD. I will never wear heels because they make me walk like a newborn foal. I wear red lipstick in spite of the fact that apparently it makes my lips look like engorged labia. I love wearing short dresses and muumuus equally. I’m going to dye my hair until I actually die because I have no intention of going grey EVER.
I’m happy with my life, in all it’s joyful fuck-uppery, questionable success and messy beauty.
So maybe that’s my kind of feminism: The kind that lets women (and men) do whatever they hell they want, so long as they’re not hurting anyone.