I’m turning 30 very soon and I’m (mostly) okay with that. I’ve had a year to get used to the idea and I’ve (mostly) made my peace. But I was watching Jeopardy last night and a clue mentioned that the Danish call a woman who is 30 and unmarried a “pepper maid.” I looked it up. There’s a whole ritual associated with it where your family and friends sprinkle you with pepper on your 30th birthday and give you a giant pepper mill made out of an oil drum. I don’t know about you but if someone were to leave a phallic-covered oil drum outside my door, I’d be pissed.
It got me thinking about other terms used for women of a certain age who have never married. Here’s a selection.
Not to sound weird or anything, but I’ve been calling myself a spinster for a couple years now. I’m joking. Sort of. What was once used as a legal term for any unmarried woman is now a derogatory term, meaning you’re not desirable. A couple trips through online dating and you’ll start to believe it. And question your sanity. Bright spot: Wikipedia lists “Notable Spinsters” as Jane Austin, Emily Dickinson, Susan B. Anthony, Coco Chanel, and Queen Elizabeth I. Those ladies did all right and they didn’t need a man.
From the Wikipedia entry: “Catherinettes was a traditional French label for girls of twenty-five years old who were still unmarried by the Feast of Saint Catherine (25 November). A special celebration was offered to them on this day, while everyone wished them a fast end to their singlehood.” A fast end to their singlehood. Yeah, that makes me feel real good about myself.
I’m not really into cats. I think I’ll be the lady who lives out in the country and hoards a hundred dogs until some do-gooder calls the county and they come take all my precious babies away. Thanks a lot, asshole.
Wow. That took a turn. Anyway, despite the fact that people are waiting longer to get married and have kids, our society as a whole still expects you to be married (or at least be in a long-term relationship) by 30. What’s up with that? Is it better to be a divorced single parent? At least they were married before 30. Dodged that bullet. I admit that this is not how I imagined my life at 30. But am I really going to listen to that confused 18-year-old who still had boy band posters on her walls? No. But that same 18-year-old never let other people tell her how she should be. And this 30-year-old isn’t taking any of that shit either.
When the big day comes I’ll celebrate this new chapter of my life. Just do me a favor and leave the pepper shaker at home.
[…] persecuted for following my own path (probably paranoia, but you know what they say about that), turning 30 unmarried (and thinking about it way more than is healthy), and my crushing loneliness and […]