Call Me Pepper Maid

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.

Spinster

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.

Catherinettes

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.

Cat Lady

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.