‘Spinster’, according to wikipedia:

is a term referring to an unmarried woman who is older than what is perceived as the prime age range during which women usually marry. It can also indicate that a woman is considered unlikely to ever marry. The term originally denoted a woman whose occupation was to spin.

Recently, while on something of a writer’s retreat in the Klein Karoo at a friend’s farm and tourist destination, I took along a book that had been gathering dust next to my bedside for some time, namely, Spinster by Kate Bolick. Retreating in the heat of the day after a swim in the lake to my lodgings to read in the peace and quiet of the great outdoors and away from any city rumblings or distractions like cell signal and ceaseless notifications, was just what I needed to get my teeth into a good book. And Bolick’s was a good book indeed. An exploration mining a source of women, all artists in some way or shape or form, who, in the author’s life, had served as muses as to how women might be able to live their lives beyond the prerequisites of what society usually deems as ‘appropriate behaviour’… Well, it got me thinking on the choices in my own life, and where I saw myself in relation to all of these women who have gone before me and forged such blazing paths.


It is true that a writer’s life can be a solitary one. There are certainly no office romances on the cards for someone like me who whittles away in the confines of the four walls of my cottage day in and day out. Beyond this, I don’t have the energy or enthusiasm perhaps demanded of one to enter the realm of internet dating. Two years single now, perhaps does not quite a spinster make. All the same, I find myself warming more and more to the term, for all its oft-times derogatory implications. Mine is a life all my own. And let’s face it, relationships are not always effortless. They require time and more often than not, a great deal of compromise. And as I slowly approach 40, I find myself less and less willing to compromise. I can watch any movie I want. Listen to any music I like. Write by day, or brainstorm and write throughout the night until the sun of a new day is peeking through the clouds. I can eat pizza with anchovies and loaded to the hilt with chilli and garlic and make my chicken curries as devillishly hot as a I positively wish! And without a doubt, energies potentially spent in a relationship are instead chanelled into the work I do. Work that nourishes me, inspires me to the hilt and in which I find great meaning and purpose. I answer to no one but myself. And this can prove a heady intoxication to be sure. And one not to be underestimated as society is often foolish to do.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not averse to the notion of love should it find me one day. Who knows what the future might hold… And I have many a married friend who has found a source of great happiness in their union. So I’m not entirely averse to the notion of marriage. It might be a good fit on me one day… Again, who knows and who can say… And perhaps I’d be just as content with a life partner… Or an endless string of lovers… Not being one to ascribe entirely to the idea that marriage is the only way to bind two people who truly love each other. All that said and done, my point, and I do have one, for my all my rambling, is that spinsterhood does not terrify in the slightest… In fact, it is a state of being I find all the more intriguing the more I grow with the passing of my years. And a fitting state for one whose life’s intention is to spin stories for the rest of her living days… With cats of course!

There are so many ways of being available to us, as women. Yes, and yes, it can be said that some preconceived notions pervade. But truly, who gives a shit?! If you’re a spinster like me, I say embrace the hell out of it! Make a Christmas bed in the lounge and indulge in all your favourite movies with all your favourite treats and a bottle of bubbly all to yourself for good measure! Live uncompromisingly and be bold and take heart in all of your personal triumphs… Make yourself something lavish and indulgent and just how you like it for dinner and serve it for one on all your best crockery with your finest silverware… Find work that feeds your soul, or embark on hobbies that bring you joy… Forget all those Disney fairytales that taught you your life’s purpose was to find a prince… Reign over your own realm instead, a realm entirely of your own making! There is no need to be anyone but one’s self. So spread those wings, my most beloved singleton, and take flight, glorious flight, over your magnificent kingdom! Or eat ice-cream in your undies! The time is now, to embrace each and every whim you might have… And there is no better time than that.

Featured image: The Spinner by William Bouguereau



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