© 2018 by Becky Monson

 

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CHAPTER 1

 

Main Entry: spin•ster 

Pronunciation: 'spin(t)-stər

Function: noun

 

1: an unmarried woman of gentle family

 

2: an unmarried woman and especially one past the common age for marrying

 

3: a woman who seems unlikely to marry

 

It certainly shouldn’t come as a shock. I’ve always thought of myself as a recluse, a loner of sorts. Now I have a new title: spinster. I think I need some ice cream or an entire chocolate cake… or both.

I am a spinster. I am a spinster. It’s true. I just looked it up in the dictionary, and there was a description of my life in plain view:

 

1: an unmarried woman of gentle family.

 

I’m an unmarried woman of gentle family. Okay, so I’m not quite sure what is meant by “gentle family.” I wouldn’t exactly call my family “gentle.” More like obnoxious. Still, I’m an unmarried woman who is part of a family, so that counts.

 

2: an unmarried woman and especially one past the common age for marrying.

 

I believe that I am past the common age for marrying. I just turned thirty-two. What’s the going age for marriage now? Twenty-five? Twenty-six? It doesn’t matter because at the age of thirty-two, my clock is ticking. In fact, my doctor informed me of that last week. He actually told me that I should consider finding someone and settling down because my eggs “weren’t getting any younger.” Pretty harsh when you consider that I haven’t been on a proper date in over a decade, right? I seriously should find myself a new doctor, one who sugar-coats everything. I could use more sugar-coating in my life right now.

 

3: a woman who seems unlikely to marry.

 

This one has to be the worst of them all. That is so me. I bet when people look at me that’s what they’re thinking. I get that pity look all the time. The one where people tilt their head slightly to the side, purse their lips, and nod sadly at you.

Today was pretty rough as it was. With a rudely written email from my boss, a ticket on my car when I poorly parallel parked to get some take-out, and a flip of the middle finger from some guy for no reason at all. Okay, I may or may not have cut him off, but was a hand gesture necessary? I think not.

 

Anyway, I came home and decided to watch the news. I never watch the news, but for some reason today I did. Big mistake. The lead-in story for the second half of the show—which I thought was ridiculous—was about this strange old lady who sat out on her porch all day, yelling at her neighbors. I thought it was bizarre that they were using this for a lead-in, but it worked because I hung around to see more.

 

So apparently, this lady caused quite a stir in her neighborhood. To me, she was the epitome of a spinster. From the trailer park, to the cats, to the scraggly hair and missing teeth. She was also wearing some sort of muumuu gown, and I’m quite sure there was no bra under there.

 

I decided to see what Webster’s definition was for spinster. Just for the heck of it. I looked it up on my smart phone, and there it was: my life in Webster’s dictionary. You suck, Webster. 

 

How did my life become so average? Truth be told, I’m just a plain old nobody. A nobody who swore she would be somebody. So much that when I was twelve, I bet my younger brother five dollars that I would be famous by the time I was fifteen. He’s never let me live it down.

 

I was going to be a famous actress or singer or anything that would get me to meet Brad Pitt and marry him. I used to have dreams. I used to have hopes. But now I’ve settled into my little world, and I don’t have much to dream about anymore.

 

This is crazy. I was clearly expecting a different definition of spinster when I looked it up. Something like, “a woman who lives alone with multiple cats, in a trailer park.” Not so close to home as what I found. And yes, I do have a cat named Charlie, but only one. And no, I do not live in a trailer home. I live in my parents’ basement, which I realize does not sound impressive to begin with, but has now taken on a whole new level of pathetic-ness.  

 

Maybe I just need to accept it. I should acknowledge the fact that I am going to die alone and unloved with my cat (or cats at that point). I could start looking forward to the part where I get to start randomly screaming at people. I should stop deluding myself with any sort of dating (not that there has been any, anyway), cut to the chase, and start yelling now. “Get off my lawn, you damned hooligans!”

 

But my mom is always telling me to make the best of a situation, so instead of giving in, maybe I could try to find a silver lining. But how do you make the best of being a spinster? Just off the top of my head, maybe I could turn myself into some sort of superhero, like “Spinster-girl” or something. And I could go around doing nice things for other spinsters. Or finding all lost cats a home. Or even better (and more realistic), I could be a motivational speaker for women with no life, or hope, such as myself. We could bring our cats to some retreat high in the mountains and talk about our feelings. I would get up in front of them and tell them with as much enthusiasm and drive as I could muster, “It’s okay to be alone. It’s okay to have no one to come home to. It’s okay to live in a trailer park or your parents’ basement. Embrace your inner spinster, ladies! Embrace her!” This might be my calling in life. I could write a book. I would be famous. My brother would pay me back those five dollars from our bet.

 

Truly, if I am being honest, there is no positive spin on this. My only option is to fix it. Sadly, I’m not a “fix-it” person. If we were going down in a boat, and we all knew we were going down, I would not be one of those people who would be trying to bail us out until the last second. I would lie down and let it happen. It’s much easier that way. But maybe I need to try this time. I need to get a bucket and bail myself out of my life, one bucket at a time if I have to.

 

Okay, let’s see. What kinds of things do people who are the opposite of spinster do? Well, number one is most obviously to move out of my parents’ basement. I mean, what kind of person lives in their parents’ basement at the age of thirty-two? It’s ridiculous. Of course, I do have a pretty sweet deal. I don’t pay any rent, and technically it is the basement, but I have my own kitchen, bathroom, and living room. Except for my mom coming down to visit anytime she “darn well pleases,” it’s not that terrible of a setup. But it’s spinsterish for me to live in my parents’ basement. I seriously need to move out. 

 

For the record, I have been telling myself to move out for the last ten years. Oh my gosh, it just hit me that I’ve lived here for ten years. And if you cut out the five years I went away for college (yes, I was on the five year plan), I have lived in this house for twenty-seven years of my life. I am such a loser. 

 

Number two is to get some exercise. To be totally honest, I can’t remember the last time I actually exercised. Maybe college? I sort of remember having a roommate in college that tried to get me to jog with her. Obviously it did not have a lasting impression on me.

 

Luckily for me, so far my genes have saved me from having to become a workout-aholic, but I know I need to start doing something. I’m not what anyone would call fat, but I can certainly say I’m out of shape. So exercise needs to be on the list.  

Number three on my list should be to eat better. I like food. I love to bake. In fact, it’s one of the few ways I have to get away from my mundane life. I love to make sweets, and I even invent recipes of my own. I have to sample things to make sure they’re not poisonous, of course. Again, I have some lucky genes, because honestly, with the sweets that I eat, if it weren’t for my genes, I might end up featured on one of those “They had to cut me out of my house” reality shows.

 

Number four on this list would be to get some new clothes and a new hairstyle. I do realize “the Rachel” went out of style a long time ago, however, I am a creature of habit. It took much arm-twisting and berating by my mom to get me to cut my hair into a style in the first place. I can’t seem to change it. At least I have a style, right? Don’t most spinsters just have oily and scraggly hair? So I’m a step ahead in that area.

 

Number five would have to be to get a social life. Baking and watching TV are what I do in my spare time. I don’t hang out with friends at all. I get up, I go to work, I come home. I bake most nights, watch TV nearly every night, and then I go to bed. This has been my schedule for some time now, and I’m used to it. This really needs to change. I need a life. A real one.

 

Number six would be to do something else for work. I have to pat myself on the back for this one because I am already taking a step in the right direction. I’m not doing anything crazy like moving to another company or anything. That would be too much for me. Change and I don’t mix well. To prove that point even further than I already have (ahem, parents’ basement), I’ve actually been in the accounting department since I started there ten years ago. I hate this department. I’ve hated it since the first day. Recently though, there was an opening in HR that is perfect for me, and so I did it: I put in my request for a transfer and sent in my resume. I am dying to find out if I got it. I’m a shoe-in really, so I’m feeling pretty confident about it. 

 

Okay, considering how much I dislike change, getting myself out of the spinster category is going to be harder than I thought. I will persevere though. I must! I must rid myself of this new title. My life has to become something—something more than what it is now. I have a feeling it’s going to be harder before it gets easier.

 

Thirty-Two Going on Spinster

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