Hi xoJane fam, heads up that this piece is a little different; a little comical, a little satirical, for your entertainment and (hopefully) enjoyment.
In my life as an unmarried woman, many interpersonal conflicts reach a stalemate when my opponent undoubtedly offers up the damning declaration but you ain’t even got a man, where is your husband, tho, etc.
It is a verbal blow from which I cannot recover—the fact of the matter is that no, I ain’t even got a husband-man, and that seems to bring to a close any number of conflicts, particularly heated exchanges on the internet and social media, often not even involving the topics of romance or marriage.
When someone facetiously and viciously inquires what I could even know about anything, barely eking out a sad excuse for an existence in my deeply unfavorable state of manlessness as I am, I want to tell them that they don’t even know the half of it!
As an unmarried woman, I know so little and I remain so lost. Sure, I hold two advanced University degrees, but I have no man to tell me why that matters. I lucked my way into a lucrative career that I enjoy, but without a man, I often just go to my office and go through the motions of what I think my job entails, secretly confused and spiraling down an overwhelming, manless rabbit hole of mistakes and estrogen-based devastation.
I wake up in the morning and wonder how I’ll face another day without enjoying permanent ownership of a man. I make coffee, but do I even like coffee? Oh, if only I had a man to tell me whether I do or not. I make a full English breakfast on most days, just in case a loose man happens to stumble by or miraculously appear—I’m told that men enjoy sausages and other pork products in the morning, but then again what do I know?
I usually end up taking the breakfast and the coffee out to the corner where Lily stays. Lily’s a lovely older lady who doesn’t have a home. Lily visits a shelter from time to time, but she generally wanders my neighborhood and sleeps on the corner with her scruffy little pit bull/terrier mix. She never causes trouble, and she doesn’t seem to be one of the disproportionate number of people who are homeless and living with mental illness. I imagine she just never got a man.
I take Lily her breakfast and coffee, and she thanks me. I pet her feisty little dog and realize he might be a male—if so, would that count as ‘having a man’? Probably not. Silly me. These are the kind of ridiculous thoughts I routinely fall prey to since I don’t have a man.
I walk a bit past where Lily stays, and I consider taking the subway to work. Technically, I could walk there, and sometimes I take a cab if the weather is inclement. But I can never decide. On most days, I stand there on the street wondering if I’ll ever get to work, and if so, by what mode of transportation? I don’t know anything, and by now you know why.
Even the smallest things become massive trials in my man-free lifestyle. I was recently at the grocery store, frozen in the produce section, deliberating over a package of blueberries. Do I like blueberries? I wasn’t sure. Was I certain these even were blueberries, and not just raspberries or snozzberries in disguise? Are snozzberries a real thing, or did I just hear that in the Willy Wonka movie? And if so, was it the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory or the abhorrent 2005 Tim Burton remake Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Why was that remake even made? And if it had to be made, why was there so much use of computer-generated imagery and facial prosthetics? Why did they replicate one little person as all the Oompa Loompas instead of using a group?
And is that Oompa Loompa portrayal racist or at least racially or culturally insensitive? They’re a small group of literally small people who have darker skin than everyone else and do all of the work. They disappear into the shadows and pop out to sing and dance for the fancy candy man and his guests, and oh my goodness wasn’t the Leonardo DiCaprio character in Django Unchained named Monsieur Candy? Or was it Monsieur Candie? Either way, is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory actually about slavery and is Django Unchained about candy???
IF ONLY I HAD A MAN TO HELP ME FIGURE THIS OUT!
I sank to the floor of the grocery store, doing a classically tragic unmarried wall slide next to a lovely bunch of coconuts. I shook an angry fistful of blueberries (?) at the sky, and the blueberry (?) juice drizzled down my manless wrist, staining my spinster ensemble of leggings and a handkerchief hem tunic.
The store manager, a man, (of course), was summoned by the confused supermarket employees who stood over the pile of single lady sadness and unnamed berry juice that I had become. He reached out his manly hand to help me up off the floor, and I leapt into his open arms, tossing the mashed [I don’t know]-berries to the floor.
My brain felt as mushy as those snozzberry (???) guts—sometimes not having a man is just so debilitating that everything falls apart and I have to depend on the kindness of strangers to let me feel, for one brief shining moment, the unknowable bliss and non-stop comfort that is must be to have a man of one’s own.
No man could ever possibly let his woman down, or make a poor decision, or even just be human. Nay, they’re men! They are glorious, all-knowing, unquestioningly wise beings of strength and wonder, and on days like this when my existence turns to mush, I can only hope to be blessed by the fleeting guidance of one of these testosterone titans, temporarily pushing away the hollow pain of not possessing one of my own.
This particular man, this glorious god of grocery store management, held me close and patted my hair. He smelled like a barn and suffered from a pretty textbook case of clinical hyperhidrosis, and how fortunate I was that he came along and saved me. I had to catch my breath—breath that his manly prowess and rough but needed touch had snatched from my very lungs, and I looked him in his eyes.
He returned my gaze, and we stared at each other for what seemed like a triumphantly cisheteronormative eternity. I felt my life force returning at the benediction of his touch, even though I knew he would only be mine for these precious few moments until I was steady on my feet again.
“Please,” I said, “Please help me. I need your help.”
He opened his mouth to answer me, and his gruff voice fought its way through a haze of halitosis that seemed to contain ingredients as varied as coffee grinds and motor oil.
“What do you need, sweetie? What can I help you with?”
My words fought their way up from the depths of my soul: “Please, I need to know! Was it Veruca Salt who turned into a blueberry or was it Violet Beauregarde?”
He pulled me in to his significant pit stains again and rocked me gently side-to-side. “Violet, sweetie. It was Violet.”
I stood on my own two feet and repeated, “It was Violet.” And I remembered that it was. In that moment, I knew something. In that moment, and for only a moment, I had a man. He left me to go clean up the mess I had made, and I marched off into an unmarried, uncertain future, having been rescued from the brink of oblivion once again—by a man.