People tend to think that single women of mature age are either cougars or man hating crazy cat ladies. There are some who are like that obviously, but not all of us fall into either of those categories. Some of us are just normal women who, by virtue of circumstances, are alone.
The thing about being a woman living alone is that you get used to it. It becomes comfortable and normal and the more time that passes, the more difficult it is to change your habits. If has been years since you had a relationship, the prospect of dating is a terrifying concept.
My last relationship ended in 1995 or thereabouts. I've been alone ever since, and not a sniff of a man have I had in all the years since. Personally, the thought of trying to flirt or attract a man is tantamount to asking me to leap out of a plane without a parachute and rely on a giant eagle to catch me and fly me back to the Shire.
The other problem faced by women in my position is that, as time goes on, it becomes more difficult to actually be attractive, in a physical sense anyway. As our boobs head southwards, our bellies take on a remarkable likeness to Buddha and the wrinkles take up residence on our faces like a group of new age travellers in a layby, each day we become less and less able to attract a man worth having.
If you're lucky enough to have a well paid job, you can get a little help from botox, a gym membership and a nip and tuck here and there. Most of us however, don't earn enough to gain access to such aids to beauty and we are left to cry at our reflections and shop for baggy t-shirts in charity shops.
It's not just sex either, although of course that comes into it. The thing that is the worst for me, is the knowledge that no one sees me and chooses me. No one looks at me and thinks, "I'd like to spend some quality time with her." As you get older, as a woman, you get more and more invisible and it's not so much sex that becomes impossible to find, but someone who actually wants to do it with you.
Another assumption people make about us older single gals, is that as we get older, our standards get lower. I'm no more liable now to want to spend a night with some fat, balding, paunchy, toothless, ale swilling old goat, than I was twenty years ago. In fact, I'm far less likely nowadays. Rather than our standards going down as we get older, they actually tend to go up.
Current thinking is that only the young are beautiful and once you pass forty, you become invisible, and this is responsible for so much loneliness and so many tears and I blame the media entirely. Movies and TV shows all portray beauty as both young and slim and anything outside of that is unworthy of love or attention. The middle aged, overweight woman is always portrayed as either the crazy woman next door, the cleaner, the beautiful young thing's mother/grandmother who doesn't matter and other such roles. We never get the man in movies anymore, we never fall in love or have sex and we're never desired.
It's not that I don't like being without sex. I just don't like the knowledge that no one wants me, for anything. It's the fact that no one has made me their choice, rather than the act itself. The overwhelming display that I'm now unworthy. I've stopped being a woman and become just some old person in their eyes. Often, I feel as if the world is expecting me to apologise for not being attractive anymore, to apologise for not be sexy and not being desirable. This makes me feel as though I'm not a woman anymore, but a genderless thing.
I don't think I want to remain in a world where I'm held in such low regard.