I Live In Nebraska Now

Sorry for being gone for so long y’all, I was busy moving to fucking Nebraska. NEBRASKA. To be fair, Nebraska has actually been pretty good to me thus far but WINTER. IS. COMING. And, if the mannequins at the sporting goods store are to be believed, then winter here is like what will happen when the sun dies and the world is cast into bitter, cold, darkness. So, yeah, I’m panicking and frequently asking my hubs (who grew up in Ohio and is much more prepared for this sort of thing) if he thinks that I have enough thermal underwear and maybe should we buy more hand warmers and also can we move back to Texas for the winter? (One yes and two nos for the record).

We moved to Nebraska because my hubs is a Professor and got a badass job at the University of Nebraska. Did y’all know that both Grace and I are married to Professors? Isn’t that adorable? Best friends married to men in academia?! And also our Professor husbands are best friends!! We are best friends who married best friends!!!! WE ARE ADORABLE. (If you know any sexy single Professors please let me know, I am constantly on the lookout for a suitable Professor for Kate so we can complete the trifecta/braintrust).

Anyway, so far I don’t hate Nebraska. Really. They have two great farmers markets in Lincoln, a Whole Foods, a Trader Joes, an AMAZING burger place, a great place for brunch, cheap booze, a beautiful capital building, lots of great walking and biking trails, and just epic tailgating.

On the other hand, their DMW can suck it. When we went to get our licenses my hubs was in and out in about 10 minutes. They didn’t ask him any questions and he only had to show his passport and two pieces of mail. Getting my license took 45 minutes and a pretty intense interrogation. I brought my passport, my Texas license, my social security card, and our marriage license. My hubs laughed at all of the identification I brought and thought that the marriage license was overkill. WRONG. They fucking grilled me on my name change, which has been in place for over a year, and ALL OF MY IDENTIFICATION HAS THE CORRECT NAME ON IT. But they were like “Your middle name [which is my maiden name] isn’t legal because you don’t have a court order.” NOPE. THAT IS INCORRECT. My name was legally changed and this is my recognized name by EVERYONE including the US government. It is the name on my passport, my Texas ID, and my social security card. Y’all, they were literally not going to give me a license. For real. I could feel my blood pressure rising as I was trying to explain the way legal name changes work to the manager of the DMV – that in fact, no, you don’t have to get your birth certificate changed to take your partners last name, and no, you don’t need a court order either. The fuck? I kept referencing my Texas ID, my social security card, and my passport. He repeatedly told me that they didn’t accept any of these as valid identification. THE FUCK? If a US passport isn’t a form of valid identification I don’t know what is. It has my name and my picture on it and has been verified by the federal government. Of course, it was perfectly acceptable identification for my husband, just not for me because vaginas are tricksy y’all. Right before my head exploded and I stormed out of there – he noticed my marriage license AND THEN GAVE ME A LICENSE. Apparently a piece of paper with no picture on it that verifies I am married is good enough even though my passport and Texas ID weren’t. BOOM MY BRAINS ARE SPLATTERED EVERYWHERE. He told me that since I could prove I was married that was good enough for him. Except they still refused to put my maiden name (aka my LEGAL MIDDLE NAME) on my license because that is not cool – you should only have your husbands name. Whatever, I numbly accepted the license (because you have to get a new license when you move to a new state otherwise I would proudly carry my Texas license that was absolutely no trouble to get FOREVER) and got the hell out of there before they decided I was, in fact, a terrorist. Oh yeah, because several times in the conversation the DMV manager told me that they couldn’t give me a license even with all my identification because terrorism. TERRORISM.

After I left, I spent the next several hours on the phone with my Mother and Grace freaking the hell out about all I had just been through. Then, because I can be a real asshole about principle, I decided to do some research to see if other state DMVs would have given me such trouble. The answer is no. A valid passport and state license would have been more than enough for literally every other state. No marriage license needed. And then my brain exploded again. The end.

Sometimes, I Worry About Marmalade

vintage_canning_posterMillenial women, I have concerns. It’s not a usual complaint—too many of us living with our parents or forgetting how to use our vocal cords, because of the Facebook—but something more insidious. I am worried about all the marmalade.

Have you preserved something lately? The internet says you have. Sure, maybe you just made some kumquat jam or harvested some green beans from your garden for later use. What’s the big deal, Grace? Everybody’s doing it. It’s not like I’ve set up a canning shed in the backyard yet. It’s not the jelly that truly worries me. If you want homemade apple butter, that’s your (delicious) right. If you want to spend all weekend stewing beets, stew away, my little ableskiver! What worries me is the canning movement.

Everywhere I look, our generation is celebrating domesticity. We’re making jam and knitting sweaters. We’re not only sewing our own clothes, but weaving the fabric from backyard cotton crops and creating chevron prints with handmade vegetable dyes. Flocks of children are being cooed over and homeschooled and raised on homemade organic vegan baby food. And that’s great! The domestic arts are important, under-appreciated crafts. For far too long, “women’s work” was reviled and treated as an expectation, not a honed skill. Knowing how to make things yourself is not only important, but freeing for both genders. De-stigmatizing the feminine is always a good idea, in my book.

Only…I’m less convinced that’s what we’re doing. Could this “new domesticity” not be busting gender roles at all, but reinforcing them? Look at your Facebook feed. Are any of your guy friends posting about the fruitcake they just baked or the new quilt they made for their son’s room? I’m betting not. Young women, however, are baking and sewing and quilting in droves. We’re sharing photos of our creations and blogging about them. Such hobbies are becoming the social norm for women.

canning_foods_vintageEven the look of our generation—the much reviled, but still copied hipster—falls into a gender dichotomy. The Millennial guy, the one who will be parodied at fraternity parties in twenty years, is hyper-masculine. He has facial hair and flannel shirts. He’s really into video games and philosophy and locally sourced bourbon. Meanwhile, our dear Millennial woman has long flowing hair, which she artfully arranges into a braided sock bun, and wears twee, collared dresses she’s made with her own hands. She bakes towering, photogenic cakes and uses homemade cleaning solutions to scrub the kitchen mess away.

That’s not radical, friends. That’s traditional.

If we’d reinvented domesticity, surely it would be split more equitably along gender lines? If our argument is that we’re de-stigmitazing women’s work, then these hobbies shouldn’t be confined to women. Just as many guys should be teaching sewing classes and making scones for their families on the weekend. And—I say this as a person who enjoys both of those things—they’re not. The revival of these arts is a vastly female endeavor. The people who are reading the blogs and pinning the recipes? Women.

We haven’t reinvented homemaking at all, we’ve returned to it. It’s not an inherently bad thing, because the traditionally feminine isn’t inherently bad, but it is a cause for concern. All too many women I know are getting involved with these pursuits out of a sense of expectation. All of their friends suddenly care about canning strawberry jam, so they must as well. The moment that pressure happens, we have a problem. Hobbies are all well and good. Choosing to stay home and raise your children is also all well and good, but we must keep it that, precisely: a choice.

We fought for our right to make pecan pie and kick ass in the working world. Little by little, women have bashed in the social constructs that kept us in the kitchen. The death of these societal expectations is what allows this “new domesticity” to exist, that allows a choice to be made. I’m worried that we’re getting complacent about keeping that choice. The same friends who learn to knit out of a sense of peer pressure, insist that feminism is no longer necessary. That is my marmalade nightmare, friends. Are we going to, slowly and beautifully, place ourselves right back on that pretty, homemade pedestal?

1950skitchenThere is still a war to be fought. The wage gap continues to exist; the gender roles continue to negatively affect both sexes. This is not the time to blithely saunter back toward tradition. Let’s bake our pies and care for our children, but keep up the good fight while we do so. Maybe our guy friends would like to make a perfect meringue or our sons would like to weed the garden? The feminine ideal shouldn’t be charming and pretty and accomplished. The feminine ideal shouldn’t be.

Canning fruit doesn’t make you a good woman. Sewing your husband a shirt doesn’t make you a good wife. You are good, whether you burn water or achieve perfectly fluffy souffles. The new domesticity is lovely, but it should never be an expectation. If you want to wear pearls and vacuum, then vacuum your little heart out. Just remember that you don’t have to.

Make your marmalade. Make intellectual war, while you’re at it.

– Grace

Hello, Big Boy: Pornography and Feminism

On Saturdays, We Talk About Sex is a new series in which the Spinsters talk about sex, sexual politics, and sexy things. On Saturdays. If you’re related to one of the Spinsters, or would prefer to never think of Grace/Kate/Mae mid-bedsport, this may not be the series for you. We recommend watching This ABBA video, instead of reading ahead. Everyone else, let’s talk about sex (on a Saturday).

04eMen watch pornography. It’s a bit of an expected thing, in this day and age. Teenage boys, given thirty seconds and relaxed Google settings, will find some people doing it. Boys will be boys, you know. Teenage girls, on the other hand, are expected to be horrified by porn, pretend it doesn’t exist, and spend all their time on Pinterest instead. This socially expected discrepancy will eventually play out in the following scenario:

A party of guys/girls. The first winter break of college.

Guys: We’re so free and adult now! We can talk about sex in front of girls!
Girls: We shall hint about our newfound sexual adventures, because it’s college and we’re no longer automatically slutty, if we’ve seen a penis!
Guys: Oh my god. The girls are ALSO talking about sex.
Girls: Sex, sex, sex! We are so empowered!
Guys: You know would be awesome, group of friends we’re really excited to be talking about real things with? Watching porn.
Girls: But no! We’ve never seen such a thing! Our eyes, our eyes!
Guys: Porn it is!
Girls: Oh My GOD! PEOPLE ARE HAVING THE SEX AND BEING NAKED! BRING US OUR PEARLS, FOR WE MUST CLUTCH THEM!

I know this scenario happens, because I’ve been there. An eighteen year-old Grace quite vocally insisted that she had never, not ever, seen pornography and why would anyone want to watch such a thing and, also, gross! Of course, I had seen porn. I was a teenager with an internet connection. It was “off limits”, so I’d switched off my safe settings and gone traversing the great, wide world of people doing it on camera. Being a virgin at the time, it was also super enlightening to have visuals of acts that seemed somewhat mechanically questionable. They weren’t my regular internet haunts, by any means, but I’d seen some P put into some V quite a few times.

So, why the feelings of shame? The guys weren’t embarrassed, but I would have bathed in warm garlic mayonnaise, before admitting to any virtual voyeurism. It was, of course, fear. If I’d spoken up and asked what the big deal was, my friends might have thought me—terror of terrors!—slutty. Good girls don’t watch porn. Good girls can be in touch with their sexuality, but only to the extent that they sometimes have monogamous heterosexual sex without hurling. To not only enjoy it, but actively seek it out? Unthinkable. Boys were the ones super interested in sex, while girls simply gave into it. As porn served chiefly to aid self-arousal, porn was off limits.

Now, here’s the thing—I am not pro-pornography. I think there are a lot of problems, for women specifically, when it comes to modern internet porn. In many ways, it has radically changed the way my generation looks at normal sex and sexuality. The most tangible example is in our grooming habits: well over 80% of women under thirty completely wax their pubic regions. While we say it’s for our own hygiene or for the guys we love, it has roots in a trend started in 80’s pornography, with the goal of better camera shots. That a standard beauty practice for young women has direct roots in pornography and the resulting look of pre-pubescence should cause anyone to pause. As a feminist, such pervasive and quick changes to the expectations of womanhood make me uncomfortable. Moreover, it’s just the beginning. We’re only just now starting to understand all the ways porn has changed the bedroom politics of America.

Vol-4 erotism-lingerie  (12)I’m not here to make value judgment on porn, but instead on the way we deal with it. Anytime something is a labeled a “man thing,” my hackles start twitching upwards. What exactly makes porn an exclusively male domain, World? Well, Grace darling, it’s because men are base creatures driven by their sexual desires and they’re going to masturbate themselves blind anyway, so we should let them have an outlet. Women, on the other hand, are delicate flowers who aren’t as in to sex and certainly don’t want the kind of dirty, lewd things featured in internet pornography. Unless they’re slutty, of course. That’s where porn really comes from: sluts.

Yeah, okay, see that’s all reeks-of-sexism bullshit. Women are told, subtlety and constantly every day, that we shouldn’t like sex. When we make jokes about wives having headaches or thinking of England, we’re reinforcing the notion of appropriate, gendered sexuality standards. Bullshit! Some dudes don’t have super excitable sex drives, while some women want it all the damn time. What’s more, how many women enjoy sex a whole bunch, but don’t feel comfortable voicing that enjoyment? How many men are made uncomfortable by the impersonal nature of porn, but must pretend otherwise to their buddies?

We’re doing everyone a disservice with these Victorian notions of what’s appropriate for whom. How will we ever talk about actual problems pornography may foster, if we can’t openly discuss who’s watching it and what’s happening in it? World, teenage boys are not the only young people watching pornography. Your daughters are seeing it too. What’s more, it’s quickly becoming the way all teenagers truly learn about sex. We need to address what that means for us as a society and we need to do it honestly. Let’s stop pretending men are all hypersexual semen monsters and that women are all innocence and light. Neither gender is that simple.

Men are watching porn. Women are watching porn. Instead of treating it as the flesh-colored elephant in the bedroom, let’s treat it like what it is: our modern sexual reality. How you choose to deal with that is the next question.

– Grace

Send Me No Flowers, Only Dead Mice

il_570xN.337775143The stuffed bears cometh. They sneak in the night, armed with heart-shaped boxes of bad chocolate, taking up residence in grocery store aisles and college dorm rooms. According to the media, the proper Valentine’s Day gift involves: pink things, hearts, stuffed animals, chocolate, and flowers. I disagree. Professor McGregor, all I really want for Valentine’s Day is you.

And an ethically taxidermied mouse dressed as King Henry VIII.

Unlike many other things I say, this is not actually a joke. I for real real want a costumed mouse. Preferably one dressed as a historical figure. Just think how adorably macabre Marie Antoinratte would look on my dresser, with her wee feathered wig, or Lucrezia Boursin armed with a mini bottle of poison.  Maybe it’s because I’m deeply twisted or that I’ve decided to base all of my life choices on Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, but either way: dead mice for Valentine’s Day. This is what my soul wants!

Which brings me to my point: the Valentine’s Day industry is lying. Do not fall for their tricks, friends. The commercials tell us that women want flowers and hearts and extravagant gestures. She doesn’t. Or she might. Honestly, I don’t know what your wife/girlfriend/inamorata wants for Valentine’s Day, because I don’t know her. Maybe the thought of jewelry bores her, because all she wants is a tour of a sewage treatment plant! Or, perhaps, she just wants you to leave the house for three hours, so she can watch the Rockets game in peace. I do not know the innermost workings of her mind! Neither do the ad executives.

It could be that she doesn’t even want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, because she believes that it’s an invented holiday to shill pajamagrams and mediocre boxes of candy to the bumbling masses. She could very well think that even mentioning Valentine’s Day is giving it more power, like creating little verbal horcruxes of consumerism, and she’d rather pretend it doesn’t exist. Or maybe that’s all a ruse, concocted by her clever mind to see how much you really love her, so you better show up with daffodils or else. I don’t know!

Valentine’s Day is complicated, because—surprise!— people are complicated. Sometimes they want flowers and sometimes they want dead animals in Victorian garb. It’s a toss up. Good luck, you zany kids!

– Grace

The Non-Existent Ettiquette of Pregnancy Tests

vintage_baby_poster-p228687218926020335vsu7_325I’m not pregnant.

It seems really important to clarify that up front, kittens. There is no blonde mini-Grace growing in my womb, sucking out my life force. Which is good. I can barely keep myself and my fluffy, white dog alive. If the professor and I were to have children right now, I’d be arrested within six months, because it would turn out that you can’t put a leash on a baby or give it heartworm pills. Parenting is, at this moment, completely beyond me.

So, it was with much trepidation that I visited my local drug store last month. I bought razors and shampoo, but they were just smokescreen toiletries. At the bottom of my basket — looming in a way that seemed improbable for a small, pink box — was a pregnancy test kit. Thanks to the magic of modern medicine (read: whore pills), my period is usually as regular as clockwork. Which is to say that, like clocks, it loses time here or there, but chimes at pretty much the same time every month. In December, however, the crimson cuckoo never struck.

238550111481800892xKAHi0ezc  I’ve tortured this metaphor, haven’t I? Suffice it to say: I skipped last month’s lady curse and was freaking the fuck out. Visions swirled in my head of wee professors and — horror of horrors! —maternity wedding gowns. I’m normally hyper-vigilant about taking my birth control, but I was four hours late that Tuesday. Was I so fertile that all it took was one late pill and a sideways look by some man essence, before—boom!—welcome to babytown?

Way to be a sadistic bitch, Mother Nature! All that recycling I did and this was my payback? Oh, but Professor McGregor didn’t yet recycle. Was I being punished, because I had not prevented his beer bottles from being thrown in the landfill? That seemed unfair. Surely, he should be the one plagued by a small creature wanting to hijack his body, since they were his bottles. Damn it, biology.

So, there I was. Through the magic of love, birth control user error, and a boyfriend who inexplicably doesn’t recycle, thus pissing off the universe, I was buying a fucking pregnancy test. Or, to be technical about it, I was buying five pregnancy tests. This was not the time to quibble over brands! Buying one of each was, obviously, the best course of action. My gaggle of tests and I pulled up to the beauty counter—or, as I like to call it, the Buying Tampons and Laxatives Counter—and feigned nonchalance. Then, this happened:

Middle-Aged Cashier Who Looks Like a Sunday School Teacher, Complete with Christmas Tree Sweater: Good afternoon!
Grace: Hi.

Cashier: Having a good day?

Grace: Totally. What about you?

Cashier: It’s just dandy! Why, lookie here! (picks up pregnancy tests, with a flourish) Wouldn’t that be a nice Christmas surprise?

Grace, feeling faint: Not necessarily.

Cashier: This time next year, you could be celebrating with a baby!

Grace: Hopefully not.

Cashier, totally not picking up what I’m laying down: Babies are the best. I miss mine being little ones. Miraculous bundles of joy! If you ignore all the vomit.

Grace: Oh, for the love of God! I do not want a baby! Stop your jinxing blather, Witch of Walgreens!

vintage_cute_blond_curls_baby_smile_baby_shower_invitation-rbc1a08b23c424b77a9fbbde65f349f95_8dnmv_8byvr_512Okay, I didn’t say that. I just made vague, noncommittal noises and prayed for the credit card machine to work faster, damn it, because years of living in the South had rendered me incapable of rudeness. Why isn’t there a standard of ettiquette for the purchase of pregnancy tests, y’all? If this well-meaning cashier is anything to judge by, we need rules for these exchanges! People can’t seriously assume that all women over 18 want to be pregnant, right? Some of us do, sure, but some of us really, really don’t, so please stop talking about the inherent cuteness of tiny socks.

To prevent potential drugstore violence by angry, potentially impregnated women, I propose these rules, to be implemented by pharmacies worldwide:

  1. Do not mention the pregnancy test.
  2. Only look at the pregnancy test long enough to find the bar code.
  3. Be fleet. Scan items like the wind, noble cashier!
  4. For the love of God, don’t talk about how awesome babies are! Why, why, why would you do such a thing? We’re already stressed out, whether we want it to be positive or negative. We don’t need to chat about it!

Seems simple enough. Could someone please make sure the Anderson Mill Walgreens in Austin adopts these? In the meantime, I’m going to go drink some coffee and eat sushi, because this month, the cuckoo clock definitely chimed. Let the happy dances commence!

– Grace

The Last Boys Club: Women & Augusta National

Last weekend, as any sports fan knows, was The Masters. Arguably, it is the biggest tournament in professional golf. Professional men’s golf, that is. Women neither play a professional tournament at Augusta National nor are allowed to become members of the club. It is a place that values tradition above all else – a pimento cheese sandwich is still sold for $1.50, the famous azaleas are pruned to perfection, and it’s always, always, always a man’s world.

It’s also my favorite sporting event.

Growing up, golf was always a special bond between my father and I. Sure, my brother has a great swing and my sister loves Adam Scott, but Dad and I are fans. We e-mail news stories about our favorite players and record every tournament. If one of us scored tickets to The Ryder Cup, the other would be tapped to come along, no deliberation necessary. On my life list, the top two spots are: Play a round at Augusta and Attend The Masters with Dad. Like any other fan, I spend this one weekend in April glued to television. I pray that drive won’t hook left; I gasp in awe at the speed of the greens. Unfortunately, I also spend a lot of time defending my love of the tournament to friends.

How can I, a card-carrying feminist and well-educated woman, support an institution that is so anachronistically anti-women? Honestly, it’s difficult. This is one of the most gut-wrenching issues for me as a woman, despite how shallow it may seem to others.  As an outsider, it would be easy to recommend I just stop watching it, until Augusta admits women. Boycott that which oppresses us, right? Besides, it’s just a game.

Only…it’s not. For me, this one tournament – this one game – is the live battle between a talisman of my father-daughter relationship and my very passionate viewpoints on modern equality. I wish to cheer for the green jacket’s winner, just as much as I want to rail at the board members bestowing it. Because tradition is all well and good, but sexism cloaked as tradition? That’s not something to defend.

This year, finally, I had reason to hope. One of the unofficial traditions at Augusta is that a membership offer is extended to CEOs of the major tournament sponsors. As of January, one of those CEOs is now Virginia Rometty of IBM. That’s right. A woman. Cue shocked gasps and pearl clutching. Much was made in the media of whether or not a membership invitation would be extended to Rometty, before this year’s tournament. There has been a change in guard of the Augusta leadership, so most assumed this would be the year. After all, in an age where a woman is the CEO of a company so powerful it sponsors The Masters, shouldn’t that same woman be allowed to join the club?

If I ran the PR campaigns for Augusta, I would encourage them not only to invite women to join, but to insist on an LPGA event hosted there. Yes, they are a private club, allowed to make their own rules, but those same archaic rules threaten to turn the sport’s most revered event into a joke. Half the pre-Masters headlines this year dealt with Augusta’s stance on women, not the strength of the field. This is a game filled with brilliant men and women, both amateur and professional. Is there anyone who would argue Annika Sorenstam is less qualified to join Augusta than Phil Mickelson? They’re both living legends. They both deserve equal treatment by this nation’s greatest golf club. Anything less is backwards thinking.

Unfortunately, backwards it remains. Virginia Rometty attended the tournament not wearing a member’s green blazer, but a smart pink cardigan instead. There is talk that invitations take time to be extended to the new CEO, because Augusta is a notoriously secretive organization, which runs on its own shadowy timetable. But…I’m still disappointed. I felt like this was the year. This was the year I could watch my favorite tournament thinking “One day, both Dad and I could be members there.” Instead, this was the year I watched with a cynical eye. This was the year I was too focused on the background politics to notice the azaleas. Next year, if Rometty still isn’t a member, may be the year I don’t watch at all.

– Grace

Cloudy With a Chance of Spinsterhood

Friends, are your fingers nimble? Do you feel capable of coordinated, rhythmic snapping? Let’s hope so, because a rumble looms. You must be prepared.

All the best rumbles involve jazz hands!

Yesterday, it was called to my attention that our blog title might be the tiniest bit dreary. What particular word drags us down to the blues and grays? Spinster. According to western society, there is nothing so depressing as an unmarried woman. The word conjures images of a sad, gray-haired maiden aunt obsessively knitting sweaters for her twelve cats. (Captain Whiskerby gets so cold! He needs a Fair Isle!) Why would we name our blog for such a pitiful creature? Twenty-something women should be out in the dating world, trying to land men before their ovaries shrivel up. Blogging about phallic cakes is best left to those who’ve found victims husbands.

Y’all, I’m so sorry! I didn’t realize that we were inflicting emotional damage onto our readers by declaring ourselves spinsters. You see, we think it’s a positive term. Shocking, I know. How could we not realize the frightful connotations of such a moniker? Well, probably because they make zero fucking sense. When you hear the term bachelor, spinster’s male counterpart, do you cringe in horror? No, you don’t. Otherwise, ABC wouldn’t have its rose-festooned cash cow. When Americans hear bachelor, they think George Clooney. When they hear spinster, they think Jennifer Aniston. One is lauded for his firm stance against marriage, while the other is bombarded with tabloid stories about her supposed longings for a husband.

This is ridiculous. This is why we named our blog for spinsters. It’s not because we’re unmarried, it’s because we want to take back the word. Spinster wasn’t always a four-letter word. Its original definition, dating to the mid-1300s, meant a woman who spun thread for a living. Spinning thread was one of the earliest professions a respectable, unmarried woman was allowed. Spinning, religious devotion, widowhood, or prostitution – for centuries those were some of the only paths to female independence. Later, of course, we could gain employment in shops or service, but spinning came to be so associated with unmarried women that the word took on that meaning. Now, according to Merriam-Webster we have three modern definitions:

  1. A woman whose occupation is to spin.
  2. An unmarried woman and especially one past the common age for marrying.
  3. A woman who seems unlikely to marry.

Nowhere does it say: A woman who pines away for a husband, slowly becoming bitter and sad as she ages, lonely and unloved, until she finally gives in and purchases the first of many feline companions. The negative connotations placed on unmarried women? That’s all society’s doing. Unmarried is, in and of itself, not a bad thing.

If we take the original definition to its logical conclusion, we actually find something positive. We discover women who were independent, able to support themselves without the aid of either husband or father. Destiny’s Child would be so proud! Anyone, man or woman, who blazes their own path through the world is to be applauded. (Well, unless that path includes actual blazes. Pyromaniacs need not apply to our membership ranks.) The word spinster shouldn’t be reviled or pitied.

If you’ve read our blog these past few months, you’ve realized we’re anything but desperate for marriage. I’m desperate for a six-figure book deal, desperate for a truly great piece of chocolate cake, but not for marriage. It’s not that we’re anti-men. If anything, we love men! Most of the guys in our lives are totally awesome. But…our lives aren’t defined by whether we’ve caught one or not. Marriage doesn’t make one automatically happier or more fulfilled, just like singlehood doesn’t automatically make one reach for a pint of mint chocolate chip. Optimistically, I think the world is accepting this. After all, hasn’t bachelorette begun to replace the more archaic term of spinster? Sure, we mostly apply it to almost-married women, but it still exists. Just having a word that means single woman, without negative connotations, can be seen as a victory.

Still, we chose A Confederacy of Spinsters. “A Coterie of Bachelorettes” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Plus – quite frankly – we like spinster. We like its history of independence. We like the tongue-in-cheek nature of three happy young women taking its societal baggage on. We embrace spinster, with its cats and all, because there’s nothing wrong with the word. Calling ourselves spinsters does not hurt our self-esteem or our chances with men. In fact, one of your dear spinsters (*cough* Mae *cough*) will soon be joining the ranks of the happily married. She’ll keep the label, however. After all this angsting over taking it back, we’ve grown rather fond of it. If anyone takes issue with that, we’ll meet you outside. Prepare your snaps!

– Grace