View this post on Instagram
Yes, I am a single mother—divorced.
(I had to write that part; otherwise, how would you get closure?)
A little background: I am a short, fat, not-so-pretty-looking person who knows how to take a great selfie. That’s the only time I’ll look “fabulous.”
What I do bank on is my brain’s capacity, intellect, and fearlessness always expressed in truth. I have been told I look snobbish until I smile. Yes, the famous resting b*tch face. I scare people with my eyes. (And the fact that I have huge walls built around me.)
I do it because I want to be safe. Well, my family and me. Simple.
This letter was triggered by a random message at 1 a.m. from someone. (No, I don’t suspect that he did it on purpose.) But the first thing I did was change my WhatsApp picture. And I remembered that I was a little nicer than usual to him the other day.
It was also inspired after joining a school group. I was super excited to see all my school friends. I loved the idea of interacting with my college buddies. But there is this: the “what do you do?” question.
Yes, I always tell the truth.
I am a single mom. There you go!
Men who never looked at me during school or college suddenly started messaging me, “I want to tell you something.” After a few happenings, I started bluntly saying,
“Listen, yes, I am single. But if you’re looking forward to some time-pass stuff, I am not here for it. Let me know if you want to talk about anything else.”
How about, hey, are you single? Did you forget you have a wife and a few kids at home? The same svelte figure you opted for? And also, I don’t want your Gyan (knowledge) on how should I reduce my weight or your multi-level marketing strategy.
I have a suggestion: tend to the thinning hair on your scalp. Leave the other stuff about me at the door.
There have been outright assumptions also. “Oh, you are a single mom. I respect your courage.” Blah blah blah. And then there are the suggestions—do’s and do not’s for Tinder. Are you f*cking serious? And a line about how I might have physical “needs.”
Who on Earth are you to judge my needs? Are you paying my rent or bills? Writing my PhD? News flash: those are needs.
Maybe, as a solution, I should lie and tell everyone that my husband is in the Navy or in the United States. (Oh, that’s a good one.)
And for the women? The girl-friends who suddenly call their husbands to them if they happen to see me or talk to me. Like, what?
I have no intention of doing anything. Please, take care of your sh*t! Don’t tell me the number of times you complain about your husband and in-laws in a day. How, exactly, are you ever able to be at peace with yourself?
Solution? Bro-zone every single girlfriend’s husband. So easy! That is a practice I follow and highly recommend.
I have seen married women—the mangala sutra and diamond-ring-wearers—actually checking out others, top to bottom (not kidding), and linking me to any damn person. Just because I don’t walk around with a guy? With all due respect to that, no. It is that simple. Just no.
So, what should I be doing?
Should I be deliberately rude to people so that they stay away? Dress like a man?
No. I don’t want to.
I like to dress femininely and love to believe that I look great in those selfies of mine. And I do want to thank people who help me put in a good word (when it’s wanted).
Is that a crime?
Should I move away from such situations?
No. I refuse to run away.
I wrote back to the 1 a.m. texter, “Please, kindly, message me within 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.”
That’s something I have communicated to every single person around. Just wait for the next day.
I apologize, but I want normal friends—colleagues and classmates, irrespective of gender.
No, I am not interested in you or anyone. Never was.
This is my dignity. My life.
Me adding in a good profile picture does not mean I am open to dating. Or anything at all.
Damn, rather than finishing my PhD thesis, I am writing this here. But I wanted to make a point. Please let me live.
Women are humans too.
And, please, if you are actually serious about saying hello with affection, think twice if you truly have the ability to talk to a person like me.
I am self-made, can write the above stuff, have an ambition in life, and I am not afraid to speak my mind in a room full of misogynists. (It’s not always men. Being misogynistic is gender agnostic.)
Maybe I’ll do a 500-word write-up on how to not waste my time if you are interested (example: check spelling and grammar, please).
In the interest of many single mothers.