Saturday, September 15, 2012

Spinsters and Bachelorettes


Here's another stab at a promo for my ebook Diary of a Confirmed Spinster.

This time I am holding the camera.

SPINSTER... an ugly word. An unfair word. At least it seems that way today.

It really is just the word for female bachelor. But bachelor sounds so much better, doesn't it?

Bachelors have 'pads like Rock Hudson, where you can push a button and the lights go dim and a romantic record is dropped onto the turntable and the couch opens and turns into a bed.

Spinsters are Miss Brodies. Spinster rhymes (sort of) with pinched. And that's what spinsters are.. all pinched up. Their mouths, their bums. Holding in all of their life force, or something. They are most certainly unfulfilled women. They are always Old Maids (which is an oxymoron since a maid is a young woman.)

There are NO spinsters today, thank goodness, although there still are the classic Princely Haymaker (I mean oat sower) Harry Windsor.

There are only bachelorettes.

Well... I use that ugly word SPINSTER in the title of my book, but I hope that it is an ironic use of the word.

I've been reading another ebook on my Kindle, The Thirties: An Intimate Portrait... by (I dunno, I can't see it on the Kindle)..

I'm on a chapter on Spinsters... There were many unmarried women in the UK  in the 30's... most working at poverty level jobs... considered to be neurotic (because, unlike married women, they weren't getting any. Tsk. Tsk.)

According to this book, there were many spinsters before the war too, as so many eligible men had taken off to the Colonies. (That's why I am here...My grandmother followed my grandfather to Malaya. I wrote about it in Looking For Mrs. Peel.)

Anyway, in the 30's all the  women's magazines were aimed at Homemakers. Not at unmarried working women, or spinsters (those who had given up hope) or the working poor.  (This has more to do with the fact all these women, including spinsters had no spare cash, I imagine.)

To be a spinster was to be something of a societal outcast.  Bachelors, even Old Bachelors (tsk tsk)  had more respect back then. And we all know about Merry Widows.

Of course it is debatable who had a better life,  spinsters or wives. It depends on the context, I guess. Edith Nicholson of Diary of a Confirmed Spinster worked for McGill all her life. She never made a lot of money but she hobnobbed with the elite.  She thought of her sister's family as 'my family.'

Once, while on a visit to the home of  her married niece, Marion, in Hudson Quebec, in the 60's, Marion's young son, Blair, then about 6, asked of  her, "Why is that person always hanging around?"

Somehow he had tuned into the Zeitgeist.. realizing that Edie, with no obvious manly presence around her, was an outcast.

On her deathbed, a decade or so later, she reminded Blair, now a teen, "to savor every moment in life." Perhaps, she had indeed led a full and fulfilling life.

I am writing another book about Edith, about her trip to Paris in 1928, the Paris of Hemingway, Henry Miller and the Down and Out George Orwell.

She is chaperoning a group of McGill students, Phys Ed Students. True story, sort of.