It’s sexy to be single

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Yolanda Songo is not ready to submit to the changes demanded by marriage. Picture: Matthew Jordaan

Singledom has a new face. Long gone is the image of a lonely spinster in a calf-length dress, surrounded by cats. Many women are opting for the single life – and not because they have finally had to admit they couldn’t snag a life partner, but by choice. One only has to look to Hollywood where eligible bachelorettes such as Cameron Diaz and Emma Stone keep gossipmongers guessing.

Yolanda Songo, a Cape Town professional, has been engaged twice, at 20 and at 25. At 32, she’s never been married, has no children – and loves it.

“I have no one to consider but myself. I don’t hate men. I just love myself,” says Songo.

While she enjoys dating – mainly as a means of meeting new friends and networking – she’s decided to take a break from it for the rest of the year.

She wants to travel and have fun, and marriage is the last thing on her mind.

“We’re not born promised to a man. It’s the pressure of society to conform.

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Ruth Petty opted to stay single. Picture: Cindy Waxa

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“Why must I conform to what society thinks is right?”

In marriage, Songo believes, great sacrifices are made by women. She explains that as an African woman, everyone would have an opinion on how she should act as a wife. This doesn’t help the argument for marriage, she feels.

She believes that after marriage nothing much changes in men’s lives, while women undergo many changes and have to be understanding wives, not nagging spouses.

“I don’t see myself submitting to that.”

Songo and many of her peers were raised to be independent, self sustaining and career-oriented.

While she would like to have children one day, she refuses to get married just to have them. “In our time we have options.”

And would she settle down?

“I’m settled already.”

But Songo isn’t ruling out marriage completely. “If it happens, fine. If not, it’s not a train smash.”

Psychologist Ruth Petty, 48, has had a few significant relationships in her life but none of them was marriage material.

“I was single and gradually I got comfortable by default,” says Petty.

Her family had often asked when she would marry and have children.

When she was young, Petty thought she wanted children. She no longer does.

“I have a cat, PVR and good friends. Most of them are single,” she laughs. Besides, the cat is male.

Petty says one can be as alone in a relationship as when single.

“It’s not about never feeling lonely, it’s about managing it.”

The best parts of being single were having plenty of closet space, being accountable only to herself, and not having to put up with a man’s snoring

Being single could lead to narcissism and selfishness, so Petty believes in random acts of kindness and helping people.

There are downsides to single life. Her bathroom light has fused and because she can’t reach it, she has to bath by candlelight until her handyman comes around. There’s no sex, although, “there are many ways” to do it alone. And living alone poses a security risk – having a man around would make her feel more secure.

Petty says it takes resilience to stay single. “It’s ridiculous to expect someone will rescue you, or make your life complete.”

CELEBRITY CASE STUDIES

Liezel Van Der Westhuizen

Celebrities are finding that being single is something every woman should try.

TV personality Liezel van der Westhuizen has been single for nearly a year and is loving every minute of it.

“You learn so much about yourself, and you learn to do things for yourself. Every woman should definitely try it,” she enthuses.

Van der Westhuizen has been single for more than eight months and being on her own has not bothered her at all. She is way too busy juggling work, family, friends and training for triathlons and the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour.

Being single in the city means she had to learn to change car and bicycle tyres, but it’s also been an opportunity to spend time with herself.

During December, Van der Westhuizen made a single girl’s “things to do” list. It included dinner for one, a picnic for one, and going to the beach, movies and the pub alone.

Relationships are about give and take, but work is her main priority. “When the right one comes along, he’ll understand.”

While she loves her own company, Van der Westhuizen is not ruling out relationships completely. If he’s tall, dark and handsome, has a sporty nature and Christian values, she says she might be willing to give up the single life.

Kuli Roberts

Kuli Roberts, television presenter and former columnist, has been divorced for several years and has no plans to remarry.

“I love life, I’m used to my space, and I’ve always been a loner. I prefer it that way,” says Roberts.

She also believes all kinds of woman can be single.

“Anyone can be single. But we’ve been socialised into being in partnerships.”

She adds that before you can love someone else, you have to love yourself.

Roberts says her singledom doesn’t stem from the fact she’s been hurt by a man; she just hasn’t been interested enough in someone to want to live with them.

Roberts prizes personal space and the freedom to do what she wants, and is not ready to give that up for anyone.

She says she once showed up in a swimsuit to a lunch for her birthday.

“If I had a husband, he would say I’m crazy. There will be no wedding bells for me. I love my life too much.” - Cape Argus

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