I typed out this post. And deleted it in error. It took a few days to get back in the writing groove… I hope I am as detailed in this re-write. Here goes:
I’ve grown up through my adult life around Christian fellowships: Anglican Students Fellowship; Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship; Drama Unit of my home church, and a lot of original members at my new church recognize me.
The Church is very unkind to the mature single woman.
I had been chatting after mid-week service one Wednesday evening with a guy. This lady comes over with this evil look in her eyes like, ‘who are you? what do you want? where are you from?’ look. Then she plants herself directly in front of him, but at such an angle that I can clearly see, kisses him full on the lip, talks with him, then says a very brief hello + insulting hand-wave.
I’m not crazy. And I’m not an over-defensive extremely-sensitive-to-her-singleness lady. But there are attitudes you can read. And that attitude from that lady totally spoiled my evening, and my perspective.
There are a couple of other similar examples, also in church. You know how Pastor says ‘welcome five people to church’? Usually, I’ll welcome the person in front, then behind, left and right and one other person. And usually I did it with a genuine smile. Until the raised eyebrow/suspicious looks I received from a couple of ladies over time, as I welcomed their partners to church.
I don’t wear cleavage-popping tops, or minis. Or wear loud make-up. I don’t hold hands a second longer than necessary.
But single me, by myself, they make a best-effort to make it suck when I welcome male folk.
Now, I don’t bother anymore. I welcome females only. And only when absolutely necessary/obviously rude will I welcome a male around me. And preferably a male much younger than I am.
Of course there are many other things that make being single suck. Like when I want to vent, but don’t have anyone to call and vent to (and he don’t have a choice – he gasta listen!), or when I had an absolutely horrid day, or an a-ha moment and want to share. Or I want hand to hold as I walk the streets. Or someone to call at 5am and laugh and tease and share sweet nothings with before setting out for the day. Or when I see a couple synchronized so beautifully, or see them putting the other person first and giving their relationship their best shot. There are some moments like those that cause being single to suck.
But the worst of them for me: that absolute stigmatizing in the church that comes from being female.
Now look, I know the Church is not perfect. The Church is made up of incredibly flawed folks who are trying to build themselves to be better people daily. And I don’t blame them, neither am I making a pitch for single ladies to walk out from church.
The question asked that I share a moment when being single sucked. That moment for me, when being single totally, absolutely, honestly sucked? It was at Church.
I typed this post a few days back. Just posting it today after church. PG had asked that we welcome those around us to church. I welcomed both ladies beside me, and the young male teen behind me. The lady to my left looked familiar, so I looked at her again. Realized I did know her (had seen her severally before), and sure enough, the man on her own left was someone I knew – a past tutor at a professional training I had attended (I recognized his wife because I had seen both of them together severally at Church before). I said a ‘hello’ to him, and he greeted in return. Sure enough, I got that ‘look’ from her. I faced PG, and tuned them out.
After service, as we walked out of church, my ex-tutor smiled at me again, and wanted to start chatting (I hadn’t seen him since the exam where he had taught me). I pulled back slightly so someone came between us, and then very quickly walked out.