Linda Evangelista is the latest woman to join the chorus of people singing the praises of going their own way when it comes to love. In an interview with The Sunday Times, she was asked about dating, to which she responded:
“Not interested. I don’t want to sleep with anybody anymore. I don’t want to hear somebody breathing.”
She says the last time she dated was before a 2016 CoolSculpting procedure left her face and body disfigured. It’s unclear whether the disfiguration has anything to do with why she’s no longer interested in dating, but her traumatic past with men could certainly have something to do with it.
In Apple TV+’s The Super Models, Linda opened up about her marriage to Gerald Marie when she was just 22, alleging he was physically abusive.
“I was clueless. Absolutely clueless. Well, there had to be something endearing to fall for. I was afraid,” she said, later adding, “It wasn’t a matter of just saying, ‘I want a divorce, see ya.’”
Whether it was her traumatic past or the impact her experience with CoolSculpting may have had on her, physically, she’s not the only woman in her demographic praising the perks of not going the traditional route.
Back in 2016, Whoopi Goldberg did an interview with The New York Times. In it, she was asked about the fact that she was married three times, but has only ever admitted to being in love once. She discussed being “not that interested” in marriage and dating.
“I’m much happier on my own. I can spend as much time with somebody as I want to spend, but I’m not looking to be with somebody forever or live with someone. I don’t want somebody in my house,” she said.
Whoopi and Linda are saying the same damn thing. Not wanting to hear anyone breathe or snore, not wanting anyone in your house, it all drives home the point that these women, and so many others, truly enjoy their solitude. But unfortunately, we don’t all have the luxury of being able to afford the independence these women say they’re after.
A September Financial Post article painted a too familiar picture in presenting the good and bad when it comes to the finances of single women. Despite women being better educated than men, the hourly pay of women aged 25 to 54 in 2021 was more than 11% less compared to men.
Women are also retiring with bank account balances that are 30% less than their male counterparts, and have to work an extra two years, typically. And when it comes to long-term savings, women save 1% less than men in their workplace saving programs, thanks to the gender pay gap and higher chances of career disruption due to maternity leave.
So though a lot of us may silently (or loudly) be agreeing with Linda and Whoopi, we know that going it alone is a tough choice, and certainly an expensive one, particularly as we age. But the picture isn’t all grim. That same Financial Post article suggests that single women and older women actually fare better when it comes to financial wellness. Why? Because we’re more likely to seek out financial advice.
Women with sole responsibility of their finances reported higher financial wellness scores than women with families. More than 63% of older women reported financial wellness scores of 60 or higher out of 95, compared to 46% of younger women. For both older women and single women, the resounding conclusion is that women are more willing to seek out expert advice than men. Gee, what a surprise.
It’s both comforting and soul-crushing to know that there are so many women out there that maintain ties to their partners due to the sheer cost of solitude. As a single parent, it’s a cost I know very well. And though I don’t have the wealth of Linda or Whoopi, I’m lucky enough to get by because solitude gives me a lot of agency – and to me, it’s worth every penny.
Agency is something that Goldie Hawn knows a lot about. Though not single, she’s not married, either. And despite being with Kurt Russell for 40 years, they likely won’t tie the knot anytime soon. Recently, the couple made headlines (again) for professing their stance on marriage. It’s a topic that often comes up in interviews with them, with both repeatedly citing the failure of their past marriages as part of the reason they just take it day by day. Earlier this year, while appearing on Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace, Goldie was asked about marriage.
"Why should we get married? Isn't that a better question?...It's always ugly,” she replied, discussing the possibility of divorce as she was pressed to address her common-law relationship. "Somebody actually has to take a look and say, 'How many divorces actually are fun? How many divorces actually don't cost money? How many divorces actually make you hate the person more than you did before? How many divorces have hurt children?'"
She went on to add that she enjoys being able to wake up in the morning and make conscious decisions about whether she wants to be there. In my opinion, this seems to be the most favourable aspect of going the non-traditional route – the agency that comes from living outside of a legally binding union, or not being in a union at all.
Currently, my parents are planning their wedding. I’ve got no idea why because they’ve been together for over 30 years. But again – it’s about agency. They both came from failed marriages and didn’t want the stress or pressure that legal marriages often apply. And though it didn’t mean much to them over the years, it means a lot to them now. I’m thrilled for them (and even more so for the party).
Besides agency, there’s still the cold hard facts that show that marriage is a much better institution for men than it is for women. And perhaps that’s why we’re seeing so many women, young and old, speak out about their preference to be single, or at least remain unmarried and simply date, have company, friends with benefits, whatever you want to call it.
Despite the difficulties that come with being single, at least from a financial perspective, it gives me hope to know that women are reporting better financial wellness scores as we grow older. And I think the picture it paints for women is the same picture Goldie is painting for women, the same picture my parents are painting for me – that having the choice, the agency to wake up in the morning and decide where we want to be, and who we want to be with, if anyone at all, is true power.