For over a decade it’s felt good being an Independent Woman. Special thanks to Madonna for teaching me how having sex with myself on the dance floor is an act of empowerment, Denise Van Outan, Katie Puckrik, Dani Behr and Daisy Donovan for showing me how swearing = funny, the Spice Girls telling me what I really really want (a Bo Selecta mask?), and Destiny’s Child putting the nail on my chastity belt as I sing along to ‘The shoes on my feet, I’ve bought it (surely not grammatically correct, but moving on); The clothes I’m wearing, I’ve bought it; The rock I’m rockin’, I’ve bought it; The house I live in, I’ve bought it (insert a new ladder in my tights between each line); The car I’m driving – I bought it’, and so on. When in reality, the clothes that I wear are paid for by my student overdraft which I’m still in 10 years on, there is no rock on my finger, my house is rented and I can’t drive. Then comes Sex and The City, which as an earlier piece I wrote explains, turned me into a pearl-wearing, Cosmo-swigging existentially vacuous cunt.
But it’s been a great ride. I’ve girl-powered my way out of dozens of relationships (with one guy so scorned he created a website claiming I had Borderline Personality Disorder. Bad times!), the others married nice girls within a year, and I’ve built up an impressive collection of heart necklaces.
Through my years of listening to man-berating Aretha-esque songs, a deep-rooted sense of independence has been firmly cemented. I independently pay extortionate rent, eye-watering council tax and ever-increasing utility bills each and every month. I also put the bins out and open my own doors. And it’s left me, well, broke and lonely. I start to fantasise about being whisked off my feet, being flown to Paris, Milan, New York, of having a WAG-worthy walk-in-wardrobe, shoes that cost more than a toaster, hair extensions, white teeth, designer handbags and a convertible car... a life of occasional charity work, ladies lunches and yoga classes - my new life would be so perfect, to achieve it all I’d have to do is marry a rich Arab.
With there being a shortage of rich Arabs into monogamy, or Welsh girls for that matter, I decide to do a SATC and go out for cocktails with girls discussing ‘the one’ (or whoever is my latest ‘the one’). I’m awoken by my liver as rot spreads through to my soul, so I do what all Independent Women do and look at puppies on Gumtree. 24hours and one month’s rent later, a bundle of joy is delivered to my door - something so innocent and cute he makes you want to cry with happiness. Like a fluffy teddy bear that’s sprung to life, I’ve found my true love, “ridiculous, inconvenient (massively, he shits everywhere), consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other (even if I wanted to) love”... for the next 16 years. This is the biggest commitment ever made. We cuddle, I bubble bath him, wet-wipe his backside, run gaily through fields listening to Elton John, I sing to him, he even has a special pillow next to mine so I can watch him fall asleep. There are 467 photographs of his head on my 3week old iPhone, 64 of which have been posted on facebook; The cracks are showing, I realise I’ve traded men in for a dog.
I also realise that I’m the only one in my circle of friends (or generation, quite possibly) that isn’t cohabiting or married or a mother. For the 10 years they’ve been getting married and bringing up children, I’ve been doing the running man on flashing dance floors across the UK, and all I have to show for it is bunions and a VIP card to Tiger Tiger.
I try to envisage life as a non-independent 30 year old woman, picture myself cooking for a family meal, visualise being 7 months pregnant and shopping in Mothercare. Nausea kicks in, forcing me to chain-smoke out the window and reach for the ice-cream. I blame Beyonce for making me believe my body’s too bootilicious for you baby. Aretha for making me obsess over do right all night men being unfaithful, Kelis for making me hate you so much right now, Nancy Sinatra for my boots being made for walking, and Alanis for everything that’s ever come out of my mouth. Being a 30year old Independent Woman actually comes with the tag of being a mentalist who can’t pay the bills and sleeps with her dog. Sometimes it’s hard to be a....