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'Go find a boy!' - WTF?

Date

Time to grow up women. There is so much more to life than hooking a man, writes Gala Darling.

Retrograde ... men aren't the centre of the universe, just one of its many wonders.

Retrograde ... men aren't the centre of the universe, just one of its many wonders.

My invitation to write a column for Cosmopolitan magazine could have been lost forever. I fortuitously found it in my spam folder, drowning in a sea of ads for Viagra and offers of sweet Russian mail order brides. It was 2007 and I had just started writing my blog, galadarling.com, a few months earlier.

The offer had been extended by Sarah Wilson, editor of Cosmopolitan at the time. She left the magazine shortly thereafter, to hike the Himalayas or something else utterly unfathomable. I lasted about five issues before a new editor came in and fired all the columnists - myself included. But from that unlikely beginning, Sarah and I struck up a friendship. Despite the fact that I moved from Melbourne to New York City later that year, our friendship grew, bolstered by obsessive blogging, a mutual interest in living the biggest, boldest life possible, and fancy dinners whenever she came to the States.

I'm endlessly inspired by Sarah. She's daring, thoughtful and kind, and she navigates the tricky world of media and fame with honesty and integrity. Sarah lives the life she wants to live and, as a self-described nomad, she's always having some kind of marvellous adventure.

Living life on her own terms ... Sarah Wilson resists societal pressure to settle down.

Living life on her own terms ... Sarah Wilson resists societal pressure to settle down. Photo: Supplied

For example, she recently upped sticks to embark on an open-ended international trek. On her blog, she explained that there's no plan. Just a ticket to London and, from there, who knows.

By now, she's a few weeks deep into her travels. Instagram photos detail her European escapades in living Technicolour. Sarah's feed is fascinating and beautiful, and for those of us chained to our desks or stuck in gridlock, a lovely and much-needed escape.

I thought everyone felt the same way I did: thrilled for her, roused by her sense of freedom, and delighted to see every update. But I was wrong. A little while ago, Sarah posted an image of herself in southern France, standing next to a gold-encrusted statue of a saint. The caption read, "Blessed! 12th Century church, the fresco only discovered ten years ago." Sarah was smiling. In fact, she was glowing.

Then I read a comment underneath the photo, from a woman.

"What are you doing Sarah?! Go find a boy!!!"

I don't mean to demonise the woman who made this comment - I'm sure she was well-intentioned - but I felt like I was reading something from the 1950s.

Let's get a few things straight. Men are fun and falling in love is incredible, but is that all we aspire to?  A relationship is only one lovely thing in a universe full of wonder! And love never comes along when you "go looking" for it! It happens when you're living life to the fullest and enjoying yourself. This is not an accident!

Who knows what Sarah will uncover on her adventures? Yes, maybe she will "find a boy". Maybe she'll meet a Greek shipping magnate who wants to lavish her with attention and Hermes handbags; perhaps she'll fall in love with an Italian fisherman with a good heart. But maybe she'll discover herself, instead.

When I asked Sarah how she took the comment, she said: "When you're 38 everyone worries for you on your behalf about your being single. Seriously, I get asked almost every day: 'Why do you think you're single?' It's part concern, part a sociological enquiry. People find it odd that someone can be happily, robustly, independently single. From my POV, to be 38 and single and happy with it, you have to keep defining your life on your own and being confident in it... so that enquiries and comments just slip by."

When we embark on a journey of self-discovery, we can't expect everyone else to understand. But surely it's not too much to hope for encouragement in the quest for self-knowledge. When we arrive at that sense of self, we're not the only ones who benefit. The rest of the world does, too.

Sarah doesn't need a boy. None of us do. We just need the space and time to forge a healthy, happy relationship with ourselves. Mind your heart and love will take care of itself.

Introducing Gala Darling self-described International Playgirl and Radical Self-Love Revolutionary. Her blog, Hello Darling!, will appear fortnightly in Life and Style but in the meantime, visit her website to learn more: galadarling.com

120 comments

  • I dare somebody to say that to Ruby Rose or Ellen....

    Commenter
    Bean
    Location
    Beanville
    Date and time
    August 09, 2012, 11:13AM
    • I don't think that question applies to either Ruby or Ellen as they are in relationships. I think the point of this article is questioning the aspirations of women, and challenging the whole 'need' for single women to be in a relationship - whether with a man or a woman. I think single lesbians probably fall victim to the same line of questioning about their relationship status from the people around them - and this question is probably just as annoying to them as it is to single straight women.

      Commenter
      trinket
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      August 09, 2012, 1:51PM
    • I don't care.
      I'd still love to see someone say "go get a boy" to either of them...

      Wow your really serious....

      Commenter
      Bean
      Location
      Beanville
      Date and time
      August 09, 2012, 2:51PM
  • Is this article really about backwards views on women, or is it about how amazing Sarah Wilson is? Boring.

    Commenter
    Carla
    Date and time
    August 09, 2012, 11:15AM
    • Yes, it seems like this is just one big suck-up/advertisement for Sarah Wilson. Gala you could have made your point in two lines.

      Commenter
      happy mongrel
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      August 09, 2012, 12:28PM
    • Both. Personally, its good to see a single woman in her 30s that isn't inflicted with crippling self-doubt or self-esteem issues simply because she doesn't have a man.

      Women like her remind us that you shouldn't base your self esteem on your abiltity to attract and keep a man. And that there are plenty of other positive things in life.

      Her attitude is that you should do your own thing and maybe, on the way, you'll bump into somebody special. That's very healthy. A lot healthier than caving into the fear of being "spinster" or getting depressed because you're always being told "Your biological clock is ticking. QUICK - find a man!! Any man!!".

      In a society that judges women harshly simply for aging, its good to see that some women don't buy into that crap.

      Commenter
      Bug
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      August 09, 2012, 2:01PM
    • In a few years, Sarah Wilson's biological clock will start ticking. "Time to settle down", she says. She finds a man, and has... a well-stamped passport to offer him in assets. Great.
      I can't wait for the "Men! - Man Up And Marry Her!" articles.

      Commenter
      Spike
      Date and time
      August 09, 2012, 3:55PM
    • @ Spike:

      A lot of men enjoy travelling too. Maybe she'll marry one of them. It's good to have similar interests.

      Commenter
      MO4
      Date and time
      August 10, 2012, 1:25AM
    • I think it's a little something I'd like to call 'friendship' - I like and admire my friends and many have done some interesting and amazing things with their lives. If I had a high profile blog I'd be raving about some of them too.

      Commenter
      linda
      Date and time
      August 10, 2012, 9:58AM
  • Great little article! I remember when I divorced at 38 suddenly everyone wanted to find me a man. I wasn't interested. Wanted time for myself, my children and time to work out where I went from there. But both friends and family were kind of obsessed with my single state. I got sick of telling my mother I didn't want or need anyone right then. And sick of friends trying to set me up with single males.

    I am still happily single quite a few years later. I don't need another person to define me. If sometime in the future someone comes into my life, well that would be great. But I'm not sitting around waiting for it, nor actively seeking it.

    As for Sarah Wilson, enjoy your life your way, girl!

    Commenter
    emily
    Date and time
    August 09, 2012, 11:18AM

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