Marie Claire Australia|August 2020
SINGLE & 30 IN 1969
NANCY, 80, NEW ZEALAND
When I was 30, I was living in Rotorua, New Zealand, and working as a nurse. I was flatting with a policewoman and a school teacher. We did lots of things together. We went skiing and we went travelling. There were plenty of things you could do. Most of my friends were married, but a few weren’t.
I met up with lots of men – boys and men, I should say – but there was no one I really wanted to settle down with. No one made me think, “Oh, I could live with him for the rest of my life.” I think that’s the type of person I was – I like my own company. Although we went to dances, parties and things, I didn’t meet anyone I thought I could live with.
I have a twin sister, Margaret. She’s single too. We have two house units ... side-by-side. I moved here in 1989 and she was already in the one next door. She’s got Parkinson’s disease so it’s very handy because she doesn’t drive anymore and I can take her places.
When we were 30, Margaret tried to buy a house but was told there were “more deserving people than a single woman”. She went back and the manager said: “Well, it will be on my head if you don’t get it.” So she got it. That’s when things started to move a bit, I think, for single women.
I suppose we did encounter other [prejudice] but we took no notice. You know, every time you’d go out, they would say, “Mrs? Oh. Spinster”, but you just shrugged it off. I’m a pretty positive person and I don’t take too much notice of what people say – I just get on with it.
You did feel a little bit left out at weddings but then again, people do talk to you. If you’re sitting having a drink, someone might walk up to you – or you up to them – and say g’day.
I didn’t want children. The reason is because we’ve got a history of motor neurone disease in our family and that was always in the back of my mind.
I think if you have enough around you – enough people and enough communication – that’s the most important thing. A lot of people in their old age don’t have people calling in or don’t have any conversation in their day. I play golf and croquet. I go out to [see] films. I go out for lots of lunches. There wouldn’t be a day go past where I don’t see someone.
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