Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Neighbor Gets Snubbed For Being Single

Dear Tazi:

I am 40 years old and have finally accomplished my dream of owning my own home! I have saved and invested since I was 18, and when the right house in the right neighborhood went up for sale I was able to purchase it with only a small mortgage. I have never married and have no children, which made it a little easier to save, but now I am questioning if I did the right thing (buying in this neighborhood, not avoiding marriage and motherhood).

The neighborhood I live in is a pleasant mix of old and young. I spent my first few months settling in and organizing, and only had the opportunity to meet my next door neighbors on either side of me – both older, retired couples whose children have moved out of state. This week, while weeding the front yard garden, I saw a woman about my age walking by with three children. I said hello and this is how the remainder of the conversation went:

Woman: Do I know you?

Me: No, I just moved into the neighborhood a few months ago. I’m “Cassie”

Woman: Oh. I didn't think I recognized you from the playground.

Me: Playground?

Woman: Yes, that’s where all of the Moms take their kids to go play.

Me: Well, that explains why you have not seen me there! I don’t have any children; but if that is where all the women of the neighborhood gather I will have to come down and say hello!

Woman: That’s probably not a good idea. You don’t seem to have anything in common with us.

Me: Really? Why do you say that? I am sure we all have lots in common!

Woman: Yes, but you don’t have children.

Me: Is that a problem?

Woman (looking at me like I am stupid): You wouldn't understand; you aren't a Mom. You probably work during the day, too, right?

Me: Yes, how else would I support myself?

Woman: You have no husband, either?

Me: No, I am single and a home-owner. Is that so unusual?

Woman (eyeing me suspiciously): Yes. I have to go now.

She then hurried off, corralling her children (who were playing tag) and yanking them down the street muttering to them.

I didn't know what else to say, so I finished gardening and asked one of my next door neighbors if everyone was so unfriendly. They told me they did not know; that they did not really associate with the younger people on our street. They then invited me to join them for their card night, a sweet offer but I would really like to make friends with people my own age!

I am considering putting together a nice goodie basket – fresh fruit, chocolates, muffins, bottled water, etc. – and taking a walk down to the playground to see for myself if the rest of the younger neighbors are just as stand-offish and unwelcoming as this other woman was. Do you think this is a good idea? Should I have a house party instead? I just want to feel at home in my new neighborhood!


Dear “Cassie”:

A house party would require parents of young children to hire a babysitter, so this idea – while well intended – may further alienate you from your younger neighbors. I do, however, love your idea of a playground goodie basket! You could announce yourself with a friendly wave and a jovial “Hello! I’m Cassie! I’m new to the neighborhood, and I hear this is where all the young, hip people hang out!”

Speaking of young and hip, I am a young and hip cat! Can I come with you? Who can resist a sweet little kitty in a goodie basket?
No autographs, please...well, okay; maybe just a few...

The woman you met may be the possessive, insecure type who is afraid that her friends will all want to play with the new girl and not her. I know this sounds like fourth-grade playground antics, but some people never grow up. While she may have a point (or two, which I will get to in a moment) her delivery of them was poor. There was no excuse for her absolute rudeness. A Paw Slap to her!

And a mean paw slap at that!

Before you go to the playground with your cornucopia of yum-yums, try to remember that among married women, an unmarried (or divorced or widowed) woman can sometimes be seen as a threat – especially if she is pretty and the other woman’s marriage is not all that stable. It is stupid and petty, I know, but humans can be territorial, just like any other animal. You may discover that these Moms are rather cliquish and do not have room in their circle for someone who does not have children. If they are Overachieving Moms who like to brag they may not have time for a woman who does not have children. After all, how can they boost their egos by tearing down yours when they can’t guilt you about how you don’t spend enough time making precious memories with your kids when you don’t have any? [Ed. Note: Not all OA Moms are like this…].

There may also be some pretty cool Moms there who would LOVE to have a normal, adult-centered conversation; one that does not revolve around toilet training, the latest cold making the rounds, and the best way to get Play-Doh out of a shag carpet. One thing is for certain, you will not find out anything for sure until you make the effort to get to know the people in your neighborhood. Jump in without expectations; this way you can be pleasantly surprised if you discover your neighbors are warm and friendly and avert disappointment if they are not. I wish you luck and much happiness in your new home!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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