Less than a day after tying the knot with rocker Benji Madden, actress Cameron Diaz is all over the news and social media sites.
While many are expressing shock that the actress, who was once the poster child for being single and loving it, married Madden, whom she knew less a year, I am happy for the couple; especially after Diaz is quoted as saying during her wedding toast that “[She] waited because [she] didn’t want to settle.”
When I read those words, my first thought was, “Wow. How much better we would all be if we followed that advice.”
Despite the fact that I don’t often think celebrities are the best sources of good advice, I take exception in this case. I would argue that the fact that Diaz is a beautiful, successful actress who didn’t choose to marry until she was 42 is a good example for those of us who lament that “time is running out” and therefore, it’s best to settle with whoever is around.
Diaz, who over the years dated Jared Leto, Justin Timberlake, and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, to name a few, is obviously not a woman who was short of options. Despite the fact that she may never have to worry about the sort of things that a “typical” Western woman who works a nine to five job does, she nonetheless was not immune to the cultural bias that a woman in her 20s and 30s needs to settle down. (Indeed, I remember one gossip blog calling her “the female Leonardo DiCaprio” as the latter is well-known for dating lingerie models and doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to settle down.)
However, while no one calls out DiCaprio, who is 40 years old, for “still” being single, it’s different if one is a woman.
Some may argue that being in the public eye may cause Diaz to face more scrutiny than others. I disagree after having seen and even experienced it myself.
For instance, several years ago, I was friends with a brilliant endocrinologist who at 32, was already on her second fellowship at a prestigious university. However, despite her accomplishments, she confided that she felt like a “failure” for not being married or even having a steady boyfriend in her life.
Apparently, she was not alone either and said that her other fellow single women doctor friends expressed similar feelings.
Despite wanting to dismiss this as absurd, I was 28 at the time and feeling that my time was running out. Indeed, the main reason I married a year later was because I felt my time was running out, and I needed to settle. (This is despite the fact that even on the day I got married, my gut was telling me not to go through with it and run as fast as I could.)
In retrospect, I wish I had listened to my gut. Looking back, I can see how wrong I was to think 29 was approaching “getting old.” (I’d argue that 42 is hardly old either.) While I cannot say that hearing Diaz’s words would have changed my decision, I do think that hearing a successful woman who was even older than me would have been helpful.
In any case, given this culture’s obsession with celebrity and pop culture, I do hope that the Diaz’s words are remembered and taken to heart by others—women and men—who feel that if they do not meet Mr. or Ms. Right by a certain age, that they must settle or be alone for life.
Lastly, I hope those who never do marry or find a life partner realize there are worst things than being by one’s self—namely, it’s worse to be with someone and still feel alone.
Best wishes to the new couple and everyone else who refuses to settle.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Kimberly Lo
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Wallpaper Gang