I took my pregnant wife into A&E yesterday. She was having very intense back and abdominal pains and sickness, all of which, according to Dr Google, could be symptoms of miscarriage. We were seen by a nurse right away, but I suppose they weren’t as concerned as us because after the initial verbal examination, they took their sweet time and we spent most of the time sitting in the waiting area. Luckily, the baby was OK, so it is not a post about that. It is about what the waiting area made me realise as sick people were wheeled in.

Across from us sat a young girl. She was no older than twenty years old, although my wife reckoned she was as young as seventeen. She had arrived there a little before us, around 10am. Her hair was blonde, but you could tell it wasn’t her natural colour. She had piercings in her nose. She was very skinny. Not like “unhealthy skinny” but just very thin. I guess you don’t see that very often anymore. She was wearing slippers, blue pyjama bottoms and a black winter coat. She was always in and out of her chair, going either to the toilet or to ask the nurses when she would be seen.

Meanwhile, the door of the department kept swinging open, bringing in new patients or just taking someone through to a different area. Men and women in green ambulance uniforms were standing around with not much to do, probably waiting for the emergency call. They talked about local gyms, broken laptops and mini golf – things colleagues talk about at work. I don’t know what I was expecting, but perhaps I thought staff in the emergency unit would always be armed with seriousness. Instead, they joked around, some even flirted with each other, and they made weekend plans. I’m not blaming them. I’m just painting the picture.

Many people came and went, but the blonde girl and us seemed to be the only ones always going back to the waiting area.

Around 12.30pm, the girl made a phone call. She sat in the corner, her slim body folded in a way she would fit her both feet on the chair. She was talking to her friend. She made the point to be loud enough to be heard but not loud enough to make it obvious. There was a lot of swearing and complaining about not having been seen and about “staff just standing around doing nothing”. From her conversation you could gather two things. One, that she was pregnant and it was still early stages. Two, that her boyfriend, Zac, ignored all of her fifty calls and messages. She had messaged him on all of his social media and at some point her calls went straight to his voicemail. Her pyjamas also suggested that whatever had brought her there was urgent and scared her. None of it excuses her bad manners on the phone, but you couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for her.

On the other side of the room, in the corridor was an older man on the stretcher. I’m not very good with ages so I will assume he was in his seventies or eighties. Grandad age. By his side stood his wife. There were plenty of seats next to us, but she stood there next to him. There is not much to say about that couple, but they represent something that a lot of young people will miss out on (and are missing out on already).

I will make a lot of assumptions here, but the manner with which the blonde girl spoke on the phone, swearing and complaining about staff in their close proximity, her piercings and the way she carried herself suggested to me that she brought it all on herself. Her excuse of a boyfriend turned off his phone or blocked her number and didn’t wanna know. I judged that this is the type of guys or boys she goes for. So called fuckboys.

Why is this a problem? It is a problem for young people, especially for women. The female empowerment movement sells young women a lie. A lie that they can have a string of meaningless relationships or hook-ups or that they don’t need men at all. It tells them that they can wait to settle down and as a result they spend their twenties getting pumped and dumped by guys like Zac. By the time they “are ready to settle down”, usually when they approach thirty or thirty-five, they come to a sad realisation – there is no good men left. Never mind that they start blaming all men for there not being any good one. The fact of the matter is that the good ones were invisible to them for a decade of their life and they eventually found someone to settle down with themselves.

I promise I’m getting somewhere with this. The longer you wait to find someone, the more flings, hook-ups and relationships you have before meeting someone for a serious relationship, the less likely you are to make that relationship last. There are many reasons for that and there are studies to prove that. But, just think about it. You’re bringing all that trauma of break ups, being cheated on or having cheated and so on – all that baggage – into a new relationship and expect it to survive this burden? What if all your relationships before were no longer than a year and you don’t know how to survive this post honey moon phase or how to handle an argument in a relationship? You might think that an argument or even regular arguing is a sign of the end. What happens is you never build a bond with anyone and you either end up alone or in a relationship with a guy who doesn’t care about you.

The current message to single women is, “you go girl!”, but in thirty or forty years, you might end up on the stretcher and beside you will be nobody. And if you’re a young girl and aren’t thinking seriously about who you get intimate with and who you let into your life, you will end up with a dickhead of a boyfriend like Zac who will block you if he knocks you up.

The old couple represents what we all should strive for. Our friends will not always be there for us. Our parents will not always be there for us. It’s very trendy nowadays for young women to say they don’t need men in their lives, but one day you will need a partner who will hold your hand, lend his shoulder for you to rest on, bring a bucket for your vomit, unlace your shoes to get you more comfortable and tell you everything will be ok.

If you follow today’s narrative, as a woman, you will end up alone. Men are used to it. We are used to being alone. Are you prepared for it? Choose your partners wisely. Choose who becomes the father of your children or you will one day sit in the emergency unit alone with nobody to call but your friend who has her own shit to deal with.

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