Bye-bye Bridget Jones, hello Nicole Kidman. The new thirtysomethings have ditched the relationship-obsession and spinster stereotypes - they just want to have fun, writes Mia Freedman.
Bye-bye Bridget Jones and the needy insecurity that goes with her. You know: desperately dating, biological clock-obsessing, cat-loving and chardonnay-swilling while spending the night at home in a face mask with takeaway sushi and a DVD of Hugh Grant's latest romantic comedy.
Unlike the control-undie-wearing thirtysomething, the dirtysomething is most likely to sport a thong and sexy bra, regardless of whether anyone else will see her knickers later that night.
While the thirtysomething envies married couples, the dirtysomething pities them. It's not that she's averse to long-term relationships - she's had her share and may even have been married once - but she's been there and done that.
Her focus now is firmly on having fun and enjoying her life, not circling in a Bridget Jones holding pattern with one eye on her ring finger and one ear on her biological clock.
"Happily ever after" is not the pristine fantasy it once was for the dirtysomethings and marriage is no longer their holy grail. These women are redefining this life stage and kicking society's expectations to the kerb.
Their mantra: happiness doesn't depend solely on your love status.
"I wouldn't say I'm cynical about relationships," said Nadia, a 31-year-old yummy mummy and dirtysomething who separated from her husband after three years of marriage and now lives happily in Bondi with her young daughter. "But I'm not naive about it in the way some single women are. I know that finding 'the perfect man' is not going to make my life magically wonderful. I have to create my own happiness. If I happen to find someone I want to try sharing my life with, that's great, but I'm not looking to be rescued from some dumb spinster stereotype. That whole 'you complete me' thing is just tragic and totally unrealistic. Go complete yourself."
So while the thirtysomething may doodle designs of her fantasy engagement ring, the dirtysomething who wants jewellery goes and buys herself a pair of diamond studs. And she doesn't have to hide the receipt.
"No one tells me what to wear, where to go, when to come home, how much to spend, who to sleep with or how soon," Gemma enthused about her lifestyle. "And I don't have to lie when I bring home the two new pairs of shoes I bought in my lunch hour."
The irony, of course, is that men can smell this laid-back confidence and it acts as a potent aphrodisiac. "I've never had so many men ask me out as I do now that I'm not looking for a relationship," said Sophia, who goes out with her friends to spend time with them, not to pick up guys.
"I think men sense desperation, particularly from women in their 30s, and it's very, very unattractive. When you genuinely aren't looking for love, you meet the most interesting guys because you don't have that mental check list of husband qualities."