Every once in a while, I feel the urge to camp out in front of the TV and have my own private Sex and the City marathon. I was unable to resist that urge recently, and so, I had my fix of awesomely dressed single women, living the fabulous life in Manhattan and defying people's pitying and arrogant glances for being the S word: Single.
I can’t begin to count the ways I am pitied by people for the catastrophe that is being single in this society.
I might as well have a brain tumor. I’d be justifiably pitied then; but even then pity is not something I'd want to be directed at me.
At work, parties, shopping… anytime women find out I’m single the response is the same: “Aww. Well, don’t worry, you’ll find someone. It’ll happen.” Some of them even apologize; they apologize profusely, and sincerely. They all smile. Some scrunch their face in what I like to call the I'm-so-glad-I'm-not-you-but-I-sort-of-feel-your-pain-even though-I-have-it-so-much-better-than-you-look. Some wink. Some rub my back in an effort to comfort.
Whenever this happens I look around and behind me to make sure these sympathetic and caring women are talking to me. Do I really look that pathetic and puny to these people? What did I say, exactly, that prompted such a warm and fuzzy response?
I back track to the question: "Are you with anybody?" and the answer is a simple and matter-of-fact, "No, I'm not." I say my reply the same way I would say "No, I'm not interested in taking a survey." There is no lament, or any kind of emotion in my voice, other than the indifferent and matter-of-fact tone that is underlined with "You asked, and I'm answering you."
After I am sure it’s me these women are directing their sympathies toward, I smile back and try to look appreciative of their concern. It’s all I can do to not enhance their wrong assumption that I am a woman who feels snubbed and gypped by life and God for not having sent me my proverbial "knight in shining armor"; my soul mate.
Though I, like most individuals in this large and crazy world, do want to fall in love and feel "complete" with my soul mate, I don't feel an inferior member of society for not having achieved this ideal.
I must admit that couples do have a few advantages over us single people.
Not only do they get laid regularly; they get laid, period. Involved people also have more stories to tell; of course, the stories aren't always good, or echo the good life, but still; people in relationships are entertained and in turn, entertaining. At the end of the day, involved people either know they're going to wake up next to their loved one, or they go to bed knowing that they're loved and wanted just because they are who they are. Involved people are closer to being parents than single people are.
Those're nice things. I want those things. I strive for those things, and hope for those things.
There's no denying that it does suck sometimes to be single, but being single isn't so bad. As Monty Python once told people: "Always look on the bright side of life."
Looking on the bright side, being single prevents being dumped. Being single prevents fallouts with someone you're nuts about. Being single gives you a chance to be and be by yourself. Being single really helps you find out who you really are on your own, pick a hairstyle because YOU like it, and to look and feel your best for YOU.
Being single leaves an endless array of possibilities for your romantic future.
There is no doubt that being in a good and nurturing relationship enhances you and your choice of hairstyle, and everything else you do for yourself before you are in a relationship. Sharing your life with someone means that you are sharing you and everything about you with the person you choose to do so with. It's really a beautiful thing, and those who have it, are lucky... I recognize that, but I don't covet it.
I recognize that love is a wonderful thing when it is mutual, and I look forward to having such a thing in my life. But in the meantime, I'm enjoying the benefits of being single, which begin with the vast array of possibilities.
I'm single, but I'm not jaded or bitter. I'm just waiting, and I have plenty of entertainment to get me through it.
Reem lives and writes about it. She thinks that's what writers do, anyway. If it's not, then she also has a degree in journalism under her belt, along with the titles of reporter, editor (in chief, even) and, of course, opinion columnist.
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5.30.07 @ 11:53a
My wife said she used to get this all the time before we got married. Now, people harass us about having kids, as if you can't just be married.
I guess with guys, you don't get questioned as much about the single thing unless you hit (or are nearing) 40. Anyway, the real key is to be content wherever you are. A lot of people never realize that.
5.30.07 @ 12:10p
Jason--I always liked Ann Landers' response for that sort of thing--"Why is this any of your business?" Because frankly, whether or not someone is single or married without children isn't anyone's business but their own.
Reem--I get the same "pity". I just look at them quizzically, as if to say "Oh, my--should I be upset about still being single? How novel!" I have enough people who need my love and attention at the moment without adding a boyfriend or spouse to the mix. If that bothers someone else, that's just tough.
5.30.07 @ 12:52p
Lisa, I can see the "it's none of your business" thing working on most people, but I can't see it ever working on parents. I suppose they think it _is_ their business.
I think my parents asked KR and me if we were going to have kids only once or twice before my brother got married and started reproducing.
5.30.07 @ 2:04p
Ken, that's probably true. Im' just blessed with smart parents that have not bugged me about being single and childless, despite me being the only child. Then again, Mom keeps making it clear she's not in any hurry to be called Grandmom, so perhaps that's why.
5.30.07 @ 5:21p
I like to say I'm usually married- to me.
And I hate the "pity." So I tell 'em I'm headache-free.
5.30.07 @ 6:07p
I usually steer clear of topics of subjects involving marital status, because like Lisa, I don't think it's anyone's business but the people who would know that without asking anyway. But I always end up in situations where I'm asked, and I always have to answer and brace myself for those pitying looks. I keep wanting to give those same people pitying looks for being married, just to see their reaction(s).