There are so many great things about being single. But by the way our friends, family, government and Olive Garden waitresses treat us, you’d think being single made you some tragic donkey, hopelessly alone and destined to careen off a cliff with no one around to hear your last heehaw.
Guess what? Some of us are single by design. Some of us like it.
I’m not trying to be an ingrate — I get that some people are inquisitive about my relationship status because they care and they want to see me happy. But what if I already am happy? It’s like crawling ashore after a shipwreck and having someone smash one of those life-saver donuts over your head. I’m OK, jackass!
Most people don’t go out of their way to make you feel bad when you’re single — they just make you feel bad by being themselves. To a lot of people, being “normal” means coupling off, sandbagging yourself against the onslaught of existence by finding somebody to bitch to about your boss and the line at Trader Joe’s, somebody who also lets you squeeze their breasts. But life has become this ridiculous “single/not single” binary divide in which the uncoupled are treated as incomplete, awaiting further instructions.
Maybe we don’t want them.
Maybe I Don’t Want Somebody Special
I know that most of these people mean well and aren’t trying to annoy me, yet it annoys me to no end to have someone validate my singlehood (“Good for you!” — What?) or assume that finding someone is the most important thing to me. (I also hope to read “Moby Dick” and “Ulysses” some day!) The worst is being assured that one day, one glorious day, I’ll meet that Special Someone. Apparently, when you become part of a couple, you’re granted the powers of clairvoyance — “I just know it’s going to happen for you!” Well thank you, Cassandra!
What is with this “special” sh**, by the way? Everyone’s always telling me that I’m “special,” and there’s “someone special” out there for me, and we’ll find something “special.” I’d be happy with someone who was cool and funny and likes reverse cowgirl, thank you very much. She doesn’t need to be able to play the ocarina while bare-backing atop a galloping mule.
What’s with the equestrian theme, you ask? I have no idea!
Maybe I Don’t Want Somebody, Period
Also, what if I don’t want to be in a relationship? Why must everyone eventually be in a relationship? The world is trending toward later marriages, and fewer of them per capita than there used to be. Ever stop to think that I’m just ahead of my time? Or — not even — I’m just of my time? You don’t see me badgering you to have your fifth child to help out around the farm, do you?
It’s ridiculous that “being in a relationship” is the barometer for a healthy adulthood. Isn’t it enough that I’m able to hold down a job (sorta), pay my rent (landlord: just don’t cash April’s rent check just yet!), and I’m reasonably happy? You know, most motorcycles don’t come with sidecars for a reason, people! I am a lone motorcyclist! If I want sidecar attachment, I’ll join the circus like a normal person!
Maybe I Like Drinking Being Alone
Listen, Otherwise Pleasant Gal Who’s Waiting on Me, I don’t need the sad face when you clear the extra table setting away. I’m just happy for the space to put my book down. And yes, I realize it’s not “normal” for a single diner to order an entire bottle, but maybe I’m not into your so-called normalcy. Bring on that $26 Malbec and, yes, I would like to hear the specials. Haven’t you heard? I’m special myself!
And it’s not just waitstaff; it’s the goddamn government, too! Yes, State of New York, I live alone! I’ll be sure to answer that question a half dozen more times on my tax forms, and then again in the census forms you’ve been sending me nonstop for three months. I LIVE ALONE. THERE IS NO ONE ELSE LIVING HERE. YES, ALONE IS HOW I LIVE. IN THIS APARTMENT WHERE I RESIDE, THERE IS ME AND ONLY ME. I AM A SOLO RESIDER. IF I WERE A STAR WARS CHARACTER I WOULD BE HAN SOLO — UNTIL HE STARTS DATING LEIA, AT WHICH POINT I’LL BE BOBA FETT, WHO MOST CERTAINLY LIVES ALONE.
Maybe I Don’t Want to Make Your Grandchildren/Nieces/Nephews
When I had a roommate, my dad took to telling me he’d love me just as much if I were gay. I started wishing I were gay so he’d stop with the promises and get down to the being fine with me part. How about feeling good about me despite the fact that no one stores an extra toothbrush at my apartment?
My sisters alternate between quiet suspicion of my protracted singlehood and asking if I’ve ever considered online dating. This is when I tell them — again — that I’m not interested in posting misleading photographs of myself onto Match.com and “winking” at random women who may or may not divest me of my spleen if we meet. (Not surprisingly, my brothers-in-law seem to want me to stay single. This is instructive! When I mention a date or a hook-up, they get that psycho-married-dude look in their eyes — “Hold on, hold back up, just back up — exactly how long was her finger …? Also, show me on your finger how far. Point to a knuckle.”)
Maybe I Don’t Want to Round Out Your Dinner Party / Wedding
Married friends try very hard to be self-aware and not make you feel as if your sex life is somehow lesser than theirs. Mine love to bring up a “great girl” who works in the marketing department who’d be “perfect for you,” but never procure a number or email address because they realize they don’t want you dating her. (Partially because they don’t want you dating somebody they have to see every day, but mostly because the last time they used the laptop at your apartment, they couldn’t type a single letter into the search bar without four dozen porn sites springing up. Sue me for not erasing my search history, married friends. I live alone!)
And please, for the love of God, don’t call or email me to explain your policy on “plus-ones.” I get it, I’m perpetually alone and forever making the seating arrangements impossible to figure out. (“Do we stick him with the cousins? We can’t put him with the Bernards and the Felsteins — he’ll make the numbers odd, and there’s no way he’s getting within nine tables of my sister.”) Jesus, please, spare me. I get it. In your world of “serious commitments,” I’m always going to be checking off the fish entree and RSVPing for one. Can’t wait to celebrate your loving union, though.
Maybe I’m Alone, but I’m Not Lonely
Look, if I want to be set up with somebody, I’ll ask to be set up with somebody. If I want to Internet date, I will steal some Wi-Fi and post that one photo of me (taken seven years ago) in which I’m finally caught at a flattering angle (and with a tan). If you deign me worthy of a plus-one, despite my as-far-as-you’re-concerned “unhealthy” love life, I can decide for myself whether to bring a date or a hooker or a cat in baby clothes. Or maybe I’ll just save you the $200-a-plate you assume will be wasted on a girl who will be very sweet but ultimately unable to deal with my night terrors, pot dependence and refusal to eat portabella mushrooms and come alone. If I want to complain and be morose about not having a girlfriend or a wife or an adorable little mixed race baby to cart around, I will do so. Vocally. Probably after that bottle of wine. Where are you going, waitress, I’m talking to you!
You may assume single people are lonely and unhappy, but if that’s the case, why am I smiling and why is your tip so big?
Because I’m happy. And single. So there.