At Christmas little children sing and merry bells jingle,
The cold winter air makes our hands and faces tingle
And happy families go to church and cheerily they mingle
And the whole business is unbelievably dreadful, if you’re single.
-Wendy Cope, Serious Concerns
If you’re Single and you’re reading this, then Christmas is not the only serious concern you have right now. There are a couple of things that every Singleton suffers through, and I’ve taken the liberty to share some of those things here.
1. Suspicion about mutant genetics :
Being single is a lot like being a mutant. You’re always the odd single among the doubles and the longer you’ve been out of the dating game, the more eccentric you will appear to your peers. You can end up being regarded as somewhat of a freak. In fact, being single is like being Mystique from X-Men; you struggle to maintain a certain façade outside, pretending to be all normal, whereas when you come back home, you take off your clothes and erupt into blue scales.
Well O.K not all of us do that. Only Jennifer Lawrence does.
2. Flirt and fall flat on your face :
The biggest problem in becoming part of a functional couple, is flirting. Flirting is the first step to declaring your interest in someone and is often crucial to the courtship ritual, but singletons can fail miserably in impressing the opposite sex. Maybe you’re like me and you regularly come up with something like this :
If someone does fall for that line, either he really likes you, or he’s weirder than you are.
3. Can I please, get him?
Singlehood is also a lot about unrequited love (or lust, mostly). How many of us have seen someone so gorgeous, yet so unattainable, that we’ve pulled a Rachel? :
You don’t like what you can get, and you can’t get what you really like. All the good guys are taken (by ‘good’ I mean, hot, rich and smart. Good has nothing to do with decency here). Or they’re gay. Or they’re hippies. Or they’re just not interested. Whatever the reason, if you’re a Singleton, you know very well about hours spent daydreaming about the potential love of your life without ever summoning the courage to tell him how you feel.
4. Are you Gay, Mr. Grey?
Christian Grey, from the erotic novel 50 shades of Grey, had the same predilection that we do. (No. Not the one where you tie up your partner and spank them). He too, was never seen with a woman and so the media, as well as Anastasia Steele, started wondering if he was gay and if that was the real reason he wasn’t dating anybody.
One girl, a former actress and a dear friend, recently told me about how she had very little experience with serious relationships even though she was touching 26. A lot of first dates, she said, but nothing ever serious. The worst part, according to her, were the kind of questions this lead to. Many people had furtively asked her if she was homosexual.
So if we don’t find the right guy by our mid-20s, we’re gay?
Nice. I’m actually more offended on behalf of gay people.
What I’m trying to say is, if I haven’t been dating anyone for a long time don’t jump to the conclusion that I’m Gay. A possible explanation might be that I’m really a Dominatrix and I have 5 different subs and enjoy extremely kinky sex. (Ma, if you’re reading this I’m sorry.)
5. Excuses, Excuses :
The truly mortifying part is that people expect you to find excuses for your behavior, as if it is some gaffe you’ve committed by staying single. So you find yourself babbling about random things that have nothing whatsoever to do with your being single :
“Oh I’ve been working. I’m so busy.
No, I just haven’t found the right guy.
No, of course I’m not miserable. No, I’m doing O.K. Thank you. Thank you.
Marriage? Oh no. Haven’t thought about that at all.
Ugh. Hate kids. Can’t stand them”.
6. I do, Do I? :
Many of us may not mind being single all the time. Sometimes we might feel really tranquil in our own space. In fact, we might wrestle with two separate voices inside. One telling us to find someone and settle down, one telling us to be truly happy with ourselves. Which voice should we listen to?
If work is a priority, we may put our heart and soul into our job, education, family, hobbies or friends which leaves very little time to become emotionally invested in someone. Many of us will NOT spend the week like I do, crowing about being a career woman and then cry all through the weekend because a career won’t give you babies.
All my mother sees every Sunday night, is this :
And all she hears every weekday is this :
I’m sure she’s convinced that bipolar disorder is the main reason I’m single.
5. I’m gonna die alone!
On a more serious note, I have often wondered what drives a person to look for a partner. The only answer that comes to mind is this : The fear of being alone. No matter how independent, free-spirited and liberal we are, the fear of winding up alone, having no loving messages on our voicemail, washing only our own dirty underwear, ordering take-out Chinese food for one, rolling across the bed and simply falling off instead of being buffered by another sleeping figure, are thoughts too horrifying for us to consider. It is one of the reasons that many of us force ourselves to scavenge for would-be partners, desperately clinging to the notion that dating is a sign of being normal. Eventually though, when it doesn’t work out, we accept the unacceptable.
Being alone, however, is not all that bad. It’s a bit dull, and it’ll definitely make you feel far less cooler than people who’re shacking up, but you will always end up experience more growth in life because you have less shit to put up with. Instead of going out on a date you’re making friends at the ping-pong table. Instead of a romantic date in Venice, you’re going base-jumping in New Zealand. Instead of making out with your boyfriend you’re reading The postman always rings twice. Instead of fighting over exes, you’re giving a kick-ass presentation to your Boss. Instead of falling asleep in somebody’s arms you’re falling asleep in a luxurious AirBnB and instead of being woken up with breakfast-in-bed you’re being woken up with wet, sloppy kisses by many many dogs.
Surely that beats a life spent chasing someone who isn’t ready to commit, then dating them, only to find out they were cheating on you the whole time?
6. I didn’t get that dirty joke because I don’t do the dirty :
Being single is hard because you have to admit, eventually, that you lack sexual experience. Sure, you’ve done some stuff, but how much is some and how much is everyone else doing it? You can never tell, because people do stuff but they also lie. So with all that mixed information, innuendo and pun flying around, you end up hitting on a person with this :
Hopefully, when you do get involved with someone, your partner will talk to you about the dirty :
7. What happens when you do find someone? :
Every little spark is too much to take for us singletons, especially when we’re not used to sparking with anyone at all. Even slight chemistry can set us off, affect our equilibrium and send us into a full blown panic attack. A kind word from a neighbour, a sexy look from the coffee guy, a kissing emoji in a text, all of it can really freak us out. When something really clicks, instead of coolly engaging in some witty banter and seeing where it goes, the immediate instinct is to run like mad and never look back.
8. Bearing to live with yourself :
My firm belief, is that there are a certain number of people you’re supposed to meet and love. Maybe one, maybe two, maybe ten, but there’s a predetermined number of people you will find you way to. There are 7 billion people on this planet; you’ll be lucky if you find even who can make you feel loved. Let things happen the way they’re supposed to. Learn to be with yourself before you expect someone else to be with you. Everyone has their own baggage, maybe you can work on your own? Blind-dating, match-making, bar-hopping and hook ups are very contrived ways of making something special happen. Even the author Helen Fielding, points out how futile it is to lament your single-status in her book Bridget Jones’ Diary :
“Oh God. valentine’s Day tomorrow. Why? Why? Why is (the) entire world geared to make people not involved in romance feel stupid when everyone knows romance does not work anyway. Look at (the) royal family. Look at Mum and Dad.”
I’ve always imagined that the universe throws two people at each other again and again until they stick. So wait for it, just wait, just hold on a little longer. Don’t settle for something less than what you deserve. Don’t compromise. There’s a good reason you’re alone. Maybe there’s some work you need to do get done which is far more important than a one-night stand, like becoming the Prime Minister of Britain and dancing around in Number 10.
If you find yourself buckling under pressure, being mislead by squeamishly romantic couples and influenced by rigid society norms to find a mate, then I’ll leave with you the one quote that makes me trust my own wisdom even when I want to wantonly throw myself at any random guy :