The Single Life

By now it should be common knowledge that I’m single and have been for a while. I don’t consider it to be the worst aspect of my life (right now my dying TV is the worst aspect of my life; I’m materialistic like that), but some might think it is.

See, most of the people my age, the ones I went to school with, all followed the natural progression of getting married and having kids (okay, some had the kids first and some didn’t wait until they were out of high school to do it, but let’s not go splitting hairs). In my neck of the Cornfield, that’s just what you do. And I didn’t. I didn’t do any of it.  So here I am at 32, never been married and without kids, while some people I went to school with are on marriage number 2 and working on half-siblings for their existing kids.

And that bothers people. I guess it’s something to be pitied that I didn’t follow that natural track that they followed. Like there’s something defective about me. After all, there MUST be something WRONG with me, right? Who wants to be single? If you want to be single, you’re weird. If you don’t want to be single, but can’t land a partner, then you’re defective. Either way, there’s something wrong with you. With me.

Maybe it would be different if I dated more. At least then I’d be trying, right? But it’d still be a failure. That’s what being single is to some people. Failure.

While these people still think there’s something wrong with me, they’ve become accustomed to my singlehood. They don’t like it, but it’s what’s now considered normal for me. I am that spinster that everyone knows. And that leads to a different problem.

What would happen if I got into a relationship?

See, I’m not single because it’s the only life for me, which I believe is the common misconception people have. I’ve got this reputation for being strong and independent and being single has bolstered that because look at Christin, she doesn’t NEED a partner.

That’s true. I don’t NEED a partner. I’m happy enough being single, but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t also be happy enough in a relationship. It doesn’t mean that I don’t WANT a relationship. It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t one day get married if the right person asked (so far, only the wrong ones have). Being strong and independent doesn’t mean that I want to be alone. It just means I can be.

The truth is, I don’t mind being single. There are a lot of advantages to it that I enjoy. I don’t have to worry about jealousy, clashing schedules, extra laundry, warring over what to watch, or remembering anniversaries. I don’t have to worry about the other family not liking me or being forced to endure them if I don’t like them. There’s no complaining about being ignored or misunderstood, no worries about loyalty or infidelity. I just have to worry about and take care of me, and believe me when I say that sometimes I’m a handful.

That’s not to say that I don’t know that I’m missing out on the good aspects of relationships. I know that I am. And sometimes it bugs me. But not enough to march out and throw myself at the first man I find that’s remotely interested just so I can experience those things (I likely wouldn’t in a situation like that, but you know what I mean).

I’m comfortable being single. I’m okay with it. It’s not a bad thing. And if the right person comes along, then I don’t mind stepping out of that comfort zone to create a new one.

I don’t live and die by my relationship status.

You shouldn’t live and die by my relationship status either.

“Why Are You Single?”

I get this question far more often than I think I should. I feel it should be obvious why I’m single: I’m a fat, pasty bulldog that lives with my dad and a roommate and is in the process of trying to straighten out of the financial mess that I got myself into starting a few years ago. What man wouldn’t want that? Meow. Irresistable.

Okay, so maybe there’s a little more to it than that. I guess there’s actually a lot of little contributing factors to my singledom.

The first has to be the ending of my previous long term relationship. That ended ten years ago. No lie. The relationship wasn’t that great, it didn’t end on a positive note, and I was young and emotionally immature. It took me quite awhile to unravel all of the ends and outs of what went wrong. For years, I thought it was me. I thought me behaving badly was just how I was in a relationship and I avoided any prospect of getting into one to save the other poor soul, no matter how badly I wanted that person.

Years later, I realized that what happened in that relationship wasn’t the person I was and that I am quite capable of being a healthy individual in a partnership given the right partner and the appropriate communication.

Unfortunately, I missed a few opportunities in the meantime. Part of those misses were because of my fear of intimacy, but the other part were because of my obliviousness. I had a guy that I was totally enamoured with ask me to makeout with him and I didn’t because I thought he was joking. I thought it was because he was drunk and I was the only single girl in the room. It never entered my mind that he might have been serious.

There was another factor in that missed opportunity, as well as a few others, and that’s respect. The particular guy I was so enamoured with was part of a group of friends that I had worked really hard to gain their respect, to have them think of me as an equal and not just a girl tagging along. In my mind, to give in and make a try for this guy would lessen the respect this group had for me. I’d lose everything I’d worked for and the likelihood I’d be able to get it back would be lower than when I started. Yeah. Pride and respect trumped it all.

That has to be my biggest regret in life, that particular missed opportunity. I still think about what might have been sometimes, though those times are getting fewer and farther between.

And if all of that isn’t good enough, I imagine the fact that I don’t get out much doesn’t help me. I can’t meet anyone if I’m sitting at home. I’m not a big social outing kind of person. I go through phases. I’m going to a lot of baseball games this summer. I went out a lot when I was involved in the indy scence of pro wrestling. I’ve gone to several geek conventions. Bars aren’t really my scene and in a small town, there’s not much else to do. I’m more of a homebody anyway. And it’s no doubt cost me.

It is also entirely possible that a little bit of my singleness rests in the hands of the guys. I’m not exactly what a guy is looking for in a girl. I’m not the ideal they’re told by the media to seek. I’m pale and fat and a brunette. I’m a fighter and an ego bruiser. There’s not much about me that’s dainty or pretty. I don’t look good in a belly shirt and I like sports too much. There’s nothing stereotypical about me and that turns guys off, I don’t care what they say. Any guy who says they just want a girl that’s sweet and smart and looks don’t matter is blowing smoke.

Not many guys are going to spend too much time getting to know me to see if maybe I’d be good for them. Maybe if I was skinny, maybe if I was pretty, maybe if I behaved like a girl in the romantic comedies, they might hang around and give me a shot. But on looks alone, I’m more trouble with their buddies than I’m worth.

It’s hard to find a guy who doesn’t have a pack mind like that.

And I have yet to find one.

Of course, a big part of that is my hang-up.

I’m still working on a way to get unhung.