Tuesday, October 27, 2015

on being single

There are many wonderful things about being single, like being able to do anything at the exact moment I want, having things arranged just as I like them, leaving a weeks' worth of running socks in a pile on the floor where I take them off every night, not having to listen to complaints about my hair all over the bathroom floor, listening to whatever I want on the radio, having my bed to myself and being able to look at my own calendar and make plans immediately.  I treasure and am grateful for all of these things because I have hope for a future when I won't have them.  However, there are a lot of things that are tough/challenging about being single.

I don't get a lot of human contact Hugging is not professional, so it happens only rarely at work.  We tend to not hug at running group either... there's something about being drenched in sweat that dampens the desire for getting too close.  One of my girlfriends has two boys under two and every time I'm at her house, she apologizes when I somehow end up with both of them in my arms and lap.  In those moments, I feel so full and whole, and I carry the peace of that abundance of warm little boy love with me for days!  Humans are wired to share love, affection, respect and appreciation through contact, which explains why I go to bed every night sandwiched between two stuffed animals. 

Girls' nights don't have the same appeal.  I love a good girls' night as much as the next girl, and I especially love when I get to have them with my married girl friends because it shows just how important time with me is to them and I love and cherish that I get to share the time with them and just them.  However, I would love a good dudes' night every once in a while.  I spend all of my time at work with 142 teenage girls and an overwhelmingly female faculty.  Sometimes I just want to be around people who actually eat more than me and can lift heavy things for me! 

I sign a morality clause in my contract each year.  Among a whole host of things this means that I promise not to have premarital sex or co-habitate.  In today's world, this goes against societal expectations and norms.  A lot of people have their "third-date baggage" that they have to share with the hope that this new person in their life will understand and accept; this is mine.  Most of the time it feels like a burden that I carry, but it's there and it's a decision that I continue to make for a variety of reasons.  It's a decision that has caused a lot of heartache in my past two relationships.  It's a decision that has, ironically, made me comfortable talking about sex.  That's the funny thing about NOT having sex--you spend a LOT of time talking about why not.  As a single woman, I feel that this morality clause leaves me very vulnerable.  As a married woman, you can't break the biggest ones and even if I did something crazy and broke a different one, there'd be a second income to break the fall before I found a new job.

People are always making comments, asking questions and giving advice:
Are you married?  Do you have kids? Why aren't you married? Are you looking?  Do you go out to bars? Why don't you join some group to meet more people? Aren't there guys at parties you go to?  Why don't you try the online thing?  What about so-and-so?  My friend/relative/acquaintance met her husband online. When are you getting back on online dating?  Isn't there anyone at your Church? I'm sure you meet lots of guys at your running group. So-and-so has a really nice grandson/nephew/cousin, but he's too old/young/inactive/grumpy/non-religous/out-of-town for you.  You're such a nice girl. He's out there.  Keep putting yourself out there.  Go out more.  Talk to more people.  Don't worry about having kids, you're still young.

I have to be financially stable by myself.  I can't count on a double income.  I only have my parochial school income to live off of and right now, I have to plan on that being it for the rest of my life. 

I don't get to bring dates to weddings.  I feel very lucky to have been present to celebrate the weddings of so many of my friends, and this is NOT a dig on them.  It is simply an observation.  I know it is unintentional, but I often feel like I don't count to be worth two plates because I'm single.   

I have to do all my own chores.  There's no one to share chores with.  Prepping, cooking and cleaning up from a proper dinner takes at least 2 hours.  I also don't have anyone to push my sleeves back up when I'm elbow-deep in dough.  I also have to wait a long time between loads of laundry until I accumulate enough to warrant making a load, so that means I actually have to own more of the basics like underwear, socks and jeans.

Dresses with zippers up the back.  I'm pretty flexible, so I can normally get my dresses on and off, but occasionally I have to wear a jacket over my half-zipped dressed and beg an unsuspecting woman in the bathroom to zip me up the rest of the way and then figure out how to get out of it when I get home!

I'm the only one making decisions.  This is one of the greatest things that I envy about my married friends, I don't have a partner to bounce things off of, or to be in the same boat with when they spring a leak.  I have trust myself, or call mom and dad. 

So, if you have a single friend, cut them some slack when they stay they have to stay home to clean or if they come over ostensibly to hang out with you, but spend most of their time holding your child, or playing with your dog or talking to your husband.  Give them hugs in greeting and leaving and don't ask them how dating is going unless you're prepared to listen to a tirade and commiserate without giving any advice.  If you're married, invite them to things with your sig-fig and maybe offer to drive them every once in a while when you go out, since they don't have someone to share that duty with either.  For most of us, it isn't a choice, and while you may envy us on occasion, we need to be around you to see how our life can be so that we don't give up!  

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