So this happened to me:
Mum: Has Rosie got a boyfriend yet?
Me: Rosie’s had a boyfriend for years, Mum.
Mum: Oh, well can’t you ask her to help you keep a man?
Ouch. Wow. Ok. Rub some aloe vera into my tomato-tinged face because that hurt. I have not expressed an interest in getting (or keeping) a man recently, so this one came totally out of left field. But it got me thinking, why is this relationship malarkey so important to everyone? Why is MY relationship so important to someone that isn’t living my life? And what am I missing out on that’s so great? The last time I had a boyfriend, I remember it vividly as being something like Hell. It was torture and I couldn’t leave, well, until I did. Thank God for that.
It’s not that I have a problem keeping men, (thank you Mother!) it’s just that I have a problem attracting the kind of guy that I want to keep around. My taste in men is bad, really bad, like, I might as well shop for boyfriends in prisons or mental hospitals, because they definitely cater to my screwed-up needs. I wander into love with my eyes shut and my hands behind my back; then I wonder why it hurts. In short, love, for me, is hard work.
So here I am in singletown. I am living life to the full; well, I would be if the definition of living life to the full was less about sky-diving and elephant riding, and more about working harder than I’ve ever worked in my whole life and reaping the sleepless benefits of it. I am single and I am happy. That sentence in itself was enough to make me shudder. It sounds like something that I would type if I was caked in cats and had a rather impressive collection of tin cans. But I AM single, and I AM happy. Aren’t I? The truth is that I don’t even know anymore.
My mum is pretty sure that I’m miserable. I could break my face with a smile and run off to join the circus, but if there’s no man on my arm, I am not happy. It’s not possible in her mind. If you don’t have a boyfriend, every other piece of your life pie is just glitter and sequins, decoration to woo some testosterone your way.
Her attitude kinda makes me paranoid. I mean, a moment ago, I was feeling pretty good. I was doing well in my career, (got a lot of things going on right now,) I haven’t felt like murdering my friends lately and I just ate. There was absolutely no reason at all for me to be anything but annoyingly cheery. I was even singing (badly, but still). Then:
Mum: Why are you so happy?
Me: Um, because life is awesome? (N.B. See the question mark? I know where this is headed…)
Mum: Got a boyfriend yet?
Crash bang, back to earth again. No Mum, I don’t have a boyfriend. I didn’t want one five minutes ago; I had a million reasons why I was better off being single right now, but suddenly they’re gone, leaving a man-shaped hole in their place. How can I possibly be happy? My life sucks! I have no cuddles, no weekend boxset marathons, no love letters, no making someone ingest my cooking, no heart-shaped tat cluttering up my bedroom, no constant bickering, no compromise- Wait! I AM happy!
But it’s not just my mother leading the crusade against single life. It seems as if we all think the same way. My coupled-up peers look at me with a mixture of distaste and pity. It’s like they could catch my single if I sneezed. If you don’t have someone that wants to be with you, then you must be an unbearable person, right? Um, no, actually. Anyone can find someone, but it’s hard work to find THE one. Think armour that needs to be shined, towers that need to be climbed, not to mention the horse-riding lessons. But seriously, finding someone that you can still stand after the two year mark is tough.
You are not a bad person if you have standards. If you can’t put up with: drug addiction, laziness, physical and mental abuse, moodiness and a guy that hates your mum, there’s nothing wrong with you at all. These are all sensible things to avoid, no matter how good the beard is. It’s not worth it. You can’t just lower your standards because you feel sorry for someone, less still if you feel sorry for yourself. There are worse things than being single, like being eaten by a shark or made to eat olives. You can get past this. I can get past this.
There are a million options out there for people that want someone. Online dating anyone? But what if you don’t want someone? Single people are not losers, they’re not lepers, they’re just people. If you’re single right now or single forever, you don’t have to feel bad about it. Your life is no-one else’s business. You make your own goals and live your own dreams. And hey, at least us singletons miss out on all the life-bullying that comes with actually being in a relationship. ‘So when are you getting married?’ Ha! Single life is looking better already.