Monday, February 15, 2010

Don't Bitch About Being Single



So, yesterday was Valentine's Day. I hope you spent it doing something interesting and not lame. This post would have been more timely last week, but I wasn't motivated to write it until this weekend, when so many people's anger and bitterness about being single came bubbling to the surface.

Believe me, I have been there. I’ve had a lot of stupid and shitty relationships that I stayed in just simply because the thought of not being in a relationship was awful to me. I’ve had my drunken hookup phase, my staying home with Ben and Jerry’s phase, months of contemplating lesbianism or becoming a woman of the cloth. I’ve started many a conversation with, “Can we talk about how much men suck?” and gotten caught way up in negativity, directing it not just at men, but at about anyone (ANYONE) in a relationship.

Case in point: I spent a semester in college hating my roommate because she had a boyfriend, forgetting that most of the time he was an emotionally abusive asshole. In that moment, that was just a tiny detail – she had someone, while I had a drinking problem and the guys from downstairs. Cute, yes. Good for procrastination purposes, absolutely. The loves of my life? Not hardly. And while that was okay at 19, it got to be much less okay with me as I hit my mid-twenties.

That’s to say nothing of the ill-advised engagement in my early twenties. Here’s a hint, y’all. If your friends hate him and your family Is Concerned, if he proposes three weeks after a conversation about what a terrible idea it would be for you to get engaged right now, and if every single thing about the proposal and the ring itself is the complete opposite of who you are? Saying yes is not a good plan. I know that it feels like settling now is a better plan than still being single in ten years, but settle now, and I will bet you cash money that in ten years you’ll be single anyway. Except now it will be because you’re divorced, having realized that you’re better than that.

And hey, you know what else is bad idea jeans? Spending all your time complaining (in embarrassing detail) about how miserable you are and how the whole world is against you. It's not going to do you any good to stay in your apartment, watching terrible TV and complaining in your blog and on message boards about how miserable it is to be single. What might do you some good is to LEAVE your house. Talk to people. Put yourself out there, have conversations with human beings. Get set up! I know, it sounds awful, but maybe it won't be. And if it is, that just means you have better stories to tell on the blog and the message boards.

I know it’s a cliché for me to say the bit about how things happen when you’re not looking, or in ways you’d never expect. But it is true. As I write this, I’m also running back and forth to the kitchen, making dessert for a really wonderful guy – that I happened to meet at 1:30am in about the grossest bar in town. Daisy’s daughter just turned six months old, and she and her husband met online. And Brownie? Brownie spent her Valentine’s Day at brunch with friends, hanging out with her sister and then watching the Olympics, drinking wine and eating cheese – which, if you’ve read her bio, you know is about as good as things get as far as she’s concerned.

Are our lives perfect? Of course not. And if you find the love of your life, yours won't be either. The world doesn't work like that. Having a significant other isn't going to solve all your problems, and being single doesn't automatically doom you to a life of misery and woe. One of the best things I've read this weekend, in response to all the Valentine's Day craziness, is from someone who was single for a long time and eventually got married in her late 30s. Her point? She had figured out how to be happy by herself - and with herself - before she could really be happy with someone else.

So start there! Take that Italian class or those piano lessons you were too young to appreciate the first time around. Paint your apartment, host Grilled Cheese Nights with your friends. Try the new class at your gym that sounds interesting and terrifying. Chat with the cute girl who's always in front of you in line at Starbucks, or try out for roller derby. But do something. The next time you find yourself ranting - AGAIN - about the unfairness of life and how no one will ever ever understand how wonderful you are, just stop, think about how awesome you ACTUALLY are, and don't keep that from the world.

6 comments:

  1. THANK YOU. I'm single this Valentine's Day, have been for the past couple of years, and basically don't mind all that much. Hating Valentine's Day because you're single has always seemed so arbitrary and dumb to me.

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  2. Right, so "good one" doesn't really mean anything. I enjoyed this, especially the parts about why settling is a bad thing. I wish I could send this to a couple of people I know, basically, but not because of the griping about V Day bits.

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  4. ...and friend grilled cheese night is awesome!

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  5. OMG, this year was my first "single" V-day in 5 years and it was the best of my life. I was on vacation, in the company of friends, in a warm place with a drink in my hand -- and not beholden to any other human being for my happiness for once. Being in a couple for V-day is great if you're the perfectest, but life isn't perfect, people aren't perfect and in a lot of cases, you'll end up being disappointed and taking a long, hard (sometimes too hard) look at your life and relationship just because he forgot the name of your favorite restaurant and scheduled your Big Dinner someplace else. When you're single, there's no compromising, no expectations, no drama -- and endless possibilities around every corner. It's such a great feeling -- not something to be rushed through or avoided at all!

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