Monday, February 18, 2008

Why Single Sorta Sux

Ok, so it only took me three days to post. So, I'm getting better! Yay, me! My last post really came from my heart. That story was very real and those feelings were very legitimate - to me. But some of you really came down hard on me for even entertaining The Engaged One. The only thing I can say is: it is what it is. My posts are about my life and sometimes life isn't always black and white. The situation with The Engaged One happens to be one of my little gray areas. Maybe you don't approve, and I can understand that. But, be patient with me. I am still learning and growing because I am a work in progress. God is not done with me yet! Anyway, I would like to thank all those who posted comments and all those who hit me off-line to let me know their thoughts on the last post. Please keep giving me feedback! It really does motivate me...

You may be surprised to learn what I think is the worst thing about being single... It’s not being the one to show-up at the formal company dinner without a date. It’s not staying home on date night when everyone else is out seeing the latest movie or sampling the food and drink at the hottest new restaurant. Nope. Those things could be awkward and uncomfortable, but they are doable. But, in my opinion, the worst thing about being single is the way that (some) non-single people treat you.

I work in an office filled with young women in their mid-20s to mid-30s. Everyone in my office is either married or seriously dating someone.

Except me.

Now, I am not single and “dating”. I am just SINGLE. Period. End of story. There are no real prospects on the horizon and I am not actively seeking a partner. And you don’t know how happy that makes me. But to my married/attached friends, I’m like some freak of nature with an affliction that could be cured if they can just match me up with the “right” person. My coworkers are sweet enough. And I know the mean well. But sometimes, they make me feel worse about myself than I otherwise would’ve felt.

For instance, as I discussed in my last post, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Now, two years ago I removed Valentine’s Day from my personal calendar and decided it should no longer be observed by me. Why? Because my ex ruined the holiday for me with his selfish and inconsiderate ways and, so, I decided that I would no longer acknowledge it. Unfortunately, the rest of the world would make sure that it was shoved down my throat every February. Now, I’m fine with that. Just because I don’t see any real benefit in celebrating Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean that everyone in the world should just stop recognizing it. But when I express to people at work that Valentine’s Day is just another day and that I won’t be doing anything special in honor of it, they look at me as though I’ve just told them that I’ve been laid off, or diagnosed with some grave illness… essentially, they look sorry for me.

When I explained how I planned to spend my night yesterday, you should’ve seen people’s reactions! They fed me sarcastic lines like “Hey, if I wasn’t married [to the man of my dreams] and if we didn’t [already have a table reserved at the best restaurant in town] and if I wasn’t [expecting to see a Tiffany & Co. blue box on the side of the bed on Valentine’s morning], I would have the same plans you do.” Or, my personal favorite, “You’ll probably be having more fun than I’ll be having [with my wonderful companion of the opposite sex while you sit at home alone, you poor loser!].” Yeah right. With the seriousness in their voices, I know that they don’t really believe the script they are acting out for me. They don’t envy me and my position. They just feel bad that I didn’t have a man to spend V-Day with.

Now, if you read my Valentine blog, you already know how I spent my evening. And I was FINE with it. Really, I was. I was in a positive state of mind, actually looking forward (believe it or not) to eating a pan of brownies while vegging out in front of the television with Capone curled up on a pillow beside me. And you all know that I went through a brief period of feeling sorry for myself… when I started to doubt that I could really be happy spending Valentine’s Day all by my lonesome. But really, that doubt came as a result of interacting with non-single people and observing their responses to my stated evening plans.

They would say things like “Girl power!” and “Valentine’s Day is really about loving yourself.” Those would actually be nice sentiments if they weren’t bullshit. Someone even said, “You rock for being so brave.”

Brave?? Why is bravery required? I’m spending V-Day alone, not exploring some foreign land. Are you saying I’m brave to be able to make it through another day? But why? I live the single life every day of the year. And, trust me, after the hellish relationships I have endured for far too many days of my life, I am more than happy to be single.

Spending Valentine’s Day alone is not life-threatening. But when someone asks “Are you spending Valentine’s Day with anyone special?” It makes me feel crappy. I feel like stealing a line from Miranda (a SATC character) and saying “Nope, no one special. But I plan on spending it with a few UN-special guys.” In truth, though, I don’t even have the energy to be funny about it.

My coworkers are always volunteering to set me up with someone in an attempt to cure me of my singlehood. Now, I am a good sport, but don’t go bringing me some old bullshit prospects just because I am single. I may be unattached, but I am not desperate. One work friend really made an honest effort and I was somewhat impressed just because of who the guy was. You see, this friend knows that my standards are somewhat high (although you could probably never tell that based on my poor dating track record), so she decided to pull out the big guns.

“Brown Girl,” she says. “The guy I want you to meet is so great! I really think you’re going to like him.” She proceeds to give me the rundown. Turns out, homeboy is not only a retired NFL player, he is also an astronaut employed by NASA. At first, I didn’t believe her. That’s the kind of career combination that a 5 year-old concocts when he still thinks that anything can be accomplished simply by willing it so, and he’s asked:

“Bobby, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

“A quarterback and an astronaut,” little Bobby replies.

“Aww, that’s so adorable!” coo Bobby’s parents who chuckle under their breath at the odds stacked against their son.

On with the story...

When my coworker shares this man’s occupation, my first thought is – she is making this up. She is trying to come up with the most outlandish career combination she can think of simply to deter me from turning this dude down. My second thought is - why is a former football player/astronaut still single? Especially when he’s living in the Washington, DC area where the straight female to straight male ratio is approximately 12:1.

So, just to prove to me that she wasn’t lying, my friend forwarded me an article from a national newspaper, reporting the fact that the NFL/NASA guy would soon be orbiting the Earth in some spacecraft with a team of other astronauts. I think, “Wow, he’s legit!” and then I see his photo, and I realize why he is single. Big, bushy moustache, receding hairline, buckteeth and at least my dad’s age.


I have to remind her – again – that I am single, not desperate.

To this day, Miss Missy who tried to set me up with Mr. NFL/NASA won’t let me live that situation down. She was sort of offended that I turned down her friend. And she basically thought I was ungrateful for not at least giving him a shot. She didn’t say that, but then again, she didn’t HAVE to say that. It was written all over her grill.

Anyway, when I share with her how I spent my night last night, she very obviously clucked her tongue, rolled her eyes, and said that I could’ve been spending my night with NFL/NASA and then I wouldn’t have had to sit at home on Valentine’s Day. Little does she know, I was definitely happier with Capone than I would’ve been with him.

But I refuse to acquiesce to the peer pressure. I am not willing to just accept anyone that people - friends or otherwise - present to me. I am not obligated to humor their concern for me because, guess what? There is nothing WRONG with me. In this society, so much weight is placed on linking up with someone for lifetime companionship. While I do desire attain that, it’s not something that I need to acquire right this second. And, if it doesn’t ever come, I’m ok with that, too. I refuse to settle for less than what I deserve. As a result, unless someone is coming to me with all that I need and most of what I want, I am not going to just go along for the okey-doke. I am fine with spending Valentine’s Day and every other day doing exactly what I want to do (which will likely involve my couch and something chocolate). And I refuse to let anyone make me feel bad about being single and liking it.

So, next year, if I – God willing – am still in the same place both mentally and physically (namely, “single and loving it”!), I will welcome the question: “So, are you spending Valentine’s Day with anyone special?” Because I will have a ready (and genuine) response: “Yes, I’ll be spending it with someone very special. Me.”

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