Yesterday, I had one of those days where it is hard to be single. Not hard in the emotional, “oh I wish I had someone” way- but hard in the sometimes things are just easier with another person to help you out, kind of way.
I live alone (well, alone with a cat), and usually I love it. I like coming home and not having to worry that the mess I create while making dinner will bother anyone if it does not all get cleaned up in the same night. I like to be able to re-charge by vegging out if that is all I have the energy for, and I am completely in control of what will be watched. As a rather large Introvert on the Meyer’s Briggs scale, I need a lot of me time to feel re-energized and balanced, and living alone allows that. This does not mean that I don’t get lonely from time to time- but the positives outweigh the negatives, and my cat is pretty good company most of the time.
However, there are times when it would just be helpful to have someone else around. My predicament yesterday was that my shower backed up- not just running slow, but full on standing water. I tried everything I could possibly think of, and when none of them worked, I went to the internet for more ideas. Finally, defeated, I called my landlord and let him know the issue. He had me call a plumber and it was both a relief and a disappointment. It was nice to know that I no longer needed to handle the issue alone, but I had really wanted to tackle the problem myself and feel self sufficient. In the end, it did drain on it’s own before the plumber returned my call, it just took six hours for the liquid plumber to work.
During this whole ordeal I kept thinking how nice it would be to have a guy I could call to come help me out. This may be very un-feminist of me, but sometimes it’s just reassuring to have a male presence in the face of household dilemmas- even if they themselves don’t know how to fix the problem. It is a nice feeling to have someone to share the burden.
I don’t run into these types of situations often, but when I do I always find myself contemplating my singleness. I read an article once that said it takes courage to remain single in our society. At first I did not think this was true because courage implied a choice and I did not think I was choosing to be single, it was just my state of being. I also did not feel personally that my single state was me acting courageously, it was simply the only way I knew how to live. I’ve been single my entire life. At 29 I still have never had a relationship. This is all I know, there cannot be anything courageous in that.
But the more I thought about it, the more I began to identify with it. While I still did not feel courageous, I understood what the article was trying to say. We live in a world today that is built around couples. When was the last time you went to an arts event and saw someone sitting by themselves? It feels like there is an underlying social tabu about not going to events alone. I actually love going to the movies by myself and do so often, but I feel uncomfortable doing many other things by myself such as eating in any place that is a step up from a coffee shop.
In trying to become more comfortable with doing things by myself I want to take a trip on my own. This has become a very frustrating process. When looking through living social getaway packages, they are all directed at couples. Romantic getaway for two!- they all proclaim. OK, two is not a problem I think, I’ll find a friend to come along or enlist my Father- he’s wanted to explore some of these places. But then as I read the details, it’s always for a King room and will have champagne or something waiting. Not really the vibe you want on a trip with your Dad. These kinds of promotions only remind me of my single state and make me feel like there is something else I am left out of because of it.
While all of this can be infuriating, I am still going it alone, and in a lot of ways it really is a choice. One of my favorite go to guilty pleasure movies is The Wedding Date with Debra Messing. In the movie, faced with the prospect of showing up to her sister’s wedding alone, Kat (Messing) hires an escort to come along and pose as her boyfriend. One of the main messages of the movie is expressed when Kat asks her date Nick (Hello, Dermot Mulroney!) about a quote of his from an article stating that every woman has the love life that she wants. Kat is furious- “Do you think I want to be alone and miserable?” she throws at Nick.
I agree with Nick, I think the answer is yes. While I don’t believe that Kat wants to be miserable, I do believe that if she really did not want to be alone she did not have to be. The same goes for me. If all I wanted was to go on a date, I could make that happen. I could find someone to ask out or join an online dating site. Finding someone is not the problem; finding the right someone is. I have never desired to be in a relationship just for the sake of being in one. Yes, it would be nice to always have someone to go to a concert with or to help me with things around the house. It would be helpful financially to share the rent if I were ever to live with someone, or even to be able to take advantage of those travel deals. But as great as all of that would be, it doesn’t really mean anything to me if I’m not sharing it with the right person. I don’t want to have a boyfriend just because it is great to have a boyfriend- I want it to be special. So, until I meet that person- yes, I am choosing to remain single, and maybe it is a bit courageous.
I’ll fix that drain on my own. And if not- that’s what plumbers are for.