At what point does being single go from a temporary state to a lifestyle to a life? If you’re a rebounder, you may never have extended periods of downtime, bouncing out of one relationship and right into the next one. Or you could be a person who prefers to take a bit of time after the demise of one coupling to regroup before you’re ready to take up with anyone new.
That regrouping time would make singlehood a temporary condition. Just a little lull in the romantical area while you reassess what went wrong in your previous relationship and strategize to not to let it happen again. This is also the time where you likely listen to a lot of sad songs, have imaginary conversations with your Ex about what you should have said during that final argument and fantasize about running into him/her/them with your new, hotter partner while they’re looking particularly lonely and desperate or hooked up with some skank. It’s not a good time to be dating.
If your bounce-back game isn’t at its bouncy best, you may go through a relationship lull. You’ll likely be doing some random dating during this time, but not involved in anything serious. This is when you’re living the single lifestyle. Beholden to no one, you can come and go as you please, reconnect with friends you may have been neglecting while non-single, and spend long weekends never getting out of your pajamas because Netflix doesn’t care if you look fancy or not. Unless you’re a relationship junkie or terribly insecure about bearing a “single” status, it can be a glorious time.
As evidenced by the myriad photos of people in various stages of couplehood on social media, sightings of handholding and other displays of public affection and the occasional over-stuffed envelope containing a request for your presence at so-and-so’s upcoming nuptials, being single is generally an acute condition that clears up on its own. But sometimes, it becomes chronic.
There comes a tipping point where you’re in your favorite jams on a Saturday night, scrolling around for anything on Netflix you haven’t seen yet, and enjoying another healthy meal along the lines of Doritos and Chardonnay, when it suddenly hits you, “Hey! This thing isn’t going away.” Like the innocent cough in a LifeTime movie of the week that becomes a life-threatening illness by the next commercial break (don’t worry, love and a handsome and mysterious stranger will conquer all), you realize that your innocuous little lifestyle has become your life.
That’s where I find myself. And frankly, this has been my life for quite some time. I was divorced in 2010 and aside from some scattered dating and shenanigans, I’ve been hardcore single for nine years.
Now, there’s no reason for me to be single. I’m not physically repellant, I’m devilishly charming with a sharp wit and sparkling personality. I’m not carrying a bunch of baggage from my divorce. Oh, maybe an overnight bag or a make-up case, but nothing unmanageable. The fact that I’m a registered introvert and 95% of my friends are straight does put a serious dent in my opportunities to meet other women of my ilk. But it seems to me that many relationships happen by chance and not by design. So I’m just as likely to meet someone over a shared squeezing of tomatoes in the produce aisle as in a crowded lesbian bar. I just haven’t.
The most likely reason is that I’m not looking. I am throwing zero vibe. Absolutely no signals that I’m on the market or looking to meet anyone. And why is that? Mainly because I have no interest (at this time) in meeting anyone. You might think that after nearly a decade I’d be jonesing for some companionship, someone to share my deepest thoughts and dreams with. But, no.
The more I think about the whole dating/relationship scene, the more of a hassle it seems. Dating is work. It’s like looking for a job. You have to get dressed up … all pajama dates aren’t a thing that I’m aware of. You have to put your best foot forward, make conversation with a stranger, listen to their stories, retell all of your old stories, be available, talk on the phone, reply to texts in minutes rather than hours — it makes me tired just thinking about it.
And it may sound like I’m justifying my status, the way people say that they really like kale if it’s prepared right, or that they thought about the Tesla but the MiniVan just made more sense. You can tell they’re trying to convince themselves as much as they’re trying to convince you. So, I’m not saying I wake up every morning and with a big, “Yeah! Still single!” fist pump. In fact, I don’t even think about being single until I ponder the possibility of its opposite, and then I’m happy that I’m single.
Let me give you an example. A number of months ago, the actress, Charlize Theron, was publically lamenting the fact that no one ever asks her out. So I, along with thousands of other men and lesbians, immediately took to the Twitter to ask Ms. Theron out on a proper date. I immediately regretted my decision.
I began to think, “What if she does some crazy publicity stunt deal and actually decides to take someone up on their offer? What if she draws names from a hat? What if she picks my name?” Unlikely, I realize, but I imagined the awkward conversation …
CT: Hi! Baroness Buttercup? This is Charlize Theron.
Me: Oh, hi.
CT: I was calling about your Tweet asking me out for a long walk on the beach and some good conversation.
Me: Yeah. Well, about that. See, the thing is, I didn’t actually think you’d call …
CT: So, what are you saying?
Me: Technically, I’m not really available.
CT: You’re married?
Me: No. I just don’t want to put on pants …
Luckily for me, and for Charlize’s ego, that call never came. Because I would have hated for her to have to explain to the world that not only was no one asking her out, but that she had just been shot down by some middle-aged lesbian who couldn’t be bothered to wipe the Dorito cheese off her fingers in order to spend some time with South Africa’s best-known export.