Thursday, January 24, 2013

"You know what my Aunt Agnes says about men. 'Man is like the drifting snow. It comes down in small flurries and piles up against the door, and before long you can't get out of the house.'"*

   Why are people so concerned that I’m single? Do they think I’m sad and lonely? Are they embarrassed for me? Maybe they think I’m so awesome that it’s unbelievable that I should be going along in life without a man. That’s probably it. It is shocking that I’m not already married to a rich, handsome secret agent (or just engaged to and pregnant by a rich, handsome secret agent: that’s more in vogue right now). But on the other hand, who’s good enough for me? Right? Right? (Don't answer that.)

   For the record, I don’t mind being single. I don’t mind it at all. In fact I don’t mind it so much that the idea of being in a relationship terrifies and even sometimes horrifies me. Every time I’m in one, I start plotting ways to escape. I’m guessing, and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, that if I were to meet someone who I actually WANTED to be in a relationship with, I wouldn’t immediately start making excuses to not hang out with him. Excuses like, “I have rabies/lice/gonorrhea/diarrhea,” or  “There’s a good chance my cousin might die, so I can’t see you for a few weeks while I go stay with her in the insane asylum.” I’m all, “Hey, look over there!” while I climb out the window onto the ladder I placed there before dinner. I’m just guessing this means I’m not totally sold on anybody just yet/maybe ever. I’m just guessing.

   I was out to drinks a couple weeks ago with one of my best friends. Her sister and her sister’s boyfriend were with us. The boyfriend was very eager to find my BFF a man. He suggested that they (he, his girlfriend, and my BFF) start going out every week and that he would help her get a boyfriend of her own. My BFF, sweetheart and open-minded person that she is said that sounded fine. She was very elegant about it.

   Inside my brain I was thinking, “Is that how this works?!? We're saying: Let’s not let this perfectly functioning, beautiful single woman waste away in singledom with only friends and the occasional hot date: let’s get her a man! NOW! Or she will DIE!!! Really??”

   It was nice that my BFF’s sister’s boyfriend (confused yet?) wanted to find my BFF a life partner/one-night-stand, but I also thought it was weird. I think, at least to a degree, it’s because he didn’t feel super comfortable about being out to drinks as a couple without another couple. It probably would’ve been more awkward if I hadn’t been there taking up the space where the other man should’ve been sitting. Or maybe that just made my BFF's singleness more obvious. Hmmm...

   My theory is that couples don’t like hanging out with single people. It makes them feel like they can’t be affectionate or talk about plans for the future or discuss all the boring crap they do together like watching their programs or walking their dogs or making quinoa and lentils to eat in front of a roaring computer or picking insects out of each others' hair. So that’s why they want the rest of us to get matched up, already. Because then us single folks will be fucking boring, too. Boring-ness for everyone!

   I’m kidding. To an extent.

   I have great friends that are “couple friends.” Tom and Jess. Richie and Jerome. And they don’t seem to feel weird about me going out to dinner with them without an escort.

   And to be honest, if I really wanted a man I could find one. When you’re female, it’s relatively easy. It’s kind of like shooting fish in a barrel.** The problem is finding one that’s worth the trouble. See, other people are, in general, really annoying. And the older you get the harder it is to overlook certain shortcomings. What was attractive when I was 22 or 25 or even 27 is no longer attractive (e.g. unemployment, disgusting apartments, roommates, bad hygiene, etc.). And I just get pickier and pickier with time.

   I’ve been watching a lot of reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show lately (who's boring now, bitches?) and Sally, played by the wonderful Rose Marie, gives me pause in nearly every episode. Now I’m pretty sure she’s supposed to be in her early 30’s on the show. She was, in fact, nearly 40 when the show began. And her character’s whole shtick is talking about how she’s not married and how she wants to be married and how she’ll go out with anyone, anytime, anywhere, just please let her get married. But here I’m looking at this woman who has an amazing job as a comedy writer on a hit sketch show, an apartment in Manhattan, a great group of friends, and a new man every week. I’m sorry, but Sally is living my dream. Is that sad? I mean, if she wants a diamond ring, she can buy one. If she wants a kid, she can rent one (adopt one?). If she wants to watch something on TV, she doesn’t have to ask anyone else’s opinion on the matter. If the kitchen’s a mess, it’s a mess she made so she can’t be too mad about it. She has the perfect life.
Sally Rogers at work on The Dick Van Dyke Show. (Photo Source)

   Oh sure, love is important, it is. I just feel like what most people are aiming for is “good enough.” I want way better than good enough, and I’m not really into the idea of settling. Most of my couple friends are in amazing relationships and can't seem to remember what it felt like to date the wrong person. And the wrong person is EVERYWHERE. Being single is preferable to the wrong person, can we agree?

   Once again I’m comparing myself in my head to my heroine, Mary Richards. She didn't want the wrong person. And yes, I’m probably more like Rhoda…but Rhoda got married, so...? 

*Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show (Carl Reiner, 1961-1965).

**The expression “shooting fish in a barrel” had me confused for a long time. It has always seemed to me that shooting a fish would be rather hard, even within the small confines of a barrel.  Sort of like trying to dig eggshell out of an egg white. But the Interweb has informed me that it comes from the idea that even if you don’t hit a fish, the shock waves created by the bullet will probably kill at least one fish.