And it may surprise you to know that I am happy being single. If I may, I will now proceed to explain why.
This year, I will be turning twenty five. I don’t quite understand why, but this seems to be the landmark age for women at which many of us turn back and look at our list of achievements before deciding we have done nothing and should probably think about marriage and babies within the next immediate five years. However, for me, twenty five is another year to spend being young and enjoying myself– and not necessarily with a romantic partner in tow. Many people around me have noticed this little detail and have taken it upon themselves to observe– or rather, suggest to me that it might be a good time to start thinking about a relationship for the sake of my own future.
I have always found it very interesting that people are so quick to intertwine a shadowy, mystery figure into their own future, around whom everything is expected to revolve. Surely your future, and your time in general, is first and foremost about you? At some point in our lives, we will all find ourselves on our own either by choice or not and it’s in those moments that you have to think and plan for yourself. It makes a lot more sense to me to start doing that now and to think about myself first, before I find myself alone not by choice. And if someone should so happen to come into the picture at some point, then that’s great, I get someone to share my journey with. If not, I remain on the path to my own future, following my dreams. I still win.
Some people have called me selfish when I tell them that my being single is in part to put myself first. These people are usually men. Due to the patriarchal world in which we live coming to blows with an increasingly ambitious female workforce, women often find themselves in a scenario where putting themselves first clashes with male-born ideals of what is expected of them. That’s frustrating in itself, but the real problem is that whatever we decide seems to ultimately reflect negatively on us. If we focus on ourselves, we’re selfish, cold, heartless. If we focus on what’s expected of us, we’re not forward-thinkers, we’re not ambitious, we’re not creative. Of course, some women have no problem at all juggling careers, relationships, babies and nights out but for those of us who are not so organised it often comes down to making a choice. For me, it was easiest to make the choice to be single for a time to put myself in a position where I can live comfortably. Maybe that is selfish, but I am happy as a result.
This unspoken patriarchy does mean that while there is definitely pressure for men to conform to a relationship status of some kind in order to fulfil their roles as breadwinners, the pressure is far less fierce. To give you an example, men are far more free to walk through this world as bachelors without being labelled with some kind of antisocial tag. Single men can have a quiet night in and not be called ‘lonely’. Single men can go out to a nightclub by themselves and not be called ‘loose’. Single men can have many casual sexual partners and not be called ‘slutty’ (though of course, I am not a man, so while the above is based on my observations, I’m not yet sure of the intricacies and there may be more pressure on single men than I realise. As a feminist who is very much pro-equality for all genders, if you are a single man I would be interested to hear your experiences to see if they are the same as a woman’s or very different).
Let us also not forget that while relationships are beautiful things when going well, they can be destructive and toxic when things go wrong, not just for yourself but also for your partner. I have found that making the choice to not let a relationship into your life is arguably a very rational consideration if the timing isn’t right. It’s all very well being swept off your feet by a whirlwind romance, but it does help to step back and ask yourself if a committed relationship is really going to make you both happy. Sometimes, it is easier to be alone than to be in a relationship that quickly becomes a downward spiral. I could expand on this, but I think it’s best left for another blog post.
For many people, myself included, being single simply means I am content in my own company and I enjoy having the freedom to play things by ear and do things when I want to do them. I have had many a quiet night in with a whole pizza to myself and a good film, but contrary to what media and popular culture tells us about single women I am not lonely when I do so. Why would I be lonely? I have a whole Domino’s double pepperoni pizza to keep me company. As for the movie I’m watching, it’s whatever I feel like I want to watch. If I want to watch the latest action thriller, I can. If I want to watch a tearful Oscar winner, I can. And to hell with it, if I want to watch the latest Pokemon movie to be uploaded onto Netflix, I can do that, too. And if I do start to feel lonely, well, that’s okay; I can text a friend to see if they’d like to come over and watch Pikachu wrestling Mewtwo. Or go and get a pint, whatever they fancy. In either case, I know that I will have a lovely evening even without any romance.
Many people also roll their eyes at me when I say I’m not really looking for a relationship and add, “Oh, you just haven’t found the right person yet…” or “I guess you don’t have much luck with love”. Well… yes? That much is obviously true, or I wouldn’t be single, but I’m not going to let it bother me. Other comments have focused around my appearance– that I should wear better makeup, nicer clothes, change my hair, get braces, tone up… just do some kind of major work to my general appearance and then I’ll be sure to find someone. To be frank, I will not change myself for anybody else and I very much doubt that lasting relationships are built on such superficial things, anyway (and if they are, then I’m definitely good on my own, thanks…) But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I turn down any and all wooing callers at my door or that I never ask people out, nor am I saying that I don’t sob into my pillow every time a relationship goes wrong or wonder if it all ended over something that I did wrong. Of course I do, I’m only human. If someone wants to join me on this crazy ride then that’s great. However, once the tears and bitterness subside, life goes on. When all is said and done, maybe it’s for the best that they disappeared from the frame. My Significant Other might never show up and so rather than watching life pass me by while I wait for someone who may never appear, I would rather go out into the world and just continue as I am– on my own, and having fun.
So there you have it; that’s why I’m single. The above is a brief taste of what I would like to share and discuss with you on this blog– how a really quite happy single woman in the early 21st century thinks and feels and what she does to entertain herself. I hope you will enjoy these glimpses into he world of the single lady.
And if by chance you’re looking at this blog because you’ve just come out of a relationship and want some advice, then here it is– text a friend and ask them if they want to watch Pikachu wrestling Mewtwo on Netflix.