29 December 2006

Thoughts on the Single Life, Part 1

A good man is hard to find. I think I can safely say that I know the truth of that as well as anyone.

Whether looking at my adolescence, my high school years, college years, & even most of those years beyond, I was as free & single as they come. I hardly regret not being the object of a 14 year old boy’s desire, but as the years passed, I increasingly felt like a bit of a pariah. Through high school & college, I saw friends giddily pairing off, holding hands, sharing innocent kisses, having someone celebrate with on national holidays. On my worst days, I wondered what was wrong with me. On my best, I celebrated the fact that my time, money, and video rentals were mine to control.

I did my best where my attitude was concerned as these friends began to get married & start families. I don’t mind admitting I was jealous; it got tiresome bringing gifts to bridal showers, weddings, & baby showers when for the foreseeable future, there would be no such celebrations thrown on my behalf.

During these years, it’s not as if I went completely unnoticed. I’ve had enough first dates in the last five to six years to make me a veritable expert on the subject, having accepted offers from almost any natural born male who was walking upright, breathing, had a clean police record, & good hygiene. This is not because I had no standards, but because I had believed (or inanely hoped) that being open to someone who did not necessarily fit my running list of requirements would increase the possibility that I might find what every person ultimately wants: love. I accepted offers to be set up on blind dates when I should have known better, I accepted dates from guys I knew deep in my gut were wrong for me, all in the name of being “open”.

I did my own fair share of making the first move also. I would never have gone to a high school dance had I not done the asking. I initiated the “DTR” (define the relationship) conversation with a friend in college who I was certain wanted more, only to be told I was mistaken. I have taken the first bold step, only to be “let down easy” more times in my adult life than I care to admit.

When you’re this single and keep meeting dead end after dead end, it is all but impossible to keep from being discouraged about it. It’s helpful if you have someone you can commiserate with over a latte, a martini, or a big pan of brownies, but the friends I relied on for such sessions were becoming increasingly scarce. Friends & family would make their best efforts at providing encouragement, which (sadly) often resulted in being subject to hearing the same clichés repeated ad infinitum:

  • “There’s someone out there for you.”

  • “It will happen when you least expect it.”

  • “There are good guys out there.”

  • “You’re just being too picky.”

  • “You’re too intimidating.”
It was as if being one half of a couple gave everyone I knew amnesia when it came to their previously single lives, about which they too had once complained. “Out there” was relied upon a tad too heavily for my taste. Give me something a little less nebulous than “someday”, I’d ask. When I’m 36? 53? In the nursing home? And I knew the good guys were “out there”, because I had friends who were marrying them.
***As a side note, I got some wonderful single-girl comebacks from a handy little book,
Even God is Single, So Stop Giving Me a Hard Time. Quite witty, if I don’t say so myself. :o)

I was not so naïve as to think that being part of a couple resulted in unmitigated bliss. This reality became most apparent when I saw young couples my age going through their respective divorces. It was sobering to see how a relationship that started so beautifully and with such hope could disintegrate, even when they were so certain of having done everything right. I would not wish that pain on anyone.

As the years passed & the wisdom of others blended with my own prayers and experiences, I grew more confident in my worth as God’s child. I acquired contentment. I was certain I still wanted to get married & perhaps begin a family one day, but I felt increasingly blessed with the gift of being happy as I was, exactly where God wanted me to be. At 28, I knew my days of being able to meet someone weren’t over, but I was certain I’d be perfectly well if that never happened.

I knew that the next guy that came along would have to try & convince this single girl that she didn’t want to be single anymore.

To be continued …


  1. I hate "installment posts" because they always leave off in the most riveting portion of the story. Hurry and post part two.

  2. I hate installment posts too. But I hate LOOOOONG posts even more. It’s coming, I’m working on it, I promise!!