Tell most people that you’re single and they’ll get a, “poor thing” look on their face immediately. Society puts value in the power of two. Two is better than one. Find your other half. Table for two. We are programmed to fill the space next to us with that special someone from the time we start playing at the jungle gym. In the past I was just as guilty of this as the next girl. I’ve been a self-proclaimed serial monogamist since my 20s, which left me being single for the last time back in my high-school days! Sure, I’ve had pockets of alone-ness but always fraught with twitchiness and melancholia for something I was sure I was missing out on. Now I’m single again at 37, which can strike fear even in the most heroic of hearts. Never married. No children. To some my life would seem bleak and doomed, but I have found being single this time around electrifying. Here’s my 5 things I’m smitten with about being a lone wolf:
Being Alone and Not Lonely
I’m an only child and spent countless hours playing alone and imagining a sister to share secrets with. I won’t lie- I was lonely. My parents worked a ton and I had more time on my hands than I knew what to do with. This translated into my adulthood with the fear of being left alone by a man. In short, I had abandonment issues big time. I can honestly say that I stayed in relationships longer than I wanted to just to have a plus one for so-and-so’s wedding reception. NOT a good enough rationale to stay when you should go. This time around, I’ve learned to do the solo thing comfortably, and being alone really has it’s perks. I don’t have to negotiate on my movie choice, and no one is going to tell you how much butter to put on your popcorn. I’ve gotten a reserved stool at the bar of my local haunt, DiWine. Everyone who works there knows my name, so it’s like my own personal Cheers. I’ve taken train trips to the Hudson Valley solo and enjoy creating my own private dance club in my living room. Being alone doesn’t mean lonely and I’m loving it.
Part of my fear after my last breakup was, “how the hell am I going to meet someone?!?”. I own my own business and don’t want to date one of our clients so meeting someone at work is out of the question. Unlike in my 20s, I don’t spend time trolling the local bars or clubs, which always seemed like a shit-show anyway. So how does a successful, attractive, NORMAL girl like me find someone to pay for a dinner and take her out on the town once and awhile???? Enter the world of online dating. Admittedly, when I first thought of doing the online dating thing I threw up a little in my mouth. Yuck. Online dating is for creepy sex offenders and the socially awkward recluse right? Wrong. Like everything else in our world, technology is king and the dating scene is no exception. Developers and companies are taking full advantage of the market and now a days there are TONS of options to meet a Mr. Maybe right from the comfort of your couch. One of my dear friends saw me lamenting about my last heartbreak and promptly grabbed my phone to download the hip and trendy dating app Tinder. Tinder is dating simplified. Linking with your Facebook profile, it automatically adds pictures and your interests to your profile. There’s not a laundry list of questions about dogs, cats, and favorite colors, just a space to write what you want the “Tinder-sphere” to know. Swipe left if you’re not into him, right if you want to know more. If you have friends in common via Facebook, Tinder will tell you. If you both give a thumbs up you’re allowed to text through the app. It’s immediate like regular texting and not confusing like some other dating sites that have options to “wink”, “favorite”, or “email” someone. After a short text exchange you can pretty much tell if a guy is worth giving your number to, and possibly meeting for a beverage of your choice. Afraid of penis pictures and hook-up trolling slime balls? I proceeded with caution at first. While there are definitely questionable guys on there, I’ve met a handful worth more than one date. Bottom line- it’s like a dating video game where you’re in charge. I’ll tell you it’s super empowering to to say “nope” over and over again to those who will never know. Much easier than shutting down that dweeb at the neighborhood bar. Not just for snakes, Tinder is modern and easy to use plus in the end you’ll at least have some good stories to tell at your wedding.
Killer Party Stories
Just recently at one of my many 37th birthday celebrations, I was holding court in front of 8 women who were utterly transfixed by my dating anecdotes. Let me tell you I have a LOT of them. Most of the girls I tell that I’m surveying the online dating scene either roll their eyes from experience or wince in horror. Dating, like life, has it’s share of ups and downs, and in my opinion it’s all how you look at it. Living in NYC I relish in the things I see everyday on the street, on the train, next to me in the cafe. I fancy myself as a urban anthropologist and find the truth waaaay stranger and more interesting than fiction. So far I’ve had a great laugh at SO many of the ridiculous profile pictures I’ve found, accidentally been involved in a sexting exchange, and been stood up after doing my makeup and donning a dress and everything! Sure- I could get frustrated by the scene or I can instead choose to laugh and move on. Taking anything too seriously will be the death of you, plus now have enough material for a book. Making fun of what’s absurd will not only make you feel better but just may make you an accomplished author or at the very least the life of your next party!
I started dating to help heal a broken heart on advice from a dear friend. She soothed my fears by assuring me that the male attention would be like a antidote to my sadness and she was right. Getting a match, text, or email is like a little boost to my fragile damaged ego. Everyone wants to hear that they’re beautiful, smart, and amazing, especially if you’ve been deprived of the good stuff for as long as I had. You realize how awesome you are and what a catch you will be. It helps you be selective in your dating choices when you realize that others do think you’re so special. Suddenly you start dressing cuter, wearing makeup voluntarily, and strutting when you walk. Confidence is catchy and a little male attention can go a long way, so get out there and get yourself some!
Look, I was never the girl that would ghost her friends as soon as a new boy entered her life, but let’s state the obvious- when you have a relationship it takes up a darn lot of your time. I had girlfriends in my life, but never seemed to have the time to dedicate to growing an enduring relationship. In all honesty, I tried to make my partner be my everything. Wanna go shopping? Come on man, rally! Can’t you just let me cry it out without trying to fix it????? The truth is no man, or woman for that matter, can be someone’s everything. It’s just not humanly possible. So when I was finally footloose and fancy free the first thing I did was grab my girls and hold them tight. Spending time with my friends has resulted in some of the most fun and intense connections I’ve ever had. Just like a boyfriend, one girl doesn’t fit all. I have my BFF who lets me cry uncontrollably on her shoulder when my heart gets blown to bits. I have my spiritual sister who can turn any darkness into light. I have my no-nonsense Chica who will call me out if I’m being too wishy washy, overly emotional, or just need to get over myself. I have my lovely friend who brings me gifts every time I see her and loves to adventure to new restaurants and NYC finds. I even have the great fortune to have a married couple that I aspire to be like when I grow up. She cooks me homemade dinners and he hangs the shelves in my apartment. Being solitary has it’s benefits and some are greater than any one man can give.