Tired of the young, obnoxious bar scene in the majority of the downtown area, I decided to change it up a little this last weekend and spent Friday night in the company of my older, calmer friends. After an improv performance at Theatre 99, we made our way to one of the best-kept-secret wine bars in town, cracked open a couple bottles of red, and kicked back while enjoying an acoustic set in the attention whore-free atmosphere. Sipping on my second glass, I glanced at my hilarious, talented posse seated at the table, and it occurred to me that I was completely surrounded by married people.
Since college, I’ve always felt like a single girl in a world of married people. I’ve been a bridesmaid more times than I can count, presented my very pregnant girlfriends with onesies adorned with the phrase, “I tore mommy a new one” for multiple baby showers, and have sat through many dinner parties where I couldn’t help but feel that I was invited for the sheer sake of single-girl novelty.
Hey, I’ll do anything for a free meal, even let couples grill me on my bachelorette lifestyle, which really doesn’t bother me in the least. Loyal readers of this column are quite familiar with the fact that I’ll unapologetically lay it out like an open book. What does bother me is when one of the interrogators declares, “I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about that life anymore!”, then leans over and kisses his or her significant other. I politely smile and chuckle with the rest of the party as we raise our glasses, but simultaneously think, “Oh, go fuck yourself.”
The reason I’m irritated is because they act as if this “life” is something you wouldn’t even wish on your worst enemy. Like I’m just some pilot in a single-seater plane stuck in a holding pattern, waiting to get clearance from the tower to make a landing on the right runway. I used to think that the old “get married” goal in life was just a cliché, but the more I find myself spending time with nauseatingly loving couples and sad, solitary singles, the more I start to worry that maybe it’s for real.
The New York Times recently reported on 2005’s Census Bureau findings, and for the first time ever, a traditional marriage situation is not the predominant living arrangement for most U.S. households, though not by a huge margin. On paper, that says men and women are taking their time, focusing on personal and professional ambitions, and shifting their conventional ideals of matrimony and family. So why do I still feel like such an outsider? Is it because marriage is clearly not a main objective of mine? Maybe it’s selfish, but my life’s mission statement is concerned only with finding my own intimate zen, whether marriage plays a role or not. I resent the hell out of the social stigma that the choice to remain single somehow means that one is not happy or whole.
We all want to find someone who compliments us, supports us, and loves us unconditionally. But to somehow suggest that my life isn’t rich, warm, and full of love and support just because I’m a single girl pisses me off to no end. Keep in mind, I haven’t committed to anyone or anything, so at least I have one thing going for myself — endless possibility. Whether someone will be at my side for it or not remains to be seen.