Is there anything sexier than being a wildly single 20-something in a big city?
It feels like the time in your life specifically designed to be gloriously available, to wear things that sparkle and show slivers of skin, to wear heels a little too high and lipstick a little too bright. Young enough to shamelessly flaunt the baubles of youth on one hand and old enough to hold a few pearls of wisdom in the other – to fall deeply in love with the wrong people and flitter around with the idea that somewhere there might just be a right one…maybe.
I’m there, at the peak of the sequin-coated glory of Singlesville, walking the fine lines between hopeful naiveté and experience, reckless love affairs and carefully orchestrated courting. It is exciting, emotional and very, very, sexy. But, like any place, Singlesville has its ups and downs.
Last night on Colfax, I saw all types of singletons, not-exactly-single singletons, and probably a few soon to be accidental parents. Oy, Amour. It comes in all shapes, sizes, and flavors of lip gloss. You can see flashes of it under spike heels and ballet flats. From fishnet tights to blue jeans, from Pabst Blue Ribbon to Pernod-Ricard Perrier-Jouet, there is something for everyone.
Instinctively, I felt the call of the wild. I was torn between overpriced swanky martinis at The Cruise Room and the desire to drink pints of cheap beer and hone my shuffle board skills at one of the local dive bars. I was undeniably drawn to “the scene,” feeling a pull to surround myself in the hungry pack of other singles and feed off of attention, music and Gin.
Logically, I couldn’t reconcile my desires. I counted the non-consecutive hours of sleep I’d managed on Friday night. I counted the hours I had to sleep before my Sunday morning shift. I was wearing sweats and flip-flops. I was carrying a takeout bag of chinese food. I was not going out on Saturday night. I was asleep by nine.
That’s the down part of living in Singletonsville. Nights when you feel like you should go out and you just don’t want to. Nights when you’re sharing your blanket and bites of lo mein with the dog. Nights when you wished someone was there to stay in with you.
Those nights, mixed with the lack of emotional, financial and physical support from a romantic partner, and feelings like loneliness, rejection and fear of dying alone are ingredients in one of the most difficult concotions residents of Singlesville have to choke down.
For both Singles and Marrieds, it is easy to fall into the mindset of the grass always being greener, to suffocate in self-doubt. Should I have given him a second chance? Did I settle too early? Did we give up too easily? Have I wasted my best years? Would anyone else love me? Do they love me enough? Was getting pregnant right now really the best idea? Am I going to have any eggs left by the time I want to have a baby? Am I happy? Was I ever happy? AHHHH HAPPY!?
There is always something to covet about the lifestyle of The Other, which might be why single people will usually hang out with other unstable single people and married people do boring couple activities like playing bridge and hosting brunch with other married people. Some of my married friends have admitted to feeling pangs of jealousy when I fly to Puerto Rico for a weekend or spend a month traveling around Japan and Thailand or drop hundreds of dollars on salon services without having to explain myself. My friends with babies balk at my ability to sleep in past 11 a.m. and soak in the bath tub for an hour with a book and a glass of wine.
Yeah, all of that stuff is awesome, but I remind them that part of being single also entails eating cereal out of the box for dinner because you don’t feel like cooking and your milk went sour over a week ago. Part of being single is being alone, talking to your cat, nursing your own head cold, taking out your own garbage and dealing with the awesome kind of deeply personal rejection that makes you feel like there is no hope for you to ever find a stable and loving relationship.
Whether you are on the single or married side of the fence, or walking that line of varying degrees of committed relationships, there will be times when the grass is greener on the other side. Perspective is remembering that no matter what side you’re on, it is still grass.
But for the record, going to an Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand is super awesome grass….