I was telling my friend a story on the phone when she stopped me mid-sentence.
"Wait, who is that again? I can never keep up with all your guys.”
This obviously made me laugh out loud. Not only am I not cool enough to juggle multiple men at once, but I am also very, very, VERY single.
On further thought, her comment started making more sense. When you’re in a relationship, you have one boyfriend, and he plays the dominant role of “man in my life, whom I love.” When you're single, you don’t just have one man in your life. You have several.
Off the top of our heads, my coworkers and I were able to come up with 29 men that single women constantly have in their lives. Sure, there’s some overlap here and there (your best friend can also be the one you have a marriage pact with, or your lingering ex might also be the one you idealize etc.), but the fact of the matter remains: No single girl is ever really and truly single.
1. The lingering ex
You guys have been broken up for almost five years now, but that doesn’t stop him from popping back into your life at the LEAST opportune moments to make sure you never fully move on or, you know, find happiness ever again.
2. The f*ck buddy
No strings attached. You have no feelings for this guy.
3. The dating app soulmate
You both swipe right, and you really think he might be "the one" -- that is, until four lines down, when he kindly asks you to sit on his face.
4. The one who likes all of your Instagram posts
Sure, you and HawksFan222 haven’t seen or really heard from each other outside of that one night of heavy flirting in Chicago two years ago, but you have grown accustomed to his consistent social media support that somehow still gives you butterflies.
5. The ex you idealize
He wasn’t that great. And somewhere deep down inside, you know that. But that doesn’t stop you from obsessively dwelling on all of the things he did right, until you build him up to be the best thing that ever happened to you.
6. The bouncer who makes you feel like a trillion bucks
Even if you enter the club with what feels like an invisibility cloak, nothing will shake the confidence boost you get when Country greets you with a hug at the door and lets your friends cut the line.
7. The one with the if-we're-single-by-3o pact
Nothing like a nice, formal confirmation that you're each other's Plan B.
8. The long-distance crush you project your fantasies on
Of course it won't actually work out with you and "Sean from St. Louis," but WHAT IF you guys lived in the same city? Would that change everything?!
9. The gay husband
Well, he’s not interested in women, so there’s that minor setback. But for all intents and purposes, this man is your significant other.
10. The one who thought you were in a relationship after one date
Sorry, Lucas. ONE mediocre date does not merit your jealous fit when you see me with another guy.
11. The semi-consistent hookup that’s been going on for awkwardly too long
You know that guy you've been "casually" meeting up with at the end of the night for almost seven months now? Yeah, him.
12. The guy who ghosted you but decides to pop in from time to time
Oh, Justin. So SWEET of you to grace me with a “Hey, what’s up?” after three months of absolute silence!
13. The douche who makes you feel like sh*t everytime you go back
Unfortunately, this sh*tty feeling does not quite keep you from the whole “going back” part of the process.
14. The friend you know is in love with you
You KNOW it's wrong to lead him on. But is it so wrong to appreciate the attention every once in a while?!
15. The barista who occasionally gives you free lattes
This obviously means that he loves you...right?!
16. The one who takes you out every once in a while
As if you’re some old matronly spinster who needs someone's charity for a night on the town.
17. The personal trainer/spin instructor you can’t afford but continue to spend money on because you low-key love him
$400 a month is NOTHING to watch Sergio’s perfectly sculpted body flex as he screams words of encouragement at your weak, frail one.
18. The ex who’s still a fresh wound
This guy may be dead to you, but he still hasn’t quite made it to the grave. And by that, I mean you guys are still f*cking.
19. The one you have off-the-charts texting chemistry with
If you guys actually hung out in real life, it would almost be like you two lovebirds were in a -- get this -- RELATIONSHIP. But then you remember you don’t, and you’re not. So there's that.
20. The one you always have on the back burner
You turn to each other for attention when things aren't working with the people around you.
21. The first love you find yourself drunk texting every now and then
Sure, he has a serious girlfriend now, and sure, it’s been about 10 years since you shared your first kiss together. But that doesn’t stop you from texting him “Hi <3” at three in the morning.
22. The therapist/doctor/dentist you’re inappropriately in love with
Suddenly, discussions about flossing become hot and sexy dirty talk.
23. The unidentified male (?) who texts you from time to time
“Hey this is Jeremy from McTeague’s… what’s up?!”
“Who the F are you?”
24. The family friend you’ve had a longtime crush on
The fact that he saw you pick your nose and eat the boogers and then get those boogers stuck to your “clear” braces isn’t a TOTAL deal breaker, is it!?
25. The friend of your ex’s who you’ve always been sort of into
It makes sense, right? You were into your ex for a reason and, odds are, his friends have a lot in common with him. The only difference is you didn’t break up with his friend. His friend didn’t cheat on you, and you never had to meet his friend’s crazy mother. So, basically, his friend is just left as an idealized version of him.
26. The one you take as your plus-one to every event
He has proved his ability to not be a total awkward freak around your friends, and he's even made a case for his chops on the dance floor. When all else fails and you need a date to your sister’s wedding, you know this guy will come, and, better yet, he won’t read too much into the invite.
27. The one who’s your go-to wingman
This guy is your go-to for the male perspective on EVERYTHING. He also often acts as #30 (your straight male best friend). Not sure what that text from last night’s booty call meant? Shoot it over to your wingman, and he’ll give you the best play.
28. The one you unleash your crazy on
It could be anyone: a bonafide ex, a close friend or even maybe a guy you used to hook up with forever. The bottom line is that this guy has already seen you at your worst.
From time to time, you find yourself drunkenly crying in hysterics to him on the phone for three hours. But it's kind of ideal, since you literally give ZERO f*cks about what he thinks of you.
29. The out-of-town hookup
You guys don’t text regularly or even really know very much about each other at all, but it is understood that anytime you're in DC or he's in New York, you will be porking.
30. The straight (male) best friend
You guys are a different kind of “friends with benefits.” While you turn to other people for the sexy stuff, you look to each other for the snuggles and the hour-long phone calls.