Why 'I'm Single' Shouldn't Always Have To Mean 'I'm Dating'

by Sheena Sharma
MEM Studio

I go home for the holidays every year.

And every year, I'm thrown into the same dry conversation around the dinner table with my family: "Sheena, when will you bring a guy home to meet us? Are there no more eligible men left in New York?"

And I fire back with, "No, Mom. Jesus." I'm just single and not looking.

*Gasp* Oh, I'm sorry, Mom. Did I offend you because I declared my momentary disinterest in a long-term, monogamous relationship? My bad.

On the real: What if I don't want to date anyone right now? What if someone I once loved broke my heart, so I'm a little afraid?

What if I can never choose a dude because, to me, dating is like being a kid in a candy store with all of her favorite candies? What if I just turned 26, but am still oozing with a college-like fervor for weekend flings with hot guys?

Has it ever occurred to you that I'm single because I'm not looking to date?

Society loves to automatically assume that "single" really means "single and looking." "Single and looking," though, implies you want to change your status of single, as if single is a status in need of changing.

But what if some of us aren't interested in changing our single status because we're having too much fun being single?

Society loves to automatically assume that 'single' really means 'single and looking.'

I treat myself to a date every now and then. Usually, it'll be when I've gotten too in my head and have forgotten what a man looks like, or what sexual tension feels like.

But when I'm not going on a date, I'm doing equally as cool (or cooler, if you ask me) shit, like hiking mountains in northern Switzerland:

Look at that. Seriously, look at that. I made my way up there! All by myself! And yet, the first question people always ask me is "So, are you seeing anyone?"

WHY can't "I'm single and doing cool shit" be an acceptable answer at the dinner table?

WHY can't 'I'm single and doing cool shit' be an acceptable answer at the dinner table?

I want to clarify (just to drive the point home) that it's totally cool to be single and looking. Power to you guys who are. You know what you want, and you go after it like a shark. You guys get to feel normal.

Those of us who aren't looking for someone because we're fresh out of relationships are told we have commitment issues. But in reality, we just love ourselves too damn much to make room for anyone else in our lives.

We're weird for being OK with being single. And I find it weird that we're made to feel weird.

I'm on a journey to redefine what it means to be single.

As it stands, "single" means "available," but it should also be allowed to mean, "I'm working on myself," "I'm not interested in commitment right now," "I'm not seeing anyone seriously, but sometimes I casually hang with one of the million guys in my phonebook" or "Don't ask me why I'm single, just deal with it." (I threw the last one in for good measure.)

To all single women who are fine with being single: I don't want you to feel like you're the anomaly. Because eventually, you'll probably reach a point in your life where you turn around and everywhere you look, most women will be engaged, trying to get engaged or sad they aren't engaged.

And then, there'll be us, the women who actually enjoy being single and wreaking havoc. We'll have to band together as havoc-wreakers and remind the world that it's totally OK to be "single but not looking." We'll have to remind the world that we're too selfish about our dreams and having care-free one-night stands to care about what anyone else thinks.

Remind the world that we're capable of going to baby showers without being bitter or jealous. Quite frankly, we're genuinely happy for our friends because what they want is worlds different from what we want, and we don't mind that.

We'll have to remind the world that, "single and not looking" isn't only OK... it's fun.