The other day I realized I was single.
There I was, trawling through the supermarket when I approached the chilled dessert aisle. And that's when I saw it. "Love Tub," I read aloud. Amazing! It’s a chocolate pudding pot for one! Wait. A chocolate pudding pot for one? …A chocolate pudding pot for one. That's depressing. Maybe the most depressing sentence ever drafted by advertisers ever. I am single and the pudding pot for one is targeted to me.
I mean, I knew I was "not in a relationship," but it actually hit me, while looking at this pudding pot, that I actually feel "single."
I felt angry. How could this pudding pot do this to me?
I bought it.
I could see it: The chumps in some corporate food hive sitting around a glass boardroom table discussing which mass market they could exploit for the benefit of pudding sales. “Now who would buy a pudding pot for one? Single people!” Yeah, that must have been how that meeting went. “Let's call it 'Love Tub.' Singles will find it hilarious! Or tragic… but they’ll definitely buy it!" Ugh. They were correct.
In the real world, things that are meant to be single often don't feel like enough. They are viewed as lacking in some way. It's the same way society sees single people; society doesn't get single people. It wants to make us fat and hide us away, only to bring us out at weddings and high school reunions and then whisper about how we ate the supermarkets out of Love Tubs.
Going back home to the countryside when you are single is a hoot because everyone else you grew up with is settling down. A few weeks ago, I was having dinner with a couple of old girlfriends. "I can't wait to have babies," one of them said. (Anyone who comes from a small town knows that people procreate quicker in the country. It's science, or something.) "I know what you mean, I just want to get married now,” the other friend said. Then they both looked over at me. I tried to avoid their eye contact, nodding my head while stuffing my face with the contents of the table. Silence. "I don't think I want that right now," I finally said. "I just haven't met anyone I’ve liked so much."
I wasn't quite sure why I was suddenly being pitied — I knew it was okay. But did they? Before you write me off as a cynical Miranda-esque “Sex and the City” type, hold on just a second.
When did I stop being enough?
Being single at 14 is socially acceptable, but as soon as you hit 16, the pressure is on. Until you die!
Don’t get me wrong; love is beautiful, and damn it, I believe in it! But being in love and being in a relationship are not the same thing. Being in a relationship and being complete are not the same thing. And, being single and being lonely are not the same thing.
My cousin called me a few months back. A guy had broken her heart and she was all the sudden worried she was going to die alone.
She’s 17; I felt like slapping her.
Of course I didn't say exactly that, but I did tell her the truth: Someday, she will definitely find love and things will definitely get better. I also pointed her towards my Man-Tox: 10 Step Breakup Recovery Plan.
Being single in your adult life is a gift to yourself; it gives you the opportunity to really get to know yourself. Upon failing to embrace this opportunity, you risk losing love once you do find it because you didn’t do the prerequisite soul searching.
The definition for single goes as such:
“An individual person or thing rather than a part, a pair or a group.”
Now, are you a part? Or are you an individual? Society should stop judging single women. Women should stop judging single women.
Again, I'm not bashing love. Everybody wants it. Everybody. Even my 9-month-old Doberman wants love. But real, uncompromising, relentless, stupidly mushy, bonafide love isn't common. You can't order it off Amazon. You can't buy it in the chilled dessert aisle of the supermarket. It will always hit you when you least expect it, at the most inconvenient time. And it never waits around. You have to fight for it.
If you are single and society is making you feel crappy about it, remind yourself that you are enough. Why? Because the damn dictionary says so!
So singletons (and non-singletons), I encourage you to fall in love! And fall hard, but, in the wise words of Carrie Bradshaw, do yourself a favor and "don't forget to fall in love with yourself first."