The other day, a female friend of mine sat down next to me and whined, “Why am I single?”
“Palpable desperation?” I asked, but I was only partly kidding.
The fact is, I don’t know why some of my single friends are single, nor do I know why some of my attached friends are attached. I’d like to say that I don’t know why either one matters, but that would be a big fat lie. Of course I know why it matters. It’s all that’s supposed to matter. But if we were doing things the way we were supposed to do them, I’d be married with kids, a mortgage, and a minivan by now.
And I’m not, because sometimes the way things are supposed to be sucks.
To tell the absolute truth, most of the time, I’m happy that I’m not single. It’s not because I think being single is for losers, or because I think I’m better just because I happened to meet someone who is willing to put up with my shit for at least 20 hours a week. But like I said, I’m telling the truth here, and the truth is that being single must be a huge pain in the ass sometimes.
(Although I never cared when I was actually single. Probably because I was drunk a lot.)
It’s bad enough that I constantly get asked about being married and having kids, but with me having a boyfriend, people generally assume that’s where I’m heading (they wrongly assume, but that’s besides the point). Eventually, the questions stop. For my single friends, those questions must be one endless parade of cruelty-disguised-as-concern. They never let up. Christ, they sometimes answer themselves. “Well, I’d ask when you plan on getting married, but you’re almost 30 and you don’t even have a boyfriend Did you know that your chances at fertility go down when you reach 30? Of course. You’re a smart girl. Maybe that’s why you don’t have a boyfriend. You’re too smart.”
There’s an old Jewish aunt in just about everyone.
I don’t know why some of them are single because they’re pretty amazing people. The old Jewish aunt is right, they are smart. They’re funny. They’re capable. They’re even pretty. I genuinely enjoy my time with them and am baffled as to why they have so many awful dates with awful people. I’m more baffled at why they won’t consider themselves complete until they have boyfriends, because they’re already stellar human beings as it is and it sucks that we’re conditioned to need relationships.
But then, I also know why a lot of my other single friends are single, and yes, I’m talking about the ones who don’t particularly want to be that way.
And like I said before, I don’t know why some of my attached friends are attached. They’re my friends and I love them for valid reasons, but they’re also insecure, bratty, spoiled, needy, and sometimes, regrettably, it seems, emotionally retarded. They have no business being in relationships at all, which is why most of their relationships are so unsatisfying. This never stops them from picking up new ones right away, though. They are like relationship decathletes. Always on the move, something to do, go go go, and this is what makes single women hate themselves to sleep.
I also know women who are attached to the right people for the right reasons, and this is what makes me think relationships aren’t always bullshit.
What I do know is that there is always someone out there. I don’t mean like there’s always someone out there to be your soulmate, or that the person of your dreams was made with spaces for all your pointy edges and soft parts already built in and he’s out there, he is, just looking for you to come along. That’s crap in a lot of ways. But there is always someone out there to be with, even if you have to lower your standards to “just for a little while.”
And eventually, you’ll find what you’re looking for, either by way of hard work and virtue or just learning to accept what you happen to get.
You can’t ask why you’re still single. Or lament why you’re attached. You just are. As the Tralfamadorians say, “That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anyone?….Here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”