I went to my high school prom without a date. There was no one picking me up in a limo, greeting me with a corsage, or standing behind me with his hand on my hip as we posed for quintessential awkward prom photos.
Despite the fact that I had fun, I felt like I was missing a fundamental piece of the prom experience, especially since I was one of five dateless people and that’s probably an overestimate.
Fast forward to present day. I’ve been married for almost 5 years and thankfully I have a solid Plus One. Don’t get me wrong, though. I’d be lying if I so much as hinted that every minute has been wedded bliss. There are moments I miss the freedom of being single, the thrill of the hunt, and a clean toilet. And of course there are moments best described with legal terms like “temporary insanity” because seriously, who puts their dirty socks on the coffee table?! But despite the fact that my husband is The Worst Roommate – not just the worst roommate I’ve ever had but the worst roommate that anyone anywhere has ever had – there is no amount of money you could pay me to go back to dealing with any of the following:
I always took the bait. Always. I don’t think there was a blind date I declined. Why would I? You’re my friend. We like each other. We know each other. And hope springs eternal! If you want to set me up with your husband’s brother’s coworker, I’m going for it because you know (or should have a vague idea) what I’m looking for in a potential partner. Yet somehow, I ended up on too many dates where you failed to consider your husband’s brother’s coworker’s career ambition, political views, and personal hygiene when playing matchmaker.
I’m sure you meant well and genuinely wanted me to be happy, but when it comes to romantic compatibility, timing IS NOT everything. Just because two people happen to be simultaneously single does not mean they’d be great for each other.
Thankfully, I will never again have to sit through two hours and 17 minutes of awkward conversation with a guy who smells like corn chips and hasn’t had a job in 6 months. And you and I can still be friends!
Whether it was a fictional Hallmark holiday like Valentine’s Day or a legitimate holiday like Thanksgiving, being single sucked. Holidays, also known as interrogatory encounters with alleged loved ones, always included questions like –
- Is there anyone special in your life?…
- How old are you now? Don’t spend too much time focusing on your career. Your eggs are dying as we speak….
- Are you a lesbian?
- Whatever happened to [insert name of the ex with whom I had the most heart wrenching breakup and cue flashbacks to the moment he dumped me]? I really liked that guy!
… yeah, me too… thanks for reminding me…
And Valentine’s Day was especially tricky when I was single because it seems like everyone else was canoodling with their significant other at some five star restaurant while I was home alone watching unrealistic romantic comedies and drowning my sorrows in a large pepperoni pizza. I’d start thinking, “I’m going to be single for the rest of my life… I could literally choke on this pepperoni and no one will be here to save me… my landlord will find my body in a few weeks when the neighbors start complaining about the smell.
Just a heads up, no one has fun on Valentine’s Day. Now that I’m married, I think I like Valentine’s Day even LESS than when I was single. The few times my husband and I actually attempted to go out, we were thoroughly annoyed and underwhelmed because the restaurants are overcrowded and the food was sub par.
Amazing how choking on pepperoni in the comfort of my own home could actually become the more appealing option.
The “plus one” anxiety attack
Anyone who’s in their mid-20’s (or lived to tell about it) knows how it feels when all of your friends start pairing off and getting into serious relationships. Engagement parties, bridal showers, and weddings were tough enough because I felt like everyone was enjoying something that I just couldn’t seem to find. But the strife actually started the minute I received the invitation. It was depressing enough if it was addressed to JUST ME, thus capturing my singleness indelibly in calligraphy and reminding me, You’re alone and not even expensive carefully crafted professional penmanship can make it look desirable! But I think it was actually worse if the hosts were kind enough to give me some flexibility and address the invitation to “Me and Guest” because then I’d be flooded with a shitstorm of emotions:
Will I even be dating someone by the time this wedding rolls around? If I am, will it be too soon in the relationship to invite him? But how can I not invite him? If I don’t invite him, will he be understanding about it? But I really don’t want to go to this thing alone. I’ll be the only single person there and it’s not like I’m going to meet anyone. I’m anti-social. Maybe I should just skip the wedding and send a gift? There’s not enough time to lock in a boyfriend! I’ll just stick the invitation on my fridge, down a pint of ice cream and watch the last three episodes of Homeland on my DVR.
Problem successfully avoided. Commence eating of feelings and laser line diarrhea. How many times can I forget that I’m lactose intolerant?!
I remember going out when I was single. There seemed to be an endless selection of happy hours, clubs, and various cocktail infused events at which I was convinced I’d meet THE ONE and that possibility was enough to motivate me to don uncomfortable shoes, a top featuring so much cleavage even my closest friends didn’t know my eye color, and drag queen level warpaint. I was not deterred by long lines wrapped around the corner or aloof bouncers who would make my friends and me wait for 30 minutes in the freezing cold before finally opening the doors and letting us into the crowded bar where there was nowhere to sit unless we purchased bottle service. We’d spend the entire night on our feet in our uncomfortable shoes parading around like predatory peacocks. Occasionally one of us would meet SOME ONE (never THE ONE) and we’d disappear for the night, but most of the time it was just full on Last Call Carnage. We’d stumble out of the venue barefoot and melodramatic from too many Jager shots, depend on the least drunk member of the group to get us home in one piece, and wake up just in time for the tail end of a bottomless mimosa brunch where we’d reconstruct the previous evening from the fragments would could remember, complain about our hangovers, and swear we’d never drink that much EVER again even though history repeated itself every single weekend.
Now, none of that sounds appealing. At. All. From the uncomfortable shoes to finding scaffolding to hold my tits in place to the hangover, which by the way, now lasts at least two days. No thanks. And the real revelation was that the whole reason I would go out in the first place was to stay in! When you’re in a relationship, curling up on the couch together to watch a movie and eat takeout is not only socially acceptable, it’s flat out romantic; same scenario sans spouse is just pathetic. Let’s just say my favorite activities recently are very romantic.
It’s been a while since friends have played matchmaker and have shifted their focus to convincing me that my husband and I should have kids because being a parent is “the greatest thing ever” even though they complain about how little sleep and free time they have since baby #1 of 3 was born, but ok. Holidays are now futile attempts to bend the space time continuum in order to spend quality time with both my family and my husband’s family. Invitations are hung on the refrigerator and the only consideration is whether or not we’ll be able to attend. Going out involves putting on clothes nice enough not to embarrass ourselves and cutting ourselves off before a wine-induced migraine becomes a foreboding consequence.
My, oh my, how things have changed!