I’m sometimes asked whether I have a wife or girlfriend. Since discussions of singleness tend to be awkward, I usually reply, “Well, I’m secretly married to a lady back in Ecuador. Her name is Anna María Rosa, and we have twelve children.”
Singleness is one of those subjects that makes everyone feel self-conscious, which is why I’ve put off discussing it. Why am I writing about it now? That’s a good question, dear reader, and it has a simple answer: Today is one of those days I can’t think of anything else to write. (You wouldn’t believe how many posts have made it onto this blog because I had no other ideas.)
I’ve always been single. Not once have I been married, engaged, or tangled up in any kind of romantic relationship.
My attitudes toward my solitary existence have changed over the years. As a kid, I was determined to be a bachelor till the Rapture: an eccentric, cheerful, bookish, tea-drinking, fez-wearing old gent. I held on to this attitude until college. Many of my college friends found romantic partners, and their affections left me feeling conflicted. As happy as I was for my friends… I couldn’t help feeling just a trifle jealous.
Since then, some of my high school and college friends have married. Some have not. A few are in romantic relationships; a few are searching for partners; a few remain staunchly single.
As for me, well, I’d like very much to be married someday. I also like being single very much. I suppose I have “the gift of singleness,” whatever the heck that means. I appreciate the independence, simplicity, and freedom of the single life. As nice as it would be to find my special someone, I’m not going to rush into a romantic relationship for the mere sake of it.
Whenever singleness is discussed, I feel sort of bad for not feeling bad. I even feel a little guilty writing this post, despite being entirely qualified (as a very single person) to write it. I know many people who hate being single. They feel lonely, unfulfilled, or insignificant. Some even wonder whether something is wrong with them.
So to all the single people out there: You are awesome, and your awesomeness isn’t defined by whether you have a romantic partner. It’s fine to be single, and it’s fine to be in a relationship. It’s okay to like being single, and it’s okay to hate it. I don’t think singleness has to be the thorny issue our culture makes it.
As for my dear readers in romantic relationships, I have a few words for you as well. First, good for you! I hope you’ve found happiness in your special someone.
That said, please don’t assume that everyone needs a special someone to be happy. Don’t single out singles. Don’t tease or patronize us. For those who are sensitive about their singleness, these things hurt. For those who aren’t sensitive, like me, these things merely annoy. Some singles are quite contented, thank you very much, and those who aren’t don’t need to be reminded of it.
Romantic relationships can be amazing. They are not, however, an instant fix for loneliness, insecurity, or any other problem. Far from removing all difficulties, relationships often add them. Loving another person deeply and intimately is hard. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Is it always fun, easy or pleasant? Good heavens, no.
In some ways, singleness ain’t so bad.
Now I’m going to go put on a fez, drink some tea, and read a book, because I am a bachelor and that is how I roll.