If there’s something I can talk about at length, it’s being single!
In the past ten months I’ve experienced more aspects of single life than I have in my other twenty-nine years!
And the last person I would ever equate being single in 2014 to is Bridget Jones.
On Thursday afternoon, a friend sent me a link over Twitter. The Independent was looking to run a story about being single in your thirties, and needed singletons to talk about their experiences. Thanks to the blog, I can reel off anecdotes about single life without a second thought, and so I contacted the journalist, and half an hour later I was being interviewed over the phone.
After twenty-minutes spent telling the journo about all the positive aspects of being single in 2014, and how every woman I know who is single and in her thirties is extremely successful and happy waiting to meet the right guy, I answered a couple of questions on the realities of living alone.
Yes, it is more expensive, but that’s a decision I’ve chosen to make. No, I wouldn’t say it’s more lonely, as if anything, living alone makes me head out more in the evening and at weekends. No, I would never compare my single life to the quintessential images of Bridget, sat on her sofa in her pjs with a tub of ice-cream.
The journo thanked me for my positive words, explaining that they were a welcome contrast to the other singleton he’d spoken to, who’d been less enthusiastic about single life. He agreed to link up the piece to the blog, and after sending through some carefully-chosen photos, I waited with excitement to read the piece on Friday morning.
You can imagine my surprise when I opened the Independent’s ‘i Paper’ to find my name beneath the title ‘Single living is creating a Bridget Jones generation‘, and next to a photo of Bridget herself … dressed in her pjs and sat on her sofa! (With no mention of the blog in sight!)
The article explained that living alone no longer carries a stigma – something I agree with. I love living alone, and when I move to London at the end of next month, if I could have afforded to continue the standard of living I enjoy outside of the capital, whilst living alone, I definitely would. Unfortunately the reality of being single and living in London, is often, if you want to live in a decent part of town, that you have to live with a flatmate for financial reasons – a story which I think is far more prevalent to London-based singles in their thirties.
The report then went on to say that ‘difficulties in balancing a professional and private life lie behind the shift, nicknaming the growing number of singletons in their 20s and 30s as the Bridget Jones generation.’
Now, it’s been some years since I read Bridget Jones – the first book came out in the nineties – but Bridget’s reasons for being single were never because she was a busy professional! In fact Bridget’s professional life was as much of a joke as her private one.
Don’t get me wrong – I loved the books and the film, and found them very funny. But the realities of being 30 and single in 2014 are a far cry from Bridget’s single life.
Bridget’s world revolved around calorie counting, failing to give up smoking, drinking alone at home, moping on her sofa eating ice cream, and fruitlessly chasing completely inappropriate men.
As a result of 30 Dates, not only have a met a lot of single men, but I’ve also met hundreds of single women. And none of them remind me of Bridget!
The thing I noticed from day one at singles events, is just how much more attractive and well put-together the women seem to be, as compared to the men.
Every single woman I know in her thirties, is either fresh out of a relationship, or decisively single. It’s not that she doesn’t have options. She just knows what type of man she wants, and is prepared to wait to find the right match, not simply a match.
When I think of my band of single female friends, none of us calorie count. We’re old enough and wise enough to have come to terms with the way our bodies look and work, and to know exactly what to do, on those days when we’re not so happy with the reflection we see in the mirror. None of us smoke (so nineties!), and I would never sit at home and crack open a bottle of wine alone! Yes, I go out and socialise far more than I ever do when I’m in a relationship, and a bi-product of that is drinking more, but I never stay home and drink alone. In fact, one of the things The Coincidental (my new flatmate to be) and I have laughed about, is that as a result of living alone, our kitchens are both full of bottles of alcohol which we’ve never got around to drinking.
As for the ice cream, well the last time I finished a tub on my sofa was with the help of an ex-boyfriend – I barely ever eat at home. Living alone is the perfect excuse not to cook, and to head out to dinner with friends or a date instead.
Finally, when it comes to chasing the wrong kind of men – all the single girls I know in their thirties are savvy enough to spot a bad egg a mile away these days.
The realities of single life in 2014, is that if you embrace it, and celebrate all the options and opportunities available to you, you’re exposed to so many new people, and so many single men, that you quickly learn how to spot both the good and the bad catches.
In fact the only Daniel Cleaver characters I find myself entertaining, are ones who I’ve purposely stayed in contact with, purely with this blog in mind!
Because everyone loves a bad date story once in a while!
Bridget Jones is great. But she’s just a character in a book. And to suggest she represents a generation of singletons twenty-years her junior, and living in a very different world, is not just short-sighted, it’s frankly insulting.
I love being single.
No, I don’t plan to be single for the rest of my life. But I certainly don’t spend my days crying into open tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, and lamenting my single status.
Ironically, the ‘case study’ in the Independent report that featured me, focussed mainly on my comments about living alone. They did manage to get some of my positive feelings about single life in, though see if you can spot the misquote …
‘Honestly though, I don’t think singletons are as fussed as everyone else is. Most of the girls I know in their 30s know what they want from a relationship and are perfectly happy to wait for it. For them, being single is a bonus.’
Does that even make sense?
Being single isn’t a ‘bonus’.
But you can definitely turn single life into a positive situation. It’s simply a matter of how you play it. Last night, I had the most entertaining evening of my week, surrounded by other like-minded singles at a Table8 event at the Mall Tavern.
Yes, I’d rather be in my dream relationship right now, but just because I’m currently single, doesn’t mean I’m going to be miserable. I plan to make the most of it – and the way to make the most of it, is by taking those opportunities which you won’t be able to, once you’re finally settled down.
So if you’re single and reading this article, prove the Independent wrong!
We’re not a Bridget Jones generation. We’re a generation of educated, savvy singletons, who know how to have just as much fun, and more fun, than the ‘smug marrieds’.
Embrace it! We won’t be single forever! 😉
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx