The oddest thing about being single is other people’s reactions. Once you reach a certain age, particularly if you’re female, people assume that your single status is something of a problem. A temporary situation you’re hoping to fix … and quickly.
No matter how often it’s suggested, I still find it funny when people assume I want to remove my single status at all costs. No, I don’t plan on being single forever, but as I’ve said many a time on the blog, I’d much rather be single than with the wrong person.
There’s a certain type of person, who on hearing I went on 30 blind dates last year, will remark, aghast “And you still didn’t find a boyfriend?!” Shock horror! Of course said in a tone of voice which implies that the ‘failing’ therefore lies with me. But why should it be seen as a failing?
Last summer I put a status on Facebook telling my friends, and inadvertently their friends, that they could set me up on a blind date with anyone they wanted. No parameters, other than that my dates were male and single. Let’s put that in real terms for anyone not currently single… Going on 30 completely blind dates, and expecting to find a longterm partner, is a bit like heading over to an all you can eat buffet, and expecting to taste the most incredible food you’ve ever tasted . Yes, you might end up stumbling on a kobe beef steak… But there could just as easily be Maccy Ds chicken nuggets available!
I recently did an interview about 30 Dates, and when asked if I’m still single, I replied “Yes, but to be honest I don’t really have the time for a relationship at the moment!”
Which, in all honesty, I don’t! With all the prep for the UK Dating Awards, I’m basically working around the clock. I have about five different projects on the go, and I’ve have always been a night owl. Left to my own devices, thanks to my new freelancer status, I’ve become rather nocturnal. Which is great for my work ethic … but I wouldn’t make a particularly great girlfriend, crawling into bed at 3am, and emerging at gone midday on the weekend!
The journalist’s response was interesting though. “Isn’t that everyone’s excuse?!” she asked, completely seriously. Easy enough to say when you’re not single yourself.
To be honest it put my back up. Why should I need an excuse to be single? Why is being single at 30 such a bad thing that I need an excuse? I know my single male friends wouldn’t receive the same scrutiny. In fact most would probably be applauded!
This weekend I went to a house party. Run by a pair of RAF pilots I know, it was predominantly full of single girls! Towards the end of the night, I was chatting to one of my friends’ Air Force colleagues. In numerous ways, I was out of his league. That may sound conceited, but I know my self-worth, and there’s a reason I point out this fact. We got chatting about the blog, and I explained how I enjoy writing positively about single life, because that’s genuinely how I feel about being single. I have a great life, and that’s not dependent on whether I’m sharing my bed with someone or not.
“Say that again!” he sneered. “And this time, make me actually believe you!”
What pissed me off, was again the buffet theory. I’m holding out to meet a decent prime steak … because I know what I like, and I know what works well with me. And here was some bald, middle-aged, condescending chicken nugget, sneering at me for being single … presumably because I wasn’t going weak at the knees by simple virtue of the fact that he was a single RAF pilot.
Yes, I’m single … but that doesn’t mean I need to, or want to, jump on the first single man who comes my way.
On Friday afternoon I appeared in London’s Evening Standard. If you haven’t seen it yet, it was a pretty cool feature about the creation of the UK Dating Awards. The article mentions that I’m still single, which is fair enough – it was in context, talking about the 30 Dates Challenge. However, what I didn’t appreciate was the reaction mentioning it would cause.
So far I’ve had ten different men ask me out as a result – over email, Twitter, and most uncomfortably Facebook. I know we live in a world where everyone is obtainable – where you can Tweet your favourite actor, and send fan mail in a matter of seconds. Being asked out over Twitter or the blog email address isn’t something new to me – I think it’s a bi-product of writing about going on dates, and it was something I embraced last summer when I needed to arrange the 30 blind dates. But somehow Facebook seemed far more direct. My own personal world. Facebook is the social media I reserve for friends. For people I know. On Facebook, I’m not Miss 29 … I’m just Charly. And I like it that way.
It almost felt as if by mentioning my single status in the article, there was an automatic assumption that I’m looking. And not just looking for someone special. Looking for anyone who pops his head up over the parapet. A red flag suggesting any single man dare approach. As if I was somehow using the Evening Standard feature like my own personals ad!
I can’t help wondering if the same would have happened if I’d been a guy. Would girls have been so brazen – adding a complete stranger and asking him out online? Or if the same article had been written about a guy, would we all assume that he was content in his single status … and that when he was ready to settle down, he’d find a woman who he actually wanted to do so with?
I like steak. Fillet steak. Medium rare. With mashed potatoes, and peppercorn sauce. The kind where you can see the whole peppercorns.
And yes, every now and again I’ll pop to MacDonalds. Nomally when I’m hungover, or someone else is making me.
But I could never spend the rest of my life eating chicken nuggets …
Yours, contently single,
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx