Last week, as Valentineís Day approached, I was asked by an attached co-worker what exactly singles like me do on this loverís holiday.
Cry, I said.
I was particularly proud of this somewhat witty response, which came quickly to my lips despite the fact that my inquisitive office mate had posed the question early in the morning and I was deeply engrossed in whatever article I was scrambling to finish before deadline.
I also knew it was what he, having long since passed the one-year mark in his current relationship, wanted to hear. Namely, that his situation was far superior to my lonely, solitary existence.
Having thus assuaged any doubts he may have had regarding his perceived superiority, I reflected that I was probably half speaking the truth. For I know there are a fair share of singles who do find the annual holiday a traumatic event. I might even have been one of them at some points in my life.
Thankfully, however, I can say (without the need to cross my fingers behind my back, I might add) that I fall firmly in the other half. Thatís right; no tearing up for me on Valentineís Day.
Which I think you will agree, given my propensity to cry on most occasions, speaks volumes.
While I may make a joke or two about my lack of a social life, my existence is far from solitary. In fact, Iíd say Iím in a pretty good place in my life. I have a job I love, more than my fair share of friends and a family I wouldnít trade for the world. (Well, with the exception of my brother Dennis, anyway. Heís definitely up for grabs.)
I shared this sentiment with another male colleague, this one unattached, a day or two after the initial query.
Well, you could find a date if you wanted one, he told me. Itís easy for a girl.
Not if she has standards, I replied.
And thatís really the problem, because when youíre single, people seem to forget that you may still actually have standards. They seem to automatically assume that if you are single, you must be desperate.
To this false assumption, they add a second Ė namely, that since you are so desperate, youíll welcome their attempt to set you up with their second cousin twice removed, or that friend of their husbandís. You know, the toothless one with the horrible redneck nickname? Like Bubba. Or Jim Bob.
Heís ďdecent,Ē theyíll tell you. And he just got new tires for his truck.
Maybe in some circles, that may be a selling point. But not, Iím somewhat relieved to say, for me. (No offense.) A girl has to have her standards. And anyone who only carries a rating of ďdecentĒ is likely to fall short of that mark.
Ditto for that hairy cousin who thought it was OK to change out of his tux and into jeans halfway through your wedding reception. And that great guy you know who will be breaking up with his current girlfriend any day now.
Oh, I know they mean well. Or at least the ones who are happy in their relationship do. They are just so blissfully happy, that they canít imagine anyone else being content if they are not likewise attached. And they just want to see everyone as happy as they are.
But even the ones who arenít quite as content want to set you up with someone. Iíve never been able to figure that one out. Do they want you to be as miserable as they are? You know, so they donít feel like theyíre missing out?
The toughest crowd by far are those married/engaged/otherwise coupled up friends who want to live vicariously through your single-hood. Theyíre never satisfied, it seems. No matter how sordid the details you share, they are never quite sordid enough for their liking. Too much school board drama, not enough bar hopping and wild partying, I guess.
And it doesnít help to embellish, because they still wonít be happy.
Now I donít waste my time. I just tell them to TiVo ďJersey Shore.Ē
Itís not that I donít believe in love, or relationships. I just really donít like to be fixed up. It brings out the Contrary Mary streak in me.
And trust me, nobody wants that.
Iíve been trying to break my friends of this horrible fixing-up habit, but itís an uphill battle Ė particularly this couple-oriented time of year. Everybody wants to be matchmaker.
Iíve tried suggesting other hobbies for them, because, really, imagine what they could accomplish with this kind of persistence if they turned their attention to something more worthwhile. I even suggested they give it up for Lent.
But no matter what I say or do, they just donít seem to get the message. For each of the proffered bachelors I turn down, they seem to have another one, equally as flawed, waiting in the wings.
Itís enough to make a single girl want to scream.
A lonely, solitary existence never looked so good.
Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunmelissa.