Us singles get a bad rap.
We’re typecast as lonely vagabonds. Sad miscreants of an unforgiving moon. We plead, beg and steal nights away in the darkest places, crying inside the shadows of our happy as peach peers who have mates and playdates and form. Not having that other half is the reason we are mistrusted, pitied and talked about once we leave a friendly get together of scrabble.
Match.com is no advocate of ours. They do business with unsustainable results, professing to tea party results out of first dates that hold as much chance of a ten year mortgage as faulty banks would. Devotees of such a thing have to charge their membership to a credit card with lenient tendencies for good reason.
I’ve been single for six years after having been married for ten. In all honesty, the loneliest times were those years at the end of a crumbling marriage and a couple of bad luck relationships that came later. You haven’t felt lonely until you’ve been in a relationship without grip. Being very single doesn’t even come close to that kind of isolation.
As time goes by, so have the incarnations I have experienced. I began my second chapter of living single much like the first. The women were young and the tempo was frat house (lower level) in nature. Sure enough, the RPM’s on such an arrangement kicked my ass in no time flat. Being a late thirties bachelor required far more elasticity than I was ready for on the flip side. My twenties self was adaptive to the maintenance required in lifting the corners of a new day, just so long as the gas tank was full of high-octane Columbian coffee and a brand spanking new pack of smokes. That shit didn’t work so well once I was a single father with bills coming out of my pores.
I persisted. It was an innocent climb- or as innocent as a man inching perilously close to mid-life can experience. I tried Vegas and had a one night stand just to see if it was the kind of thing I could tuck into a daily routine full of absolute requirements. The answer came back in the form of Not Really. I was sitting by the pool, dialing up this hottie in the hopes of a second round when I was greeted by a stiff rebuke wrong number. It turned out I was not nearly as hip as I’d imagined myself the night before when her drinks had been free and safe sex had been assured.
Since then, I’ve taken a couple of sabbaticals from sex. They never lasted very long. There were always too many curled voices full of angst and passion to go around and too many nights when the kids were somewhere other than home. And then I met the girl of my dreams, to failing grades. I committed the cardinal sin of singlehood: I ignored all those pesky little red flags because I felt it was time to settle down.
And finally, a respite which led to peaceful resolutions where I discovered how much I love sleeping alone and Saturday night poker arguments with the guys and cold pizza. A respite which allowed me to resist the curious metaphors of bows and arrows full of true loved acronyms not so fully adjusted to individual needs.
I have found my place and it happens to be single. For now, and for however long from now. No pushing or shoving or matchmaking voodoo. Just me and my life and what’s left of chance.
Single life isn’t nearly as frightening as that Vegas bar I once made bargain with. A place where I shoved elbows with strangers dressed in marriage rings and pre-med students full of litmus they couldn’t bankroll and girls with adopted names. I should have known it would only get better from there. And it has.
The other side is just fine.