5 Things We Do When We’re Single

In I am... on September 3, 2010 at 7:54 am

I knew when I was writing ‘5 Things We Do in a Relationship (Reasons Why I’m Glad I’m Still Single)‘, that I was certain to ruffle some feathers. Speaking to my mother on the phone, having read the article, she asked, “Is that what you think of your father and I? Because we still have great conversation at mealtimes you know.” I felt a sudden pang of guilt for having made my own mother think that I believed her marriage to my father was anything short of inspiring. Indeed, all the more reason to do a response article and open up about some of the things we do when we’re single…

1. Eat Alone

There are two things in life that make me sad. One, is the sight of a lonesome donkey in a field with that heart-wrenching expression that says, ‘Dear God, how long before death’s sweet embrace?’ (and any other animal injustices of a similar nature).
The other, is watching people dine alone in restaurants. They could be dribbling soup out of the corners of their mouth and I would still feel compelled to go over and provide some company, even give them a comforting hug. I never thought I would one day be one of those sorry-looking souls munching away on breadsticks at a table for one– on a Friday night much less. But last week, that’s exactly what I found myself doing. To be fair, I had just arrived back in town from my last holiday of summer and was feeling rather morbid and lacking in tolerance for any company other than my own. The decision to eat out on my lonesome rather than in the privacy of my own home happened rather suddenly and unexpectedly. I was rendered powerless, lured by the scent of croque monsieurs into a French bistro on my way home from some late night shopping and before I could back out of the terrifying situation, the headwaiter ambushed me, thrusting the menu in my face; “table for one, madame?” Preferrably facing the wall, I thought to myself. Yes, us singletons eat alone all the time at home, but rarely do we set out a placemat,  napkin and candle for ourselves– we make a point of making it a non-event in front of the telly.
So there I sat, alone, pretending that I hadn’t already read the magazines I had with me, waiting for my omelette aux champignons, “hold the fries”. I must admit, for a minute there I felt pretty sorry for myself and the thought definitely crossed my mind that I would never be in this situation if I wasn’t single. Nevertheless, after I realised that no one was staring at me with poignant sympathy, I got on with my re-reading and forgot all about the fact that I was alone in a restaurant– let’s call it a bistro (sounds less pathetic and more ‘eccentric artiste’), on a Friday night. In fact, I found the experience all-together quite liberating and may put my bravery to the test and try it again. I might even order a dish that doesn’t take less than five minutes for the kitchen to prepare in my attempt at minimising the chances of getting caught dining solo by someone I know. Because that would be absolutely traumatising.

2. Fester

A term that may be unfamiliar to some, only to be used in a colloquial context. To fester is to indulge in the art of occupying oneself in a desultory manner that can only be pleasing to oneself. Examples of festering include activities that lack a plan, purpose or direction such as colour coding the wardrobe, alphabetizing your magazine collection, making pointless playlists in iTunes for parties you will never have, perfectly aligning products in the bathroom cabinet– the possibilities are endless. For us single folk, the ability to fester is a luxury that we know may be snatched away from us at any moment should we fall in love and lose our treasured, unrestricted alone time. While men might spend most of this valuable time on a game console or exploring the darker depths of online pornography, women typically favour, and take very seriously, our experimentation with most of the take-home beauty treatments available to us on the market; various methods of hair removal, hair dye, facial masks, skin-firming miracle serums– you name it, we’ve tried it. My personal favourite is recklessly experimenting with hair colour, although I haven’t done that in a while because my hair began to feel like actual straw. Sometimes I wonder whether falling for someone and starting a relationship is perhaps the only thing that saves us from becoming mentally unhinged. Just a thought.

3. Get Too Big For Our Boots

I’m sat across from notorious bachelor, AlphaMale in a Mexican restaurant last weekend, quizzing him about a girl he’s been keeping secret.
“She’s just a friend,” he says with a dismissive smirk on his face, waffling down his burrito.
I’m not buying it; “Oh ok, so presumably you fantasize about fondling all of your friends, including the ones you play football with?”
He makes a schoolboy face at me, dribbling pieces of grated cheese from his mouth before choosing not to respond and diverting his attention to the waitress, asking boisterously, “What’s the hottest sauce you have? Bring it on!”
Several minutes later, me to him: “Er… your eyes. They’re bleeding.”

Single people tend to be a lot cockier than when they’re settled in relationships. I’ve even noticed this in myself; in my actions and my general mindset since being without a significant other. When my equally single friend, Al Moda asked what I would be writing about in my response article to “Things We Do in a Relationship”, she fired a list of suggestions before I could reply. “Are you going to write about the fact that when we’re single we are more fabulous, more in our element, we look our best and men gravitate towards us more than ever?” I’m not entirely sure I agree with her on all four of those bold statements, but I’m intrigued to hear more. “Cocky is good. Because cocky gets you places.” Out there alone in the big bad world, perhaps she has a point.

4. Discover how to Do Things For Ourselves

Since I haven’t had a boyfriend around to manipulate into doing everything for me, I’ve discovered how certain things work, like a washing machine, for example. Recently, I decided to cut down on my laundry bills and occasionally do my own load at home. My mother gave up after five minutes of trying to teach me the basic instructions before I went off to college, but now, I’m pleased to say that I’ve learnt how to do it all on my own. Separate delicates into casual and eveningwear (obviously), pour some blue liquid where it looks like they want you to, set the time, press circle-with-a-cross button. Whatever. Easy! Perhaps I still have a way to go before I master domestic chores and housework (my name is MessyNessy after all) but I have definitely noticed that I’m becoming quite the technical whizz with fixing electricals around the house. On the other side of the fence, I suppose single men become better at cooking for themselves, ironing their shirts and decorating the apartment without making it look like Batman’s underground lair.

5. Wish we were in Relationships

“I mean yeah, sometimes we get sappy and pathetic and lonely,” admits Al Moda. Yes, it’s true. Seeing deliriously lovey-dovey couples, aside from making us feel nauseous, sometimes makes us wish we had someone of our own, with whom we could veg-out next to on weeknights in front of the TV or swim alongside in tropical turquoise-blue waters.
“But then it passes and we apply ourselves and do something great to put us right back on our pedestal,” headstrong Al Moda adds, snapping me right out of my caribbean daydream.

Whether or not you are single or in a relationship, bear in mind the following things that you should never do….

Boys: remember there is never an excuse for perving at breasts in magazine articles about tribespeople.

Ladies: never under any circumstance should you go into a shop and buy toilet roll and nothing else. It only says one thing, “That’s right, I’m going home now, whereupon I will sit on the toilet and do something that could get rather messy.” (Actually that goes for the guys too).


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