SINGLE life, we are told in any case, is the life of Riley. This, I fancy, is one of the many great myths of the love, sex, dating and relationships world.
Sometimes popular culture acknowledges this is not the case, for example, Bridget Jones Diary is a massive piss-take of the issues singletons face but at least it nods in their direction, although it should be noted, it feminises them totally so is something of a one-sided presentation of the issue.
In some ways, it’s more complicated mostly because rather than two people being involved (or possibly three, worse case scenario) there are often multiple people/fancies to consider. In other words, it is possible for there to be too much choice, and then, of course, there is sometimes opportunities you suddenly realise you missed completely, for whatever reason. Single life can be a bit like apple bobbing or pin the tail on the donkey; if you are lucky, there are a multitude of ropes to pull on but only one leads the right way. Rather than fretting if your partner is/is not playing away or is/is not telling you the whole story you have to start at the beginning and wonder whether there is the slightest spark at all and whether, even if there is, its the right kind of spark which will burn something approaching an eternal flame.
Does that person staring longingly at you over the filing cabinet? If they are staring like *that* then answer is probably yes, unless, of course, a mischievous younger sibling or mate drew a clown face on you while you were sleeping. However, are they the right one for you? That is a probably a trickier one to answer because it’s hard to know based on the image people present to the world which is often not an entirely, but still a somewhat, different thing from the person they actually are in totality. All of which leads us onto dating – an experience I find positively exhausting and tedious. Maybe it is because I am getting on in life, I am 37 by the way, or maybe its because as a journalist there is quite enough intrigue and second-guessing to do without the added excitement of sucking it all into my private life. I don’t know what it really is but when did I reach the stage in life where dating was no longer fun and exciting but simply just plain exhausting?
Often, it is said people ‘change’ the further you get into a relationship but I happen to think it tends to be the case that often ‘change’ is a euphemism for more being revealed. Of course, there are genuine cases where it happens but it usually has a reason behind it if it does. But that is another story for a different time. Of course, if you are not so lucky to actually find anyone, and I have been single for over two years now so I am at the point where I have to potentially face this as an outcome, then there is the potentially mind scarring glumness of isolation and feeling like you have just been sentenced to a life (with no parole) of nothing but your reflection in the mirror for company. Festivals which should be a cause of joy becoming somewhat irritating and people, especially close friends, pairing off becomes a sad reminder of what you lack in your life. Having said all that, while I can (just about) understand why those who have been in long-term relationships view single life through rose-tinted spectacles, they need to remember that there is a lot of truth in the saying about the ‘grass always being greener’; so next time they think of all the fun they could be having outside a relationship they should perhaps consider their single friends and ask themselves if their lives are in fact ‘simpler’ or just complicated, but in different ways.