The other day, speed walking to an appointment to get my hair cut, I realized that I was becoming anxious over my (completely lovely) hairdresser’s inevitable question: So what’s going on with your love life? (The classic Bridget Jones’ question.) The answer, at the moment, is zilch. Nada. Nothing. I haven’t been in a real relationship for about a year, and the boys who have drifted in and out of my life since then haven’t really been so, you know, noteworthy. But I felt like I was going to be put in a position where I had to defend my lack of relationship — yet again.
But I also know the implication of questions like the one my hairdresser always asks: that we should all aim to be with someone — regardless of whether that will make us happier or not. So much of the restlessness I feel in relation to being single comes not from lack of a boyfriend — though I do love the excitement of a new prospect — but from the social expectations surrounding love and dating. We should all strive to be with someone, says the prevailing belief. And if you’re not, then what’s wrong with you?
When the question did eventually arrive, as my sweet, long-coupled hairdresser was straightening my freshly blow dried hair, I tensed up and found myself scrambling for excuses: “I work and travel a lot so I have very little time to meet anyone. There was this one guy about a month ago, but you know. I just don’t seem to meet many men I’m that interested in. My friend wants to set me up but I don’t know…”
And then I stopped myself. I realized suddenly that not only do I not have to explain myself in this situation, but that I’m actually quite content to be single for now. Aside from skirting questions about my dating life at parties and salon appointments, I actually feel pretty relaxed about being single. (In stark contrast to how anxious I often feel when yet again dating the wrong guy.) I would like to meet a great guy, but I can’t bring myself to date someone mediocre until then. So for now, I got nothing in the boy department.
A friend of mine (also single) was recently complaining about a woman she knows who blogged about a multi-month celibacy/date-free project. “I haven’t had sex in six months, and I didn’t know it was a project,” my friend grumbled. The idea that someone might not date for an extended period of time is considered novel and noteworthy to some; for others, it’s just amazing how time flies without any decent prospects in sight. But that’s not to say that we haven’t been pretty happy in the meantime.