As a single women at the age of 40ish, it seems that many people still think I need a chaperone through my own life.
Most recently when I moved house, I was asked ‘do you have a friend to help you?’ with a worried look and a vague offer to ‘be there’ that faded away before the words were fully out of his mouth. Yes, actually I do have a friend. I ordered him off the internet and he charged $85 an hour, just like every mover I’ve used. Would I rather have ‘a friend’ help me? Hell no, my sofa cost $4000 and I need pros for that baby. But I run into it everywhere. The horror of doing things ‘on your own.’
When I bought my first apartment I was counselled that I should ‘get a male friend’ to come with me to the transaction close. Why? So we could consummate the sale at the realtors office?
‘You know… just in case.’ In case??? My friend Geoff found it hysterical that anyone thought he was more capable at closing a real estate transaction than me.. especially as the only thing he’d ever bought was his 1998 VW Golf. I can understand the value of bringing a friend, if that friend also happened to be a real estate lawyer, but what it boiled down to was the projection that a single woman shouldn’t be doing this sort of thing on her own.
Planning a vacation after my divorce, I was asked by my mother who I was going with;
‘Noone.. just me’
‘You’re going … on… your own? Couldn’t one of your friends come?’
‘I want to go on my own’
‘Won’t you be lonely?’
How it was going to be more lonely on a Hawaiian island than at home in my house was beyond me. Both featured ‘just me’. And the island came with hot surf instructors, bartenders and fellow beach bums..I wouldn’t be alone for long. But there it was again, the projection that being ‘on your own’ was somehow a terrible thing.
Following my divorce I couldn’t move for assurances that I’d find someone ‘really quickly’ and that I needed to ‘get out there’. I was still licking my wounds but the message I heard loud and clear was ‘find someone ASAP!’ as a way to avoid the dreaded state of ‘being alone’. With a fire lit under my heels, it wasn’t until I found myself on a date, wishing I was watching Top Chef instead, that I realized I didn’t need to be part of a pair to have fun. In fact, fun was sometimes, actually often, being a single and alone.
The weird thing is, I used to think that I did need to be part of a pair, everywhere I went.
I remember being terrified to even hit a movie for fear that people with pitchforks and wild eyes would laugh me down the aisle for being on my own.
I thought that people traveling overseas on their own were reckless, and those who vacationed alone were clearly mules for drug cartels or were cruising Club Med for divorcees and widows. Those women who traveled the world alone, ate alone and didn’t seem phased by being ‘a single’ were bonkers. A little sad. Clearly lonely. Probably too picky. Probably just needed to ‘get out there more’
Its taken a long time to realize that single doesn’t mean alone. In fact single has meant more friends, more adventures, self awareness and much greater happiness than being ‘together’. Sure I troll around looking for male companionship and naked fun, and it would be lovely to be partnered for those snow days or when my toilet leaks, but I don’t need to be a couple these days.
Plus you can find anyone to do anything on Craigslist.
NOTE: as I googled images for this post every single image for ‘alone’ showed someone crying or looking sad. Talk about projecting!!!