The Last Single Woman in America Strikes Back

The Last Single Woman in America Strikes Back

Adrienne BoettingerMonday,2 May 2016

As the Last Single Woman in America (cue the ballad “All by Myself”) you think I’d be impervious to attempts to call me out on my chronic singleness but you’d be wrong. Recently I was at a function, surrounded by people, when someone who had only recently left the state of chronic singleness herself actually asked me if I had found a man yet. It felt like the wind was knocked out of me. Being in the presence of others and not wanting to show that I was mortally wounded, I tried to laugh it off. Not with the joke I sometimes make, like that it’s been so long since I’ve had sex that there’s probably a whole new way to do it. I used something more family friendly and followed up with a terribly false laugh, a glance at the clock, and the profound wish that my iced tea had magically turned into whiskey.

You’d think I’d be happy to have someone ask me about my single status, even if it was only to make me feel like shit, as at some point in the past few years I passed the age where people ask you those awkward questions. You know, like “are you dating anyone?”, “when are you going to settle down?”, or “you better hurry up if you want to have children.” And it’s been even longer since I’ve been so vocal with my loneliness that friends felt compelled to say, “Oh, you just haven’t met the right guy yet” or “When you least expect it, that’s when you’ll meet the guy you’re supposed to marry.” To which I usually responded, “That’s not how it works out for everyone” or just a cynical laugh.

As I move closer and closer to the dreaded 4-0 I have the strangest urge to find those same friends who are now busy with their new friends who came complete with matching husbands and appropriately aged children, and tell them “Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah! You were wrong! I never found that guy!” It’s like I want the consolation of them recognizing I was right — I will be alone forever.

Yikes. I never said that out loud before — not the part about bragging about my rightness (which really seems like no consolation at all). I just don’t think I’ve said, even to my closest friends, that the thing that scares the bejeezus out of me is being alone forever.

Most days I don’t think much about it. More people, especially educated women, are single now than at any other point in history. And I know that if I were a little less particular, a little readier to settle for someone who feels less right than right now, I probably could have been married or at least have had a longer-lasting relationship than what I’ve had in the past.

But I’m not. I’d rather be on my own than be with someone I don’t really want. Because deep down, even if it’s years from now when all my married-with-children-friends have moved on and forgotten all about their sad single friend, I want those same friends to be proven right. I want to meet the guy I was supposed to meet all along, even if it happens so late in the game as to be tragically ironic. I’d even give up being able to say “I told ya so” to meet that guy. Until then, I’ll take the consolation prize of doing what I want when I want. Of being able to stay in to read or go out to drink. Of taking a nap or going on a trip or doing nothing at all. And of realizing that my life is all mine and if people don’t like me for who I am, they’re the ones who are losing out. Because I rock.

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Image Credit: andrechinn on Flickr

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