Once a week, I grab sushi takeout: As the waiter finishes taking my order, I brace myself for the final question of the transaction: Are you thinking, Listen to this sad-sack bitch.
I have a job that pays me to watch TV and talk about movies and interview celebrities. I have a social life packed with besties and beloved co-workers. I go on dates. I am aware that, at 32, my eggs are jettisoning out of my dusty uterus at an alarming rate. Despite all this, I am a perennially single bitch PSBi.
I have been alone for the past two years and, prior to my last boyfriend we were together for seven monthsfor another three years—just like so many women in North America right now. In26 percent of Canadians aged 25 to 29 were unmarried. In the last year census numbers were gatheredthat number skyrocketed to 57 percent. During that time, the percentage of unmarried women in their early 30s jumped from 10 to 34 percent.
As a result, recent years have seen a rise in single-lady-friendly lit, with uplifting titles affirming the pleasures of life uncoupled, including the book Going Solo: I called Bolick when I finished the book.
I like to have a balance, where my friendships are as important as my romantic relationship, which is as important as my work. Does my yearning for a mate make me lame?
But I also want to make a life with someone else and maybe a kid or three.
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But almost no tell-alls explore loneliness in depth. This is because loneliness reads as weakness. Melanie Notkin, author of the book Otherhood: It also sounds straight-up sad.
I cringe when I imagine it going into print—and then onto the Internet for all eternity—for my exes to see and future dates to find lurking in my Google results.
The pain leaps suddenly, like the horrible surge of heat when you remember you forgot to do something important. Sometimes it spills out of me in tears that trickle down from behind my sunglasses as I sit on the streetcar on my way home from work, inching home toward another solitary meal, another night alone in bed.
I burst into my apartment and cry and cry and cry, standing Single and talk to no one the middle of the living room.
And I let the pain flow through me, feel it race up and down and through the conductor of my body. Then I climb into bed and try not to think, How can I last another night in this same bed in this same room in this same loveless life and wake up alone and do it again the next day and the next and the next?
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In his book, Loneliness: While waiting for my post-bar Uber a few weeks ago, I overheard a bro refer to my 2 a. The older I get, the more party guest lists become standardized into 40 billion couples, a handful of fun gays and a pack of dolled-up PSBs.
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Friends badger me to lift the No Boyfriends Allowed, Goddamnit rule at my annual cottage weekend. Weddings are the most extreme torture of all. The isolation intensifies as friends are—bless—often useless when it comes to offering support, simply because they eschew listening in favour of cheerleading and advice.
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You have such a rich life! I know many accomplished PSBs who work plus hours a week: Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Slogging along solo for ages has made me doubt my sanity as life starts to feel like an episode of The Twilight Zone.
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But as the months of singledom slip into years, doubt rears. If I was a lovable human, logically, I would have love, no?
Is it my oft-messy apartment? If I fixed these things, would I have more luck?
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Some changes made me a better person, like going to the gym and softening my bitchy resting face. But other things I did to placate dudes—like switching out boner-killing fashion in favour of dressing down in jeans and sneaks—I eventually gave up. It takes strength to hold out for a person who loves you just the way you are. I could have married my lovely ex years ago.
Not having someone is hard, but settling for just anyone is harder.
There is an upside to our noble refusal to settle; PSBs do indeed enjoy giddying freedom and wide-open swaths of time and space to pursue adventure and wonderment. But I also spend a lot of time with the same damn person: Just as Bolick warned against disappearing into a relationship, you can also disappear into yourself. This is what I call Feral Cat Syndrome. I become too wild, too unused to human contact, too worn down by dating. I favour Broad City over yet another book launch or synth-pop show or house party where I hope there will be someone Single and talk to no one hittable.
I let my OkCupid matches pile up, sick of composing witty openers. My body aches for snuggles. I debate sleeping with a ripped year-old Tinder jock just to make sure my vagina still works.
If you want to stop dating, you have to keep dating to find the partner who will take you out of the running. PSBs already know that all we can do while waiting for the right partner is to live a life of meaning, of love for family and friends, of passion and pursuit of beauty.
And all those bloody weddings. How are you doing? Feral Cat Syndrome There is an upside to our noble refusal to settle; PSBs do indeed enjoy giddying freedom and wide-open swaths of time and space to pursue adventure and wonderment. PSB PSA PSBs already know that all we can do while waiting for the right partner is to live a life of meaning, of love for family and friends, of passion and pursuit of beauty.
I may be lonely, but I am not alone. This article was originally published in May Sign Up Single and talk to no one Our Newsletter.
I got used to my role as the Single One — I was even okay with it. I'm talking mundane, everyday, almost-no thought-put-into-them touches. When You Feel Like You Have No One to Talk To, It May Be You Do I'd say this single, simple act lies at the heart of our closest relationships.
Spinster celebrates the power and pleasures of being single but skims over the toughest fact of solohood: loneliness. Briony Smith on why.
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