I have a new hairdresser. You know the drill. A few minutes in her chair and she hits me with the standard questions – what do you do? have kids? are you married?
“Nope, not married.” I reply.
Seeing anyone special? Nope, no one special,” I say.
“Are you looking?” she asks, hopeful, I think, that she might be able to help.
“No, I’m not looking,” I say prepared for the look of dismay and silence that follows.
After an awkward five minutes, she begins again. “You mean,” she asks, “that you’re not interested in finding anyone right now?” She emphasizes the NOW, pointing her pair of scissors at my reflection in the mirror. I cringe.
Keeping one eye on the hand with the scissors. I say calmly, “I’m actually quite fine being single. I like it.”
Her shoulders slump in disappointment and she looks at me like I’m a freak. “Really?”
My new hairdresser isn’t the only one who thinks my position on coupledom is strange. In a culture that places a ton of emphasis on being associated with another, it’s tough for people to understand why anyone wouldn’t want that. But I’ve been married and I’ve had relationships, so I know that experience well enough to know it doesn’t suit me very well. And, as time stretches between my last relationship and now, I actually enjoy being single as much, if not more than being in a relationship and here’s why:
1. The freedom to come and go as I please is priceless. In relationships, the constant need on both people’s part to know where the other person is going and what they are doing is wearisome. Without an S.O., I can be pretty spontaneous with my day and I love that. If a friend calls and asks me to meet her after work for a cocktail, I can say YES. No question.
2. When it comes to my appearance, I only please myself. As a single woman, the pressure to look good all the time is lifted. I still want to look nice, but now I do it for myself, not to please someone else. I’ve actually developed a better sense of personal fashion now that I’m the only one who has to approve my wardrobe. No one else’s opinion of me could matter more to me than my own.
3. What I spend my money on is my business. I don’t have to justify how I allocate my finances or consult with anyone else when I want to spend the money I earn. Spending money on dance lessons, yoga classes, clothes, shoes, makeup, etc. isn’t something I have to negotiate or defend. My financial decisions are mine and mine alone.
4. My daily schedule is jam-packed. I spend a lot of time dancing, exercising, writing and hanging out with friends and family. Making time for someone else would take away from doing the things I really enjoy.
5. I have a large network of friends. I choose to spend time with people who I enjoy and who support me. Being single, I don’t have to worry about someone else not liking or approving of my friends. I get to keep them all.
6. Flying solo, I actually make better decisions about important issues like finances, my career, investing, etc. because I seek out expert advice from real experts and then I weigh that against what I already know. I don’t feel obligated to follow the advice of a mate just because he might feel bad if I don’t.
7. When I want to go out, I don’t feel conflicted, like when the person I’m dating would rather stay home. I just get up and go. I don’t keep anyone else company unless I really want to. And I actually like spending time with myself, so I never worry about being alone.
8. Because I lead a busy life, my housekeeping efforts have to fit in when it’s convenient. Having a home that meets a certain criteria is not my highest priority and I’m okay with that. Sometimes laundry doesn’t happen for two weeks. I have plenty of socks and underwear to make sure I can push it to the limit when needed.
9. I never have to pretend to like something I don’t. I’ll never have to watch the entire World Series on television ever again. I feel more honest about who I am and what I want when I’m not concerned about making someone else feel comfortable.
10. I have great friends, great health, plenty to do – i.e., I know what works to have a pretty full and fabulous life. Anyone I would date would have to compliment what I already have going on and my life is already pretty amazing, so I’m not looking for anyone to make me happy or make my life better. Looking is something you do when you are lacking and I’m not.