All the single ladies (will relate to this post)…
I’m a single girl. I’ve never married, which is interesting in and of itself because of my upbringing. My mother married – and divorced – three times, and she had three daughters who never married, but all had children. Says something about the biological urge to be a procreate and to be a mother, but that’s a story for another day.
I like being single. It has a lot of benefits: you can do what you like, when you like, with who you like, wear what you want, and eat whatever the hell you feel like. And spend however much money you want on stuff that makes you happy. There is no one to say: “Vietnam? Really? You want to go there? That’s not really for me… but you go”. Being single means, you can be guilt- and manipulation-free and what’s not to like about that?
But it does have a downside.
For a start, everyone thinks you should be a couple. I get this a lot: “You really should find yourself a man, Di. Have you tried internet dating? Megs met her man online, and they are really happy and thinking about moving in together. He’s an investment banker. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Why do people do this? Is it because they see that you are quite happy on your own, thank you very much, and they want you to be as miserable as they are? Or is it because they feel sorry for you because you have to pay full price for everything, all the time? No going Dutch for mortgages, holidays, school fees, or days at the races. Just full tote odds, all the time.
And the travel industry just loves single people. “Oh, you’re single? Never mind. We understand that’s not your fault, so if you want to go on this trip, you can either share a room with a complete stranger… what? You’re nearly 50, and you haven’t shared your living space with strangers since 1972? That’s ok, madam, you can just pay the single supplement.” Ka ching, ka ching.
I went on a group tour to Vietnam last year. First overseas trip ever.”What you’ve never been overseas before?” shocked people would ask. (Well. I’ve been a bit busy. Being a single parent sort of ties up a lot of your time. And money.) Anyway, on this particular tour, I was the only single person apart from the tour guide. “This is very unusual Ms Lee… we usually get at least one other single person on these types of tours”. Most of the time I didn’t mind. But it was at breakfast, when everyone was sitting with their families and couples that I felt like a Nellie No-Friends. “Can I sit with you? What, that seat’s taken? You don’t talk to single people before 12pm? Oh, I see.” Who knew travelling in a group was like being back in high school?
And on free days is when that other single person phenomenon kicked in: being a Gap Filler. Good to see it was still working in another country. Other single people will recognise the Gap Filler immediately: “my husband/boyfriend/life partner/baby daddy is away on a football trip/ashram retreat/drinking himself stupid in the hotel bar. What are you doing tonight/this afternoon/the next few days? How about we hang out? Just two girl together. It will be nice to catch up”. In Vietnam, a 70 year old grandmother decided I was her Gap Filler. While we were out bargaining and getting amongst it with the natives, her husband preferred drinking beer in his room to the sights of Nha Trang or Hoi An or Hue. He finally got interested in Vietnamese culture by Han Oi, and I was dumped. Ouch! I should have seen that coming, but I thought being a Gap Filler only applied in Australian territory and didn’t transcend national boundaries.
I got back from my trip and everyone said: “Oh, I bet you’ve made friends for life!” And that would be true, I think, if I were part of a couple. Then there would be many invitations to come and visit. But there is an unwritten law of nature that says couples don’t invite single girls to stay, just in case the space time continuum is completely ruptured by the boyfriend/husband/life partner/baby daddy showing even the slightest interest in the single girl. And we all know that no good ever comes from that.
But for now, if I was looking to shed my single status, I don’t need a man so much as I need BraveHeart. Women my age are ferocious!