Yes, I’m a Cynic. No, I Don’t Believe in Love.

If I had a dollar for every time I went to begin a blog post with “I’m not a positive person” or some such variation, I’d have a heckin’ lot of dollars. But that gets boring after a while, and incredibly depressing, when you think about it. It is, nevertheless, kind of true. I mean, I don’t sit around all day every day, staring at the wall with a glum expression, and thinking about all the bad things in the world. I do however, have a tendency to be incredibly cynical (or realistic, depending on your view, but I for my part, am very realistic about my cynicism), and often that comes across as the same thing.

I’ve been single for a very long time, and have never had what you would call a long romantic relationship. The reactions I get from people when they learn this, is generally one of shock and/or incredulity, expressed in some kind of over the top reaction that would be better suited to stage than real life. Yes, there are single people in the world and yes, when you get all dramatic about our lack of love life, we do kind of want to punch you a little bit. We don’t need to be pitied, and we’re not (necessarily) miserable. To be honest, I think single people are simply not the norm. Particularly single people in their mid 20’s; the time when many other twenty-somethings are married/having babies. There’s almost this unspoken expectation that if you’re not in a relationship (for a long period of time) then there must be something inherently wrong with you. We single people are not a different species, I promise you.

I may be single because I haven’t yet met the person I want to spend any significant amount of time with. And also because, well…I like being on my own, and people actually suck. But here’s where it gets into the heart of the matter; I simply do not believe in the adulated concept of love. I understand, of course, that love exists. There are probably millions of songs and poems and plays and movies dedicated to it, after all. So perhaps it is not that I don’t believe in love, but more that I don’t believe it’s sustainable in the long term. By this, I am of course only refering to love of the romantical* kind, not love of the platonical** kind; that’s a whole different beast. You often hear it said that “the honeymoon period is over”, but it seems that once this supposedly magical, yet apparently measurable period of time ends, so too does the effort it takes to maintain a relationship. I have lost track of the amount of people I know (or follow on social media) who have made grand announcements about engagements and marriages, only then to be separated months after their nuptials. Or people who have actually said “now I’m married so I don’t have to try anymore”. It’s like they care more about appearances and having the party than actually continuing to love their partner after the last guest has left.

I’m not bitter because I’m single, and these words don’t come from a place of malice or jealousy. I actually think not being in a relationship allows me to look at them with a clear head, and without the tint of rose coloured glasses clouding my judgement. Anyone who knows me, will have heard me say that I think marriage is a pointless institution, and archaic to boot. Look, maybe I’m wired wrong, but I don’t see the point in spending a billion dollars on a single day, when there’s a significant possibility that the marriage will end. Will I celebrate my friends getting married, and be happy for them? Absolutely. I don’t begrudge them a thing, truly. But I also won’t be surprised if they come to me in 12 months time and tell me they’re getting a divorce. Love can be a beautiful illusion, but I am fully aware of how quickly that illusion can be shattered.

You’ve all heard the saying “all good things must come to an end” and I can’t help but believe that this is particularly true about love. I realise that, in much the same way you don’t buy a car to crash it, you don’t get into a relationship with someone expecting to break up. But you can’t deny the possibility that you will. Think of all the partners you’ve had in your life, and how many relationships you had before you met “the one”. How do you know that this one won’t be like the rest of them? How do you know that when you say you want to spend your life with someone, that they will feel the same way? It’s true that, like anything, there are exceptions. I’ve seen plenty of cute hand holding little old couples that kinda make my heart warm. But in this day and age, they’re the minority.

The truth is, I never go into anything without considering every possibility, positive or negative. And the fact that I expect the worst outcome means that I am indeed a cynic. But the plus side is, when things do turn out well, at least it’s a pleasant surprise. At least that’s something!

*rarely used, but it is actually a word.

**not actually a word, but it I’m all about that continuity, don’t you know.

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Lonely and Alone

When you’re single, you do a lot of things by yourself. For example, I go to see movies alone, I take road trips by myself, I go to bed at night without someone else. You get so used to doing things by yourself, that you sometimes forget that not everyone else does. I’m a perpetual third wheel whenever I hang out with friends, and I’m forever getting the “when are you going to get out there and meet someone” questions. I’ve learned to deflect and ignore those questions when they come up, but last week was a bad time. On top of being a hormonal mess (thanks, period), by brain decided to send my emotions into hyper drive. I spent a lot of last week crying, and suddenly my being alone felt like a really horrible thing.

When I picture my future, I see it alone. I have a four year plan (because it’s going to take me that long to save any significant amount of money), and when I see myself buying a house, I’ve never considered the notion that I will have to share that space with someone else. I look at houses online that I will never be able to afford, but I sit there and think “yes, that could be my sewing room, and that will be my guest room, and that will be where I hold elegant dinner parties for all my friends.” Ok, so maybe not that last one, but I do think about the life I want to have, and it never includes another person.

But last week, my emotional state of mind meant that I was sitting there, crying over one thing or another, because everything seemed to set me off (seriously, it was a very wet week). Amidst all the tears and negative thoughts that brought them on, I wondered for the first time in a long time, if perhaps I should try and meet someone. Because maybe coming home to someone, and cooking with someone, and getting into bed next to someone at night, isn’t the worst thing in the entire world. I didn’t go so far as to sign up to Tinder, but I did spend a fair bit of time wondering about the appropriateness of wearing a sign declaring my single status, and the phrase “girlfriend wanted, enquire within”.

My emotional state has calmed down significantly in the last few days. I was able to clear my head, and brush away the last of the negative thoughts that plagued me last week. Much like the way you sweep the floor during a spring clean, I purged all of the malicious, insidious thoughts from my mind and now I’m back to my normal, contentedly single, people hating self. But the thing I need to remember going forward, is that even the most content single people feel lonely sometimes too. There’s nothing wrong with me for occasionally craving human connection. Actually, I think most people would agree that it is actually perfectly normal. Ah well, so I’m the weird one, what else is new?

Disheartened

Lately it seems like every time I try to get ahead, this adult life just keeps dragging me back. I’m living week to week, barely scraping though and hoarding every cent. I pay one bill, three more arrive in my email. I can’t even contribute to the everyday living costs at home yet, because I’m just not earning enough right now. The drama lies in breaking my lease. See, I’m paying rent on a house I don’t even live in anymore, and despite the rental demand, apparently the real estate agent and/or landlord ‘haven’t found a suitable tenant’. The house, mind you, has been on the market for five weeks. Five. Fucking. Weeks.

I’ve been travelling two hours each way to this house I used to call my home, scrambling to get everything done before I had to hand the keys back. I cleaned the entire house three weeks back, and moved everything out into a storage shed two weeks ago. The yard is the final thing, and I went back last week to try and finish it. I didn’t finish it, and have no more time. So now, I have to pay for a gardener to come in and complete it. Which is another cost to add to the every growing list. And still, they haven’t found someone to take over the lease. They’ve had inspections aplenty, because they email me and text me every time they do. So I find it very difficult to believe that they haven’t found someone suitable in over a month. Personally, I think they’re just biding their time because they know legally I have to keep paying rent until someone else moves in. So I expect to be paying rent on this house until well into next year.

It seems every time I move away from my home town, things go spectacularly wrong. Things were bad when I lived in the city, things turned sour when I moved to this new town. I just keep coming back to my home town, time and time again. Part of me wonders if I’m being drawn back for a reason, and another part of me is screaming that I am in charge of my own…fate, if you will. Whatever the reason, I think it’s gonna be a while before I’m brave enough to move away again.

The truth is, I’m just feeling really disheartened lately. For a myriad of reasons, not least being that I feel like I’m being a burden to my dad, who I’ve moved back in with, and the fact that I just can’t seem to catch up. I need a break in my bad luck. I’m not even talking winning the lottery, I’d just like to be able to get some sleep instead of lying awake because I’m so anxious. Or for the real estate to email me today and say they’ve found a tenant. Or, let’s be real, winning the lottery would be kind of awesome.

Alone at a Wedding

It’s official. My life has finally become a bad comedy for real.

Yesterday my friend got married. I was invited to the wedding sans a plus one, because I don’t have a significant other. But I knew that another couple from our old work place were invited, and I always got on with them very well, so I knew I would have someone to sit with, and talk to.

So when yesterday arrived, I got myself dolled up and drove an hour to the venue. I got there and gave my friend a hug (I’m not usually a hugger, but I made an exception because it was his wedding, duh). Then he said the words that made my heart sink. Our other work friends weren’t coming. I didn’t know a single other person besides the bride and groom. I was very much alone, in a room full of strangers. Aaaaand cue my social anxiety.

The ceremony was fine; short and sweet. The bride looked lovely in a simple, yet elegant dress of tulle and lace. The venue itself was a school camp, and despite my initial thoughts upon hearing that, it was actually quite a lovely spot. During all that talking, it was ok to sit there quietly, alone. Afterwards, whilst the bridal party did all the official stuff, another guest came to sit with me and we started chatting. As it turns out, her cousin actually runs the networking event that I attended a few months ago, and we had a laugh about a few remembered moments from the night in question. She was quite a character, and I enjoyed talking with her. But when it came time to go inside for dinner, she and her husband were seated far away from me, and I was put on a table with a bunch of middle aged strangers.

The meals were brought out – a serve yourself kind of deal, with roast meat and vegetables – but my stomach was churning and I was unable to eat. Which of course only served to draw unwanted attention, as people questioned why I wasn’t eating, and then cast sideways glances at me while they all conversed. I could read the looks on their faces, and practically hear them thinking how strange and rude I was. I attempted conversation with a few guests at my table, but none were particularly interested and I fell into sitting in silence.

My friend did come to chat to me a few times, but it was his wedding and he had many other people to talk to, so I didn’t want to monopolize his time. A couple of the groomsmen also came to chat a little, but for the most part I sat there very much alone, one of the few single people in a room of couples, and groups of friends. Am I glad I went, to celebrate the wedding for my friend? Yes. Did my solo presence stick out like the proverbial sore thumb? Absolutely. Was I acutely uncomfortable and anxious? You bet your ass I was.

Weddings are not traditionally events that one attends alone. They are a celebration of the very nature of being in a relationship. And there I was, sitting like the loser in every bad comedy you’ve ever watched. The only difference is that my actual life doesn’t come with that story arc and happy ending!

Honestly, it was a lovely wedding and I’m so very happy for my friend and his new bride. But I don’t think I’d be in a hurry to repeat the experience.

The Mystery of Online Dating

I’ve talked about this before, but I don’t date. Eternally confused as to how people meet people, I tend to give anything involving (potential) romance a rather wide berth. Two parts awkwardness, one part self sabotage, and a heavy dollop of social anxiety. But I spent this weekend sewing for a small start up business, and the owner mentioned in casual conversation how she and her boyfriend of nearly two years, met on Tinder. Shortly after that conversation, I got a text from my brother’s girlfriend, who he met on Tinder. And so I got to thinking; since finding love on the internet is just considered the norm these days, how does the whole thing work?

Without the physical person there, you essentially have to trust that the profile you’re looking at is a) legit and b) honest. I mean, let’s be real; that pretty blonde girl you’ve been chatting up could very well be a 70 year old dude. But that aside, the popularity of internet dating sites comes with a few questions. What is it about dating online that has such an appeal? Is it because trying to meet people without that common platform is hard? Is it because it’s convenient? Or is it because, in this modern age of technology, it’s the only way we know how?

When you meet someone in real life, you can have a conversation – or no conversation – and it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly, whether you and that person have what the movies call a ‘spark’. But again, without that personal interaction and physical response, you have to trust the profile. So what kind of information do people look for in a dating site profile? Do you put your interests and hobbies down, or is that, like, so ten years ago? Do you put down no information at all, and hope that your photos are enough to pique interest? If some of the profiles I’ve seen* are anything to go by, it would appear that the more obscene your bio, the more likely you are to have people ‘swipe right’ (and yes, I did just have to Google that to make sure I got the direction correct).

I suppose it comes down to what you’re looking for. If you just want kinky sex, the profile declaring “FIST ME” in bold letters might be more your thing than the profile that reads “I love kitties and Jesus and I just wanna cuddle”. I mean, I’m not saying that being sexually experimental and loving Jesus are mutually exclusive, but what you attract all depends on what you put out there.

In a way, internet dating reminds me of advertising. Dating sites are asking people to literally take you at face value, and with so many gazillions of products profiles out there, you have to have something that sets you apart from the rest. Whether you’re looking for love, or just someone to knock boots with, you have to make yourself seem appealing to potential bang buddies/your one true love. Because you’re not just competing with the other singles in this one shitty club; you’re competing with all the available people on an infinitely huge website.

I think the dating world, either online or in real life, will forever remain a mystery to me. I mean, my ideal date is a horror movie, munchies and a warm blanket on the couch. Entirely. By. Myself.

*I obviously don’t have a dating profile, but friends of mine do. And man, I’ve seen some shit.

Being Happy and Single Are Not Mutually Exclusive 

When I tell people that I’ll be single forever, most of them scoff or laugh. Others just put on their best pity face and say things like “oh don’t be like that, you’ll find someone one day.” as if being single were the worst thing in the world. Weird how that’s the general consensus, huh? I’m sure we all know that person that seems content on their own (*raises hand), and yet that person is judged, even if it’s only silently, by the people in relationships, and the ones who can’t comprehend being happy without someone else. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s where you’re at and it works for you, I think that’s fantastic. You do you, buddies! It’s just not necessarily for me.

What is it that scares people so much about being alone? Is it something inherent within them that tells them they need to be with another person? I’m sure there are studies on this, where medical professionals and scientists have delved into the human psyche and biology and worked out the reason we crave companionship. But I can’t help thinking that this is, at least in part, to do with society and expectation. If you can’t get a partner, there must be something wrong with you. Because it can’t possibly be an active decision, right? I mean, to think that you have control over your own romantic situation is just absurd.

I’ve always been happy on my own. No, really. I balk at the idea of being in a long term relationship with a single person for the rest of my life, and yet similarly don’t engage in casual sex because one night stands don’t appeal to me either. I’m pretty much the worst at commitment, get sick of other people very quickly, and I’ve never been happier than when I was living on my own. 

Bar maybe one complicated exception, my ultimate plan is to move somewhere, get a dog for companionship, and spend my life travelling, creating, and learning entirely on my own. I don’t mean I’m not going to have friends, or see my family or anything like that. I simply don’t envision myself spending much, or any time at all, being with another person in the romantic sense. And guys? Seriously, I’m happy with that.

Marry Me Not

Dudes, I just gotta put it out there; I’m never getting married. Like, for real. My good friend Em is getting married in two months and we were talking about her wedding today, after her dress fitting. On that note, I’m super thrilled to say that the toile for the bust of her dress fit almost perfectly, so now that the tricky part is done, I can finally make a start on actually making her dress for real!

But it all kind of got me thinking. Marriage really has no appeal for me. I don’t want to be somebody’s wife. I don’t want to go through all the rigmarole, spend all the money, go to all the effort. Even if it’s a simple affair, with nothing more elaborate that going down to the registry office, it’s just…not my thing. I have no interest in it whatsoever, and I’m not sure, if I was ever asked, that I’d say yes.

I don’t feel as vehemently against marriage as I do against the notion of having children. I don’t feel passionately about it one way or another really, I just kind of…don’t consider it. In truth, I rather find the whole idea of marriage to be archaic, and with the whole “marriage is between a man and a woman for life” thing being so exclusive and all, I really don’t feel like it’s particularly appropriate for me anyway.

I don’t begrudge the people who do want to get married, or the ones that already are. You do what’s right and best for you and if you’re a pal and I’m invited, I’ll show up to your day in a suit and a smile like a proper gentleman. I am happy to party on with the best of them. But just don’t expect to ever receive a wedding invitation from me, because if there’s one other certainty in life besides death and taxes, it’s that marriage and I are just not compatible!