“I’m so glad I’m not single anymore”, “It must suck that you’re single”, “I’m so happy that I’m married and not dealing with dating anymore”, “I am SO lucky to be out of the dating world”. “Internet dating is so dangerous, you’ll end up dead.”
Hi, my name is Catherine, and I’m single. Based on some of the comments my friends, co-workers and Instagram followers have left me, I should be ashamed of it and miserable with my life. Seeing the way people react when I say I’m flying solo, I should be at home crying into a tub of ice cream every Friday night and jealously wondering what my married friends are up to. Instead, I like to think that I’m redefining what it means to be single in 2015.
The image of the single girl has been climbing for decades. Historically, she was an old maid with no prospects and a sad life. Then, in 1970, Mary Tyler Moore introduced us to a new brand of single girl that hadn’t been seen in pop culture; never married, working in a great career, and not looking for a man to support her along the way. Sure, she dated on and off, but at the end of the series she was living the single life. Then in 1988 Murphy Brown showed us another type; one who was over 40, recovering from addiction, and eventually becoming a single parent, all while working at a great job with a large group of friends. The 80’s also showed us the Golden Girls, an older kind of single girl, through divorce or death. Fast forward to 1998 and four single women living and working in New York welcomed us into their lives with Sex and the City.
Spanning over 30 years, featuring characters anywhere from 30 to 75, and taking place all over the country, these shows had one thing in common; all of their single girls were happy. None of them cried into their pillows at night, or felt like their lives were any less valuable because they didn’t have a spouse. Instead, they laughed and loved over cosmos and cheesecake and revelled in their great lives. They found meaning in their jobs and in themselves, and didn’t compromise.
I understand that these are fictional tv shows, but I look up to the characters that were created in them and feel good about myself and my choices. So maybe I don’t spend my Friday nights curled up on the couch with my husband, or my Sunday mornings at farmers markets with my boyfriend. I don’t come home at the end of the day and rush into the embrace of my partner. But I also don’t spend any of that time dwelling on what I’m missing. My life as a single girl is too busy and too fun to get bogged down by the fact that I don’t have someone. Last weekend I was at a concert out of town, and this coming weekend I have reservations for Lee in Toronto where I plan to sip cocktails and eat tapas until I explode. I love the freedom of being able to hop on a flight to New York, Chicago, or Las Vegas whenever I want, and I enjoy my after work routine of hitting the gym before working on my philanthropy projects I’ve taken on this year. Contrary to what people seem to think, I LOVE DATING. I love going out with new people and discovering different places to eat or drink. I like making new friends when the date doesn’t work, and I enjoy getting dressed up to meet someone new. Don’t get me wrong, it can get repetitive, but I wouldn’t continue to do it if I didn’t enjoy it.
I’m not trying to say that I don’t need a man to be happy or that I’ll hold the single girl torch forever. Truth be told, I do want to get married and start a family one day and I do believe in the traditional bond of marriage, and the family that can grow from it, but it is not as pressing for me as it seems to be for everyone around me. It’s as if my friends, family and Instagram followers want me to meet someone more than I want to meet someone. They seem to put a negative spin on something that I don’t find all that negative. At 28 with a great career and living in an amazing city, I am not feeling the sadness that people assume I feel or project on to me. I might get lonely from time to time but that’s very rare. I am not drowning my single sorrows in a bottle of merlot. Instead, I’m sipping a cocktail at Bar Buca, and flirting with the guy across the bar. I’m catching sun poolside in Las Vegas, and I’m gorging on a cheese platter with my closest girlfriends. I’m not crying, I’m not jealous, and I’m not thinking of ‘what if’s’. I am happy.