As I have mentioned before, I am blessed with some fan-fricken-tastic friends. One of them is a woman my kids call Auntie Kiki. A couple of nights ago I got a text message from Kiki, “Ok had the date… I am now an even bigger believer than before that I don’t like men…” It was followed by a swift stream of messages including, “I think I am better off with robots and mechanical devices!” Things went downhill from there and it was clear she really needed to talk. I hustled the boys to finish their work and pack their backpacks. I chased them to bed and I called.
She filled me in on her date. The fellow she met was much older than anyone she has ever dated before and he was excessively forward, greeting her with an unwelcome tongue-infested french-kiss. (She was still swishing mouthwash when we spoke.) I did mention that it probably would have been better to meet a fellow for the first time in broad daylight over coffee, rather than in the evening over dinner. She mentioned that I’m probably not the best person to be giving dating advice since I’m more than twenty-years out of the game. (Hey, I have a lot of friends who date and share war stories, I read a lot and there are few things I enjoy more than giving free, unsolicited advice about things I know nothing about.)
She has been among those who have encouraged me to dip my toes into the datin’ waters. I just can’t bring myself to do it and her account of her experience reminded me why. I am far more likely to meet some nice guy at a political event or at church than to sign up with some dating service or agency and create a profile. I know, it’s so last century. I have occasionally languished in hot showers on lonely mornings composing hypothetical profiles for myself. Likes: Laughter, wit, charm, smarts, character, creativity, height. Dislikes: Bullsh*t and everything and anything that might remind me of my ex. (See! There is a reason I’m not dating.)
The truth is, in the area where my girl lives, the pool of datable fellas is relatively small. When it comes to men generally, there may be “Plenty of Fish,” but few are worth catching, and being alone is better than settling for a relationship that doesn’t even have the potential for adequacy. Aside from lonely showers, flying solo has its perks. I’ll enumerate some of those I appreciate most for her benefit:
1 ) Difficult in-laws do not spoil holiday gatherings.
2 ) I wake in the morning to my comforting zen chime alarm and I can hit the snooze as many times as I like and annoy no one.
3 ) No one steals my pillow or hogs the covers or keeps me up with their tossing and turning or snoring.
4 ) Half of my bed can serve as my desk indefinitely.
5 ) There are no cold porcelain surprises in the night. The toilet seat and bathroom tissue are always exactly as I left them. It’s my bathroom, mine, mine, MINE, ALL MINE!
6 ) No one will tell me my calves feel like 80-grit sandpaper or call me “loofa legs” if I don’t wax or shave.
7 ) Nobody sees what I look like first thing in the morning.
8 ) I don’t have to deal with anyone else’s annoying personal habits nor account for my own.
9 ) I can leave my girlie stuff wherever I want to.
10 ) Once the kids are in bed, I can take a long hot bath and no one will knock on the door.
11 ) I have two sons, so I’ll say ‘fewer’ rather than ‘no’ dirty men’s socks or underwear in my laundry.
12 ) No one uses my razor or leaves little hairs in the sink.
13 ) No one gets my tools dirty. My pretty flower-handled screw-driver set is pristine.
14 ) Independence and autonomy are beautiful things. I don’t have to account to anyone, which means no one scrutinizes my shoe purchases and I am not inclined to fib to anyone that Ann Taylor is the kids’ piano teacher.
15 ) I have the interests of fewer people to consider when I make important decisions.
16 ) There is no one sponging my attention away from the children when they need it.
17 ) I don’t have to account for another adult’s preferences when I cook or order takeout.
18 ) I can eat as much garlic as I want to.
19 ) I can eat ice cream, or cake, or crème brûlée. No one cares.
20 ) I get boasting rights—I don’t need no stinkin’ man, I open my own effing jars.
(Note: I did not list working spine zippers solo as a perk.)