When it comes to being single, I am the most experienced person I know. Tedious online dates where you get talked at for hours? Check. Turning up to discover a date who is unrecognisable from the photos they posted online? Check. Escaping halfway through because "something bad happened"? Been there too. And the only thing worse than a truly diabolical date? The patronising reminders from well-meaning acquaintances that there really is no cause for alarm; after all, it'll happen when you least expect it. So I've gathered together the five most irritating statements that are supposed to make us singletons feel better because, well, maybe if I just put it out there that I never want to hear any of these statements ever again, I won't have to.
1. "It will happen when you least expect it."
Really? Why, thank you. This must mean that it will happen right now then, as I'm certainly not expecting to meet anyone sitting at home in a pair of milk-stained pyjamas breastfeeding a toddler. Is that a look that the eligible young men about town are going for these days? By this reckoning, there's no point ever making any effort at all-with online dating, with real life dating, with leaving the house at all, as it'll happen when we least expect it. Someone get me a DeLorean so I can go back in time and tell the fifteen year old me sobbing into her pillow feeling unloveable that IT'S OKAY, IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN RIGHT NOW, while you're not expecting it!
2. "You just need to stop looking."
Please see above. Now, I've never been entirely trusting of the self-help industry, but I'm pretty sure that this goes against all known advice about putting yourself "out there." After all, as I may have said above, no one ever met anyone sitting at home watching re-runs of Sex And The City whilst shovelling Ben and Jerry's into their cakehole. Unless, of course, they were on Tinder at the time, and, flawed as online dating may be, I'm going to assume that doesn't count as "not looking."
3. "You're too picky."
OK, let's break this one down here. There are certain things that people say, especially in the shark-infested waters of Plenty of Fish, that are clearly euphemisms for "I don't fancy you." Most people, unless they are dicks, don't like being unnecessarily mean to other people's faces, and I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that most people aren't dicks, not even the single ones who spend their lives being "too picky." However, if this phrase isn't a way of your friends telling you that you just aren't attractive enough to be dating that guy/the other guy/anyone, so you should just lower your standards and marry the first person who shows a speck of interest, even if he's fifty stone overweight and has the personality of a goldfish, then I don't know what is. THANKS FOR THAT, WORLD.
4. "You're too intelligent/stylish/alternative."
Um, I thought these were compliments? Oh hang on, this is another euphemism isn't it? What you're really saying is "you're sarcastic to the point of meanness and dress like you've just escaped from Bedlam circa 1790."
5. "You'll find someone eventually."
This one is usually said by someone deep into the throes of The Perfect Relationship. You know the one; sat there with her hand entwined in that of her beloved, other hand resting on his knee, the left hand, of course, sparkling engagement ring prominently displayed to its best effect. All they're actually saying is, "I found someone eventually, and boy was it tough, being single until the age of eighteen. I went on TWO terrible dates as a teenager, so I know EXACTLY how you feel. You can't even imagine the trauma! He wanted salted popcorn instead of toffee, would you even believe it? You've probably missed your chance, but at least I can live vicariously through your dating disasters and feel vindicated in my own life choices."
So next time you, yes you the married one who found someone eventually when you least expected it, are tempted to say even a tiny fraction of one of these statements, please don't. Trust me, I've heard it all before.
If you would like to read more of my anecdotes, feel free to take a gander at my blog http://www.singlemumspeaks.com