You get to the office and there's not so much as an aphid on your desk, let alone a bunch of roses from a smitten co-worker. By the time you've struggled home on the bus, the only intimate encounter you've had has been with a violin case, when the kid carrying it grudgingly gets up to offer you their seat as the bags you are carrying under your eyes look so heavy.
There's a lot to love about being single. Continually explaining why you are single, isn't one of those things. But when you regularly rock up to parties alone, you are apparently inviting your peers to pick at this particular scar, in public. Of course, we know the questions come from a caring place. But the truth is, we don't have any answers.
Often we expect too much from a partner when we ourselves haven't yet mastered these values. Frequently people think, when I find the "right" partner then I will be this way or that. How many people say they want trust in their relationship, yet the second, their partner does something that seems suspicious, they go through their partner's phone, look for evidence of cheating, or scream accusations at their partner?
Looking over what I'm saying, it makes it sound like I am just deeply selfish and unwilling to compromise. I can give you a few testimonials from people who love me that will tell you the opposite (hi mum!). I just feel that being alone should be everybody's default position and that needing company, at most, should be our secondary state of being.
It feels like we're expected to be crying into a pillow, stinking of Chardonnay, cat pee and desperation. (for the record I prefer Gin & smell expensive, darling). The biggest thing I've learned is that being single aged 36 is actually rather exciting, unpredictable and utterly refreshing! The sense of freedom is incredible.
I'm 59, the eldest of four siblings, but have no partner and no children. A sense of inadequacy grows: what can I leave my nephews and nieces, and their children? I don't mean memories; I mean, what that is tangible and lasting, that I can equitably share among them? It's like feeling a phantom limb, a shadowy disconnect with future generations that I so ache to put right.
Feminists would take the stance that this is somehow to do with the male appetite for a younger model. Women are left alone fending for themselves after a marriage breakdown and fated to an existence of meals for one and loneliness whilst their ex partner enjoys the fruits of youth. The truth, however, is often less interesting than spin.