This weekend will be my first Valentine’s Day as a single adult woman. Woo! I will not be judging my boyfriend for being basic and buying me something default like a giant teddy bear. I won’t be going to see 50 Shades of Grey. I tried to read it and had to stop. Mind you I’m no snob. I read all four Twilight books, twice. And I regret nothing. But this was literally unreadable. Every page was filled with cringe.
Here’s my thinking about Valentine’s Day: It sucks. It’s a lot of pressure, for very little reward. I didn’t especially like it when I was in relationships. I’m still meh on it now. I think most people think like this, but it’s like a game of romance chicken, where neither person wants to be the asshole who didn’t do anything for Valentine’s Day. I read that women are more sad to be alone on Valentine’s Day than men. That’s probably because men are A. more relieved at dodging the expectations train, and B. excited about the prospect of women looking for self-esteem sex.
I maintain that there’s only one reasonable excuse for being sad on Valentine’s Day, instead of thrilled to avoid the considerable financial and emotional costs of culture-mandated “romance.” And that’s that you’re sad you’re not in a relationship in general.
I never, ever thought I’d say this, as someone who has been correctly described as “boy crazy” from a very young age, and “sex obsessed” after that. But I’m really happy to not be in a relationship, on Valentine’s Day and beyond.
This sounds sad as hell, I realize. I remember having a crush on a political science professor in college, as a nerdy young future political writer does. He was divorced, and lived alone in an apartment with his cat. I remember thinking it was the saddest existence possible. Now, divorced, living alone with no cat and not enough money for rent and furniture, I see Dr. Collins was onto something more than the Federalist Papers.
Living alone and being single is the shit. Really. Here’s why: Friends. They’re harder to make and keep when you’re putting a ton of time and energy into a romantic relationship. And being the socially awkward, self-centered, quirky person that I am, I really didn’t need the handicap.
The research backs me up. Single women are happier, healthier, and live longer. The reason is that they are more integrated into their communities and have a larger, tighter social circle. As for healthier, men take terrible care of themselves, and it rubs off on their partners.
There is one glaring drawback to singledom. Here’s where I’m going to keep it real for y’all. Because I love you. Sex is both harder to get and far lower quality. Those two things usually don’t go together, so it’s like a one-two punch in the vagina. I’m not saying it’s hard. It’s just harder than rolling over and touching a penis, which is generally all that’s required when you’re living with a man you’re in a relationship with. Or rolling over and smiling. Or just laying there and living your life. Sex mostly just happens when you’re in a relationship. But being single means I have to actually text someone, wait for them to come over, and then kick them out after. The kicking them out is definitely the best part, as sleeping alone is probably singledom’s biggest perk. But it’s also awkward.
This seems like a problem which could be solved. But it also seems like a bit of a trap. Here’s one of life’s great mysteries: How does one have consistently great sex with someone, but not end up on the hook for any of their emotional needs or with a consistent sleep partner? It’s like rolling around in a field on a beautiful summer day. Fun, until you get up and you’re covered in grass stains and/or hives.
If someone could point me to some kind of listicle on that, I’d be forever grateful. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve learned on the eve of my first single Valentine’s Day:
- Do something fun with your friends. I’m going to ISFLC, where I’m going to see a shit-ton of people who I love who live out of town. We’re going to party down. If you don’t have friends, now is an excellent time to make some.
- Own your shit. Charles Manson got engaged in prison. If you wanted to be in a relationship, you’d be in a relationship. Oh, you haven’t met the right person? Stop being a victim and take ownership of your life. You wouldn’t say you just haven’t met the right job, now would you? You’d go out and make do with whoever will take you who you like best until you find something better. Because you want a fucking job. If you don’t want a fucking relationship, that’s fine. But own it.
- Be the person you’d want to date. What qualities would you love your ideal partner to have? Do you have them? If not, why the fuck would they want you? As it turns out, opposites attract and the status/beauty tradeoff are mostly myth. In reality, assortative mating is the norm. Which means people choose people with similar levels of attractiveness, education, income, intelligence, social status, and so on. So be the person you’d want to be with and they’re going to be more likely to want you. Or, you might find out that being that person is more than enough for you. Either way, you win hardcore.