Dame Trot and her cat
Led a peaceable life,
When they were not troubled
With other folks’ strife.

Being single rocks. I wouldn’t get into a relationship now for all the tea in China. And that, I assume, is one heck of a lot of tea. Why is being single so great? Let’s start with the “no” column.

Lonely No bullshit.
No manipulation.
No picking up his clothes, his rubbish, cleaning the damn toilet after him.
No guilt trips.
No having to ask before agreeing to meet a friend, having to do things that he wants to do instead of what I want to do.
No negotiaotion, no compromise, no settling for less.
No ironing.
No emotional damage.
No having to be grateful that once a week he does a chore.
No wondering why, in spite of it all, I still feel so alone.

In short, most men are pretty hard to live with.

They* are lazy and selfish and they expect you to look after them, to care for their practical and emotional needs, to do all the daily grind of things they can’t be bothered to learn how to do. If I didn’t know it were true, it would astonish me to learn that there are still people out there, grown adults, who claim they can’t cook a thing. People living in the UK, who don’t know how to work a washing machine. People who can hold down a full time job in a complicated industry but expect to get away with saying that they cannot figure out how to change a nappy. Or iron a shirt. Who expect you to tolerate their rude, inconsiderate, selfish behaviour, and have the nerve to complain that you are snappy if they don’t think you do the job well enough.

They* are weak and insecure yet they dare not show it – so they spend their time bringing you down instead. Steadily, subtly, quietly. Whatever it may be, he blames you for being better than him, or mocks you for being worse. Whatever you are good at, becomes Less Important. Whatever he knows something about becomes More Interesting. Until, one day, without your even realising how he did it, you find that you have given everything and ended up as nothing.

[* “most men” – not “all men” – etc etc etc]

That’s the way of it. I was once in a relationship with a man who wasn’t like that. If another came across my path I might even consider un-singling. But let’s face it, men who are worth the hassle of learning to live with – they are pretty rare, no?

But let’s not just be negative here. Starting with the “no” section doesn’t mean there isn’t a yippetty-skippetty section, does it?

Lovehearts - single You can be who you want to be.
Even if that changes.
You get to do whatever you want, whenever you want.
That includes eating icecream out of the tub. Or pizza two nights running.
You get to spend huge amounts of time in your own company.
Antisocial hobbies.
(Like blogging.)
Hogging everything to yourself.
Even the utter, utter joy of being loved by your chlid. Or your cat, for that matter. If you have one.
Oh – and the sex is better too.

Who in the world would trade any of that? I will not sell my freedom cheaply – if at all.

Yet, hold on, how can this be? I’m not old or fat or ugly or a total cow or any of those other things that are supposed to mark you out as unloveable. Surely I could get a man? What’s wrong with me? See, people assume that I must be single because I am “unable to get a man”. Not true. In fact, despite the, ahem, handicap of being a single mother, I am fairly confident from past experience that I would have no trouble at all in getting a man. None. As long as I’m not too picky about which one, I mean. Trouble is, I am picky. My standards are high and I will not settle for anything less than a man who will both make my toes curl and simultaneously respect me as a human being and as an equal.

So I am single because I choose to be single. Partly because men are mostly rubbish – but also because being single is, yes, BRILLIANT.

See, I have a theory that the reason the world is so down on singledom is that they secretly know that being single is brilliant.

Most people are not single, and/or have invested their whole lives in the idea that being hooked up is the One Way to live a meaningful and satisfying life, so they are on the whole not open to the idea that being single is brilliant. To admit that being single could be anything other than a dry, lonely, empty existence is to admit that the struggles and pain they have gone through to make their relationship(s) work may not have been worth the effort. They may bear scars, these veterans of matrimony, but at least they’re not alone.

Newsflash: being single is not the same as being alone. Being single equals freedom, and that includes the freedom to make friends, to break friends, and to choose who you spend time with. To choose and re-choose and to learn and grow.

Newsflash two: being alone is not the same thing as being lonely. I’ve felt far more lonely in a relationship with a man who doesn’t understand me, even after years of trying, than sitting here ranting into the ether. Seriously.

Now, where did I put my cats?

Oh, yeah, I don’t have any. Does that mean I’m not yet doomed to be alone?