Tonight, while watching a dreadfully amazing TV show on Hulu (I have no TV and a 13 hour workday today called for some mind candy entertainment), something sparked in me the immense pleasure of being single (ok the "something" was a gay plot line involving a spring break cruise but it was still a spark!) I don't necessarily mean the love yourself love your time with yourself areas of being single (though those are meaningful in a very Eat, Pray Love sort of way) but the FUN, the candy cane swirl skippy and ironic Katy Perry California Gurl video times of being a single woman (yes, in Manhattan, but anywhere at all really).
Being single means possibility. It means that every guy in your vicinity, be he subway pole sharer or skinny jean wearer, grabbing his luncheon of meat or passing by on the street, every one is the potential to be your next great love. Or, your next great date. Or your next great oh-my-god-that-guy-smiled-at-me-on-the-street-and-I-am-totally-stalking-him-on-Craigslist-missed-connections. Being single means flirtatious looks in a coffee shop and fantasizing about what the guy reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being really thinks about Milan Kundera (I preferred the book of laughter and forgetting myself). It means flipping off your shoes and diving headfirst into a cartwheel in central park hoping he'll notice and pointing out men at brunch before dissolving into giggles with your girlfriends. It means controlling your future because it's yours to shape or choosing to let go completely because life could bring you any possible surprise. Being single means first dates and first kisses, first text messages and phone calls. It's going through every single possible outfit in your closet until your bedroom floor embodies a child's kaleidoscope eye and curling your hair into the curly Q's you always wanted since you watched Shirley Temple at age 6. It's loving the moments without feeling guilty and being sunshiney-freely open to that passing dandelion tuft and this penny on the street and their very cute green eyes.
Too often the stories of single women become plights of "finding the one," as if the entire point of being single is waiting for the next bus on the road to marriage is going to pick us up. I utterly admit to sometimes being exhausted with looking for the next big thing, the next man to know how I like my iced hazelnut coffee and to whom I don't have to explain the ins and outs of my work. (Admission, I emailed "George" again, I couldn't help it! I give up and admit I am really not so cool at this whole like thing). Sometimes I fear I choose to become relationship-ized (new fun word! I just made it up!) with men who I ultimately know aren't for me because of just wanting something to work out. Society tells us that is our end goal after all and even the books about single women almost always end up with a male lead towards the end. Someone please make the indie-rocker chick flick movie I like the best that ends with a happy fulfilled single woman who states the fact proudly that she has no man(s) without a "but" following implying the first half of the sentence needs some sort of qualification to make it ok. ie "I am single but I learned how to rock climb", or, "I am single but at least I got this new cute puppy." No! Just, I am single. Period. Or even an exclamation point, or two.
I think I forgot for a moment that this is what this quest is supposed to be about. Not finding a man but loving being single and the adventures and stories of those I meet on the way. Of unlocking keys and becoming giddy at dead fish and flirting (god it's just so darn fun to flirt, it just IS) with men and the city and life itself. It's not about loving a city or a person or yourself but loving life and catching every moment of it.
And, we've got to admit, that's a heck of a lot easier sometimes when you're single. Period.
PS. This blog post is dedicated to my amazing friends, Sally and Kim, both of whom have far beyond fulfilled their requisite gchat-about-a-guy hours in the name of friendship.Though neither of them are single at the moment, I could not imagine New York without them. You both teach me how to find pure-spun joy in every, every, moment.