There’s a type of single person that defies the old stereotypes. They’re bold, strong, secure and enjoy a kind of freedom you don’t see in your coupled friends.
Anderson Rise / 123RF Photo
I couldn’t tear my eyes away from him. It was less to do with his appearance and more the fact that he was straddling his girlfriend in public. And when I say public, I mean that strip of grass down the middle of the street.
He was sitting on her back, giving her a slow, loving massage. The two of them glimmered in the 1 p.m. sun. It struck me that he must be pretty in love to do this. Only mad dogs and ferociously besotted couples go out in the midday sun.
When I realized this, I felt what all single people feel when they see true love. Angry. Why can’t I have that? Then I was sad. I’ll never be so happy … Then I was resigned. Ah well. Guess I’ll just go to the supermarket. I can’t have a sun-soaked lover but I can have a sun-dried tomato.
Yes, true, not all single people would do that. There is one type of single person who would probably walk past and smile indulgently about young love. The Happily Single Person. They are the people who are perfectly fine being single.
In fact, they rather like it. They don’t get jealous of couples, they don’t get insecure about their singledom, and they certainly don’t get hysterical over massaging couples.
I don’t know many Happily Single people. Most of my friends are Dissatisfied Singles. We’re not morbidly depressed lemmings, eating our body weight in fudge every night and wailing at our empty Saturday nights. We would just … like a relationship.
However, a few days after I saw this oily display of love, I became friends with a Happily Single Woman. She’s 40, gorgeous, highly successful, has a swish flat, complete with shiny coffee machine and rides motorbikes. And since meeting her I know what I want. I don’t want to be a Happily Attached Person: I want to be Happily Single Person.
Why? Yes, being happily attached would be lovely. But being a Happily Single Person is more impressive. They’re bold, strong willed and secure. They laugh in the face of loneliness, the need for validation and peer pressure. Let me explain.
Single people normally end up doing things on their own. They live on their own, they travel on their own and there has always been one awkward night at a couples party. They are forced into things that everyone sees as a bit … lonely. However, Happily Single People don’t mind this. They see living on their own as a sign of independence, traveling alone as a chance to explore themselves, and couples’ dinner parties as a good way to gather DIY tips.
They’ve gone through all these “difficult” experiences, things that couples avoid and unhappy singles dread, and they’ve remained chipper.
Just going through all these things alone takes courage. Enjoying them shows some serious self-confidence. It says, “Yes, I’m doing this on my own. But I know that I’m awesome, and I’m not going to let feeling of self-consciousness stop me from having a good time. Pass the ketchup.”
Happily Single People are impressive because they have never compromised their standards. There is still a lot of pressure, at all ages but especially after 30, to just settle. But staying single is a sign that you understand what you want, and are not prepared to settle for any less. That’s prioritizing your needs over social etiquette and pressure. It’s gutsy and impressively self-aware —the Lena Dunham of social maneuvers.
And lastly, people can often get into relationships because they are insecure. I am terrible for this. I know that I’ve got into a lot of relationships because I need to prove that someone wants me. I need to show everyone I can snag someone. I need someone to validate me. Happily Single People don’t do this. They look for other ways to find self-validation, like their career or volunteering. Not only is it brave to reject conventional markers of self-validation, it’s also probably healthier. It doesn’t make someone else responsible for the problem, but seeks an independent way to solve it.
This is what should be at the end of every fairy tale — and then they lived happily single forever after. To be Happily Single is to be brave and unconventional. And, ironically, that probably makes you more attractive and dateable.
Copyright © Verity Johnson
Verity Johnson is a writer, speaker, Leo, and part-time hypochondriac. When she’s not Googling diseases she’s performing comedy, writing bad jokes and nursing a failed career as an RnB singer. You can find her at verityjohnson.com, bulk buying cereal in Pak- n-Save or bashing away at her weekly column for New Zealand’s national daily, the New Zealand Herald – which is where we discovered her article about “How To Be Happily Single.”