Things Single People Want You to Stop Saying to Them

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I’m single. I’ve been single for over two years now, following nearly 9 years of steady not-singleness.

I enjoy my life. I am having more fun now than I’ve ever had. I’m satisfied with how things are but I’m still open to possibilities and change. I don’t feel like I need a relationship, but I’d be open to one with the right person. So people gotta stop hitting me up with questions and statements like these…

(Note: Not a fan of sarcasm? Stop reading.)

1. How come you’re still single?

Ummm… I’m not sure. I’m fundamentally unloveable, I guess. That and I have really ugly feet. Seriously, how am I meant to answer that? The implication is, of course, that I should be in a relationship. Well, let me get right on that by steadily dating the next guy I meet for eight and a half years, all the while reminding myself that my complete lack of joy is ‘normal’ and that ‘this is what people do.’ Cause that worked out so well the first time.

2. You’re so lucky. You can sleep with whoever you want!

Ok, firstly it’s whomever I want. And secondly, OMG WHO TOLD YOU?! You’ve stumbled across the biggest secret of the universe. Yes, simply by being single I have inherited a magic power that enables me to bed all of the handsome and otherwise desirable men who cross my path. One bat of the eyes and they succumb to my will. My only problem is deciding which male model to go home with. “A single woman who wants to sleep with me?” they all think. “Well, there’s just no way of knowing if I’ll ever find one of those again! Better go home with this one just in case.” This is why I’ve slept with so many successful businessmen-slash-humanitarians who look like Hugh Jackman, play cello and spend every other weekend in a log cabin that they built themselves with their strong yet tender hands, and have never hooked up with a chubby, chinos-wearing hobbit in a bunk bed.

3. I wish I was single.

BREAK UP. Problem solved. Oh, what was that? You don’t really want to be single because you love your partner and they love you, it’s just sometimes you wish that your life had fewer responsibilities and more freedom and you want to have your cake and eat it too? Well fuck you. I wish I was shorter. But I don’t really want to stop standing out in crowds and being able to reach stuff on the highest shelf in the pantry without a step-ladder, I just want my pants to fit better. We all got our wishes.

4. Have you tried online dating?

What even is that? I’ve been living in an Amish community for the past ten years and had no idea that people were now using social media as well as specifically designed websites to communicate with one another for the purposes of dating! What a revolution. It must be so easy to find your lifelong love these days – he’s only one click away! That is, if you don’t mind sifting through thousands of boring, stupid or inappropriate messages and requests from guys who pose with their cars and take shirtless bathroom selfies (the mirror kind, where you can see their phone) for their profile pics only to convince yourself that it’s not a compromise to date a guy who wears sneakers with jeans even though he is a lot heavier than he appeared in his picture, and that the relationship that he has with his mother is super normal and you’re so glad she’s joining you at the drive-in cinema tonight and no, of course you don’t mind sitting in the back because mother needs the lumbar support of the passenger seat for her bad back. *sigh* Yes. I’ve tried online dating.

5. Are you putting yourself out there?

What the hell does this mean? Do I go out to places where other single people will be? Yes. (It’s called “the world.” I live there.) Do I brush my teeth before I go out to these places? Usually. Am I ‘approachable’? …Huh? Lost me there. Am I a horse now? Are the men afraid that if they come towards me from the wrong angle or make a sudden move I’ll get skittish and kick them? I’m a girl in a bar wearing makeup and smiling who’s not standing with a guy. Pretty sure that makes me ‘approachable’.

6. Don’t worry. You’ll meet someone.

Oh, good! I’m so glad you said that. For a moment there I thought I’d never meet anyone! You’ve obviously worked out that the main cause of worry in my life is the fact that I am single, and that I am super obsessed with the idea of meeting someone, because, lets face it, no one who is single could actually be happy in themselves or feel like a complete person. You’ve taken a real weight off my shoulders. I no longer have any reason to feel worried. You are the best.

7. Maybe you’re too picky.

Yes, you’re right. An unintelligent, slovenly uggo like me should really start casting my net a little bit wider if I’ll have any hope of finding a man who will be willing to love me despite my many and obvious flaws. I absolutely should stop valuing myself and ignoring any obvious absence of chemistry or common ground in favour of just getting me a gosh-dang boyfriend already. From now on it’s rooster time, boys: any-cock’ll-do.

8. It will happen when you least expect it.

So will the backhander you’re eventually going to force me to give you. Hope you’re not too attached to your teeth.

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Over

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Regular readers of my blog may have noticed that the posts have dried up a little of late and have contained very little in the way of dating exploits. This is because for the last six months I have been wholeheartedly devoted to a crush I developed on a friend of a friend. Let’s call him Mark. It’s not his real name. I’ve changed it to protect his privacy, which when you think about it is a kind of weird thing to do because anyone that reads this who knows both of us will know exactly who I am talking about. Anyway, we’ll call this the tale of my fruitless crush on Mark. (Sorry for the spoiler. But no, it doesn’t end well.)

Things began harmlessly enough when after a friend’s celebration drinks Mark and I engaged in a night of heavy-duty dance floor pashing, which developed into some lightweight grinding and a mutual admission that we were gagging to go through with the deed, had either of us been sober enough to carry it out. We exchanged numbers, he texted that night and again the next day, and I proceeded to plan our wedding in the spring of next year and worked out how to break the news to mum and dad that I’d fallen for a ginger. Well, maybe not. But you get the idea – I was falling hard and fast, and as the girls from Geordie Shore would say, there was definite ‘fanny flutter.’

We went on a date two weeks later, a stroll around the museum followed by a walk through the park and an afternoon drink in a beer garden. I was more nervous and more awkward than I have ever been on a date. More convinced than ever that I liked him, I was frustrated by the fact that he was so impossible to read. Blessed with a string of awkward social conditions, Mark’s on-date cues were not like those of other guys. I had no idea if he was interested in me beyond the initial attraction we’d felt that first night. I spent the walk back to my car shedding actual tears of frustration, genuinely unsure whether the date had been a total success or a complete failure.

In the meantime Mark’s fledgling career as a full-time entertainer (nothing suss, I just don’t want to put his actual job title on here because then even more people will know exactly who I’m talking about) began to take off. He was busy with gigs every night and filming for various projects during the day. He had been booked on a tour around parts of Australia that would take the better part of a month and would be heading overseas to perform for another month after that. Our second date was supposed to take place a few days before his tour left but he sent me a text a few hours beforehand saying he had too much work to do, and asking to reschedule. Taking this as a sign that he was not really as interested or as invested as I was, I pulled the pin by replying with a text that said we might be better off leaving things as friends. He was very apologetic but confirmed that he was really too busy to catch up before leaving but that we should stay in touch.

About a month later he was still on my mind as I meticulously groomed and dressed myself to attend a mutual friend’s party. I’d kept in touch with some light banter and Facebook stalking and was secretly hoping he would be there. I feel it’s important to inform you here that somehow in the midst of this crush I reverted to the sensibilities and emotional vulnerability of a high school girl, which might help you to understand some of my behaviour and thought processes outlined below.

Mark walked in late, after a gig, by which time I had gotten completely drunk in an effort to overcome the fact that I only knew two people at the party and was mingling with people I had seen on TV but trying to pretend I wasn’t giddy over meeting. He made a beeline for me as soon as he arrived and stuck to me like glue. Before I knew it, he was leading me upstairs to make out on his friend’s bed until – shamefully – we were politely asked to cut it out and come back downstairs. I was stoked that he was still interested. He confessed that he’d been stalking me on Facebook too (romantic, I thought) and had missed me while he’d been gone. But I was determined not to return to that unknown quagmire of middle ground with him, especially after rolling around on a bed upstairs at a party. I needed some form of assurance. I wanted us to be “seeing each other,” not just friends who liked each other and got drunk and made out at parties. His perception of things was slightly (completely) different – he was about to go overseas for the first time, he wasn’t sure what was going to happen, couldn’t we just have fun? No. No, we couldn’t – because I actually liked him and it would make me feel used. As I got up to walk away I fell for the oldest trick in the book: I like you too. I want to be with you.

Ecstatic, I continued to mingle at the party, convinced that we had reached a mutual agreement, that we were now officially “seeing each other.” As I excitedly relayed this news to my friend Luce, she gently grasped my arm and looked at me with earnest and sorrow. “Amelia. He just tried to kiss me in the other room. I’m so sorry.”

What. The. Fuck. I know I said I felt like I was back in high school, but come on! I wish I could say I laughed it off, shook myself free of those feelings and spent the rest of the party with my dignity intact. I really, really wish I could. Of course, instead I cried. A lot. I was literally so black-out drunk that I don’t remember much of what happened after that point. I was inconsolable. I remember crying in the bathroom, in the kitchen, outside in the alley beside the house (at which point Mark approached in an attempt to either console me or apologise and I screamed at him to ‘fuck off and never touch me again’) in the back garden, in the taxi, in my room. I woke up the next day feeling hurt, humiliated and hungover. My eye sockets were so swollen and puffy they resembled testicles, but at least I was saved by the grace of the memory-loss that accompanies such an extreme level of drunkenness. Until I checked my phone.

It was mortifying.

I had sent him no less than four texts since the shit hit the fan, at which point he had apparently taken my advice to ‘fuck off’ and left the party. They were garbled, juvenile and excruciatingly embarrassing. I immediately deleted my message history and sent a quick text asking him to do the same thing, then I crawled into a hole and died. Later that day he texted back with an apology for getting so out of it and asking if I pulled up ok. Part of me was relieved that he was pretending none of it happened. Part of me was outraged that he wasn’t attempting to explain himself. I was rational enough to figure that there were probably huge chunks of information missing from his memory as well, and I made a decision that I would talk to him when I’d had a few days for everything to settle.

After running the entire scenario past two of my wisest girlfriends and deciding that the best and healthiest option for all concerned was to try and pretend the whole night had never happened, I rang him the following weekend. He admitted that he couldn’t remember much and agreed that it was best to forget the whole thing. He suggested we catch up before his overseas flight which was in a few days time, but I wasn’t ready yet. I told him we’d grab a coffee when he got back.

While he was gone, my hurt disappeared and my feelings returned. I followed his updates on FB and smiled when I saw his face on TV. I went on a few dates with guys I met online but my heart wasn’t in it. I still liked him  a lot. I decided to bite the bullet when he returned and called him to organise a date. Nothing too serious, just an afternoon coffee. I left feeling really positive. It was so nice to see him, we had plenty to talk about, nothing was awkward. I took his flirty banter and the light kiss he planted on my lips as we parted ways as indications that he was still interested. I felt like finally, we were on the same page. I was determined not to get ahead of myself this time but I was excited to be in that particular moment of uncertainty where you feel the possibility of something developing. It was a really nice feeling.

It lasted a bit over two weeks. I attended his birthday drinks last night, excited to see him. I’d carefully chosen the perfect token-and-meaningless-but-secretly-the-result-of-very-careful-planning gift complete with last minute gift-wrapping made from a page out of a Good Guys catalogue. He kissed me on the lips, gave approving looks and complimented my haircut. He seemed to enjoy the gift. He gave me all of three minutes of his time, then proceeded to avoid eye contact with me for the rest of the night.

Luce (ever the bearer of bad news – poor thing!) soon informed me that she’d just been speaking to one of Mark’s colleagues who’d informed her that he had been reveling in his newly found fame, regularly hooking up with a different girl after each gig whilst keeping others (myself included) on the back burner. Obviously this was not the outcome to the evening I was hoping for. I was disappointed; in him, in the way things had turned out, in myself for overlooking the obvious earlier indications that there were serious flaws in his character. I was upset that I’d wasted six months waiting for something that was never going to happen and frustrated that I’d invested so much in someone so undeserving.

Now here’s my problem – how do I get over someone I’ve never actually been under? I feel betrayed even though I haven’t been. I feel like I need closure but I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing how much I actually liked (or, more accurately, like – it’s hard to switch that shit off) him.

I made a start last night by leaving without bothering to say goodbye. Oh, and before we left Luce reclaimed the book I’d given him as a birthday gift. Let’s call it a spoil of war.

Dibs

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As an eldest child of only two, and the eldest grandchild, I have never been very good at sharing. I still remember being seriously chastised at the age of five for consuming a good four-fifths of a huge pink iced donut I was supposed to split with my brother before he even got so much as a crumb. I came into this world with a sense of entitlement that I have maintained through my entire life; be it my insistence as a small child that my brother and I be referred to as “Amelia and Joe,” with my name always the former, or my absolute rage when anyone drives slightly too slowly for me to be able to slip behind them in the left lane without braking.

This sense of entitlement extends to my social outings, where I immediately assume the “shotgun” position in the car regardless of who is driving, take the prime seat at a restaurant table with my back to the wall and take the first petit four when dessert is delivered to ensure I don’t get stuck with the boring cakey-looking one. Selfish? Perhaps. But in my mind these acts of, let’s say ‘assertion,’ are perfectly justifiable. My height prevents me from sitting comfortably in most back seats. I have a higher-than-average bum crack and prefer to seat myself in a position less likely to result in overexposure from my ill-fitting jeans. As a glutard I need to be sure that the deliciousness of any desserts I consume far outweighs the unpleasant and inevitable gastric consequences.

I also have a habit of calling “dibs” as a way of laying claim to whatever it is I feel that I am entitled to; be it the exclusive rights to exchange flirtatious eye contact and body language with an attractive man sitting on the other side of the bar, first use of the microwave during the mad lunch rush in the office or claiming the character of “Rachael” when my friends are discussing which member of the cast of “Friends” best suits them. (In reality I am far more of a “Ross;” however, I strongly feel that if anyone is going to be cast as the “sexy” one in the group it should be me.)

Often this same feeling of entitlement manifests as indignation at the behaviour of others;

In the public gardens: How dare those children run through the park, shrieking with laughter. CAN’T THEY SEE I AM READING A BOOK HERE?!!

 Listening to the radio: You said you’d play the new Mumford and Sons song after 8 o’clock. It’s 8:09, who the hell is running this joint?

At the checkout: Stop making small-talk and smiling at everyone and bag those groceries, bitch! I’ve got 10 minutes to get home before the Biggest Loser starts!

At the gym: Your breath stinks. You are puffing stinky breath all over the place and it’s throwing off my pace. GO AND USE A TREADMILL FURTHER AWAY FROM ME!

At home: You used the last clean saucepan, and now I have to wash my dishes from last night before I even get to start cooking my dinner. Thanks a lot.

At a concert: I don’t care if you can’t see past me because you’re short. Get here earlier or get a proper set of legs, you stumpy excuse for a human being!

In a bar: What, I’m supposed to wait in line like a chump without so much as an offer to buy me a drink? So this push-up bra means NOTHING to you people?!!

At the movies: Oh, great, I get to hear this guy next to me chewing popcorn through the whole movie while this other jerk in front of me keeps angling his head to the side like an idiot. Just sit still and put your stupid large head on its normal axis. I came here to watch a movie, not be distracted by some idiot’s weird head movements.

The feeling of entitlement also extends to situations where I have not been included in a joke or prank. There have been times where my friends or colleague’s secretive murmurs and satisfied smirks (the kind that only come with the gratification of being involved in an “in” joke) have sent me into internal fits of rage where I go rampantly smashing all the crockery and porcelain figurines in my mind-hutch with the figurative cricket-bat of fury until all that’s left are sad little imaginary fragments of china elephants and delicately painted tea-cups and a white-hot sense of wrath.

I can’t be sure where this prerogative came from or why it sends me into such uncontrolled eruptions of temper. All I know is that if you take the last Tim Tam, steal my corner position on the couch when I get up to pee or forget to buy milk on the day that I need to borrow some to make pancakes: you’re in for it.