Whilst sitting in the break room savoring a smoldering hot bowl of cold spaghetti, some of my coworkers were at the table talking about their lives, their husbands and their children. Their conversations flowed seamlessly through plans for family vacations, the cute things their kids said the night before, and the inherent, yet joyful, struggles of being in a relationship. All the while, I was across the table picking at my food and thinking about which bar to go to after work.
For over two years now I’ve been one of the only singles amongst my entire group of friends and family – most of whom I’ve had the pleasure of watching settle into serious relationships, matrimony, and even parenthood while I continue on as the lone proponent of singularity. Needless to say, I am not looked up to as the heroic, sole survivor of the love-bug pandemic that seems to have nearly wiped out the entire population – rather, I’m constantly questioned by friends and relatives about when I’m going let myself find someone special, settle down and join them in their pursuits of Sunday brunches, couples’ resorts, his-and-hers outfits, and usies.
Jokingly, I respond with a defiant, unyielding “no,” followed by a dramatic monologue highlighting the thrills and jubilations of being a single man out in the world. I boast about having no one to answer to, no one to beg permission from, no one to keep me from doing anything and everything that I want. But then I think to myself about having no one to binge-watch new tv shows with, no one to share Sunday brunch with, no one to join me on a random weekend getaway.
Obviously, there are pros and cons to being single – and I don’t aim to determine whether being single is good or bad, better or worse. I merely wish to balance the scales and help all the lone wolves out there find happiness in their currently blank relationship statuses.
Our years as single adults are the only times we’re allowed to be utterly, disgustingly and gloriously selfish. It is during this time that all of our decisions should be made in our own best interests. It is the time to decide what we want and need to do for ourselves – something that is difficult to do when in a relationship. It is a time for mind-blowing spontaneity – there’s an opportunity around every corner and this is the time for us to seize each one without the strain of having to consider another person’s goals, desires, moods or appetites. It is our time to be and do without hesitation, without dependency, and without compromise.
Though free from the shackles of union, a single man is still bound to certain duties and expectations – and these are not solely to rack up a high body count. Now this isn’t to say that every healthy, enterprising man shouldn’t make a goal of building a diverse and extensive collection of paramours; in fact, one of our priorities as single men should be to figure out how to get our genitals jostled by the cute girl across the bar, or the one you see at the cafe every morning, or the one sitting across from you on the train right now – because, if she’s down and you’re single, then there’s nothing to hold you back and nothing to impose any feelings of regret or guilt the next morning – unless you’re still foolishly relying on the ol’ “pull-n-pray.” But, after that’s all said and done, single men do have more important things to accomplish.
Happiness and freedom, I believe, are our most vital pursuits while single. It’s more than just the liberty to sleep around, but also the ability to learn to stand alone and function as a single unit. Man always has and always will require companionship; but before he can successfully align himself with his life partner, he must discover who he is as an individual. He must first build an identity for himself, so that his personality and character are not solely based on his relationships. That way, when he’s back out on his own, he’ll be able to survive.
Being in a relationship is great – you have someone who’s always there for a lazy day on the couch, a fat day stuffing your faces, or a passionate night in bed – but, being single is awesome! It’s just about figuring out how awesome you really are and doing everything that you want to do. Once you’re happy with yourself, then you can safely find someone to share that happiness with – and those are usually the relationships that last.