Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Heart-A-Whirl


Maybe I will just walk up to a happy couple and break their new ceramic mugs.

This was what I texted my friend Jess on the eve of the annual Northeast Minneapolis creative celebration known as Art-A-Whirl. I was anxious and ruminating over whether or not to go. Art-A-Whirl is one of my favorite Summer celebrations, but I have never gone to it alone. In the past, I have always been coupled up with a cool boyfriend who could talk about oil paintings and installations. 

This past weekend, I was forced to weigh my options: Suffer the potential pain of single art viewing amongst a lively hipster crowd versus the possibility of artistic/summer festival FOMO. I decided to go with FOMO.

Since ending a marriage and moving back to Minnesota from Chicago a few months ago, I've been forced into a variety of situations like this where I have to consider my ability to fit in while not fitting in. Before you start with "there are plenty of single people out there and it's just a matter of time until you find..." I'll politely ask you to stop and go read any other number of other more confident blogs that can teach you how to make organic blueberry rhubarb polenta pancakes or how to find the right daycare for your dog.  


This is a space for me to tell it like it is, good/bad/and ugly. And here is how it is: In my new Minnie world, it sucks being a single thirty-something woman. 

I was trying to explain this to one of my enthusiastic freshly-tindered-coupled young coworkers. It's like this: I am happy for you. It is great to see you with this new guy/girl and you guys look so happy doing vacationy and groupony activities and wow, that is the cutest little jumper you knitted for your new baby. BUT...

I have to ask. Where are my fucking people? Where are the divorced, despondent, petless, just-trying-to-accept-oneself and too-anxious-to-attend-summer-events people? These are the people I want to ask me how my weekend was when Monday rolls around. I want to unite with some lonely-ish people who are in transition and not sure how to spend their freetime. I want to talk to some people who have zero Netflix marathons going on with any significant others.

I want to talk to some people who are unsure of who to put down as their emergency contact (mine is my mom. Obvis.)

Yes, this is a time of growth, and it is a time for me to experience the other side of the coin, as I too was once a calm, coupled woman with pets. Growth is great, if you can stomach it. Tonight I reluctantly attended a work happy hour where no less that five people had significant others and dogs. There were six people at the table. I will let you figure out who that sixth person was.

I was in passive observer mode, looking on with shameful longing as the entire group of five held up their iPhone 6's simultaneously displaying pictures of their dogs. And, in a weird way, observing and appreciating this scene was cathartic. It was like watching a play where the tragic hero knows he is about to die but goes forth with dignity.

Because, here is the thing. I have not lost my dignity. Yeah, it's tough living in a binary realm of tiny tribes while my tribe is non-existent and I have a really bare tipi. And yet, I am the norm. No less than half of Americans are now single, and, in fact,
"The traditional family based around married couples is now the preserve of a minority with the number of single-adult households overtaking the number of couple households with dependent children, the census shows.
Figures from the official count show that married and civilly partnered couples, for the first time, now make up under half (47%) of all households – down from 50.9% in 2001." – Worstall, Tim (2014, September) The US Is Becoming More European: Half  of Adult Americans Are Now Single, Forbes Magazine
So, the statistics are on my side. I am the norm. More normal than coupled adults by a few percentage points, even. So, why then, do I still feel guilty/embarrassed/disappointed (read: shitty) about being single?

I think it has to do with evolution (dammit, Darwin). Evolution tells the lizard part of my brain that I better couple-up. And I better procreate while I'm at it. Otherwise, who is going to go out there and kill my buffalo??

From a modern perspective, being single is just harder. It takes extra effort to plan stuff and it takes a strong will not to feel meh about spending a weekend alone in comfy clothes. From my own experience, it is just more comfortable to be lazy alongside another human being.

There's really no solution to this. Or, if there is, please enlighten me on how you have evolved to maintain an ironclad confidence as you scroll through Facebook, gazing at an endless sea of baby pictures and weekends at the cabin. How do you deal? If you say Meetup, I'm leaving.

So, where my single ladies at? Where are you, dysfunctional bachelors? I think it's time we organize a happy hour (no, I don't want to play on your Singles Kickball League) and laugh it off over some non-craft-brew IPAs. Then, together we shall unite, arm-in-arm-in-arm, and next summer take on Art-A-Whirl with singledom zeal. 
Let's buy a whole kitchen cupboard full of ceramic cups and dishes, and then brake them at an all-night party, zero babysitters attached. 




2 comments:

  1. Authentically fucked up.
    What is the recipe? To try to destroy lover's lives in order to make your failures worthy?
    What filth in this.
    Shame on you.

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  2. Wow , enfin vient de réaliser cela était Vous . et vous ne pouvez plus voir mon chef , donc qui se soucie . Je suis absolument complète et fait avec vous , g . Vous êtes triste, triste , non traitée , mentalement [ activement ! ] Malade. Je te plains. Tu es petit. Adieu.

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