Posted by: mdmusingsie | May 23, 2010

Is singil mé

I went to dinner at the Fairhill House Hotel in Clonbur (an fhairce – the diocese) – yes, this sleepy little town actually has a hotel.  I was surrounded by men.  There were a few couples in the bar having dinner, but where I was sitting it was about twelve to one. Now some would think that was a good thing, especially if you are single, like me.  However, these were men in their late prime and beyond.  This area is known for being popular with anglers, so it must have been time for the good old boys fishing trip.

This got me to thinking about being single.  I should know, I’ve had a lifetime of experience.  I’ve lost track of the number of married people who have told me I’m better off being single.  I’m still straddling the proverbial fence.  The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  There are pros and cons each way.  Let me preface the following list by saying that not all the cons nor all the pros exist in every person/relationship – they are merely things I’ve observed, and by no means is this an exhaustive list.

Pros to being single: 

  • No one expects me to whip up a homemade meal every night after a long day at work. If I don’t want to cook, I can microwave a bag of popcorn and be perfectly content – and do it every day for a week, if I so choose. 
  • Not having to answer to anyone – if I want to go to the store, movies, dinner with friends, weekend at the beach, etc., I am not required to inform anyone and/or seek their permission.
  • Solitude – Maybe because I’ve developed this way or maybe it’s part of my DNA but I believe I require more “me time” than most people
  • Not having to clean up after other people – or as my protagonist Aisling puts it, not having to empty someone else’s chamber pot.  (I’m not overly fond of cleaning at all and consider it nothing more than a necessary evil which I would sooner hire out than perform myself, financial situation allowing, which it frequently does not.  I’m by no means a slob; though I do consider cleaning up after myself the extent of my duties.)

Cons to being single:  

  • Travel penalties – ever try to book a cruise for one?  They charge you an additional fee which can be up to the cost of another person’s fare!  The second person sharing a room does not eat enough or dirty enough towels/sheets to justify the upcharge.  Same for hotels – especially in Europe.  Why do single people have to pay a different rate than two people sharing.  A room is a room – charge a room rate and if you want to charge extra for the person dirtying the other set of towels, say so – you have to change the sheets either way.
  • Cost of living – it is cheaper for two to live in the same abode as two people living in separate abodes (primarily if both are working).
  • Companionship – there are times when it’s nice to have someone to travel with, go to the movies, have dinner, talk about things, etc.; having said that, there is a strong need to find a balance between togetherness and solitude.

It would seem from the selection that I might be against marriage, which is far from the truth.  I just believe that marriage should be more of a partnership than it is in many relationships I’ve seen.  Good old boy fishing trips are just as essential as women only spa/shopping trips in maintaining a healthy relationship – we need that time alone or with other people to keep our sense of self.  These types of activities help shape our identities and give us new topics of conversation with our spouse/significant other.

As I approach middle age (whatever that is these days – halfway between life and death? – we are perpetually only a tablespoon of water away from drowning at any stage of our lives), one thing I have come to terms with is that I will never be a mainicín.  I am a Cabbage Patch swimming upstream in a sea of Barbie’s.  Having realized that, I no longer play the games that women play.  I don’t wear high heels – they are incredibly uncomfortable and if men think they are so sexy then why don’t they were them for a few days.  Many years ago I gave up pantyhose – a medieval torture device invented by men, as no women in her right mind would create something that is ruined at the slightest provocation from an errant fingernail and is as difficult to get into and out of as it is uncomfortable.   I even run to the store these days without contact lenses and makeup, though I do still indulge in these practices for most other outings – I can see better in contacts and my foundation does have a moisturizer and SPF to protect my skin (Rationalizing? Somewhat guilty, I’m not perfect).  I can dress nicely for special occasions without having to succumb to the “bed me” look (putting it in PG terms).

I no longer feel the need to be what someone else wants me to be.  Isn’t that the definition of fiction?  I am who I am, take it or leave it.  How many relationships/marriages have ended because “you’re not the person I thought you were?”  Ní mainicín mé agus ní aisteoir mé, ach oiread.

 If you want to get to know me, I am intelligent, funny, creative, loyal, but can also be sensitive and shy.  While we’re being honest, I am also fiercely independent and can be stubborn and temperamental as well.  If you only want to choose your books by their cover, that is your prerogative; however, if you are more interested in the content than the wrapper, maybe we can chat.

I suspect with this attitude I will likely never be married, but so be it. I would rather focus my energies on creative endeavors that may last longer than a woman’s beauty than spend them cooking dinners and emptying chamber pots. 

Do I miss the constant companionship?  Sometimes.  Would I trade in part of my solitude for it?  Maybe, if the right person comes along.  I’m not holding my breath.

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