After a particularly bad speed dating incident with a friend of mine, I left feeling fairly deflated and through the (obviously one too many!) wine I wailed at the top of my voice ‘Oh my god I’ll never find the one’. My friend reminded me that I had only in fact been single for two months and if anything it was her turn next to find a possible Mr Right. So maybe I was over reacting, but why, when we get to a certain age, do we feel like the clock is ticking to find the one?
I keep trying to reassure myself that now is the time to concentrate on me, my career and anything else I have severely neglected over the past 10 years because men have got in the way, but somewhere in that stupid head of mine I seem to think that I need a man to make me happy.
And I know I’m not alone in my thinking - but why? Is it to prove to exes that we’ve moved on – like they have? And even if we do find someone else it’s not as though we’re going to appear at their front door with a speakerphone saying ‘ner, ner, ner ner, ner I’ve got a new boyfriend’, he’s cuter, smarter and nicer than you – so there!’ Then stamp on their foot and run away, because that would of course just be plain childish.
Or is it purely just to fit in with the status quo? When you’re nearing thirty you’ve surpassed those ‘lets have fun’ years and most of your friends are contemplating marriage and babies. Being the single one is like a zebra attempting to fit in with a herd of goats – the likelihood of standing out is quite probable.
Of course your now attached friends have all been there, worn the t-shirt and have felt like a spare part once in a while, but when I was newly single ALL my friends seemed to be happily, smoochly and deliriously in love. They dragged me out and promised that it wouldn’t be coupley, but of course I found myself speaking to a bunch of star crossed lovers by the end of the night - in fact I think I even heard the lonely chair next to me make a whimper or two.
And it’s not just my friends that I have to keep up with - as I stalk old university friends, school friends and work colleagues it dawns on me that half of them are now married, engaged or having sleepless nights because the little one has arrived. I even bumped into an old school friend the other day who said: ‘So have you had any kids or got married since I last saw you?’ – as I muttered under my breath that I was newly single she reeled off how she ‘can’t believe how quickly her young uns are growing up’. Her kids will probably be Mum’s before mine are even a twinkle in their daddy’s eye – that’s if I ever find him!
So did I miss the boat somewhere which was heading to grown up land? Or did I just fall off and wash up on single island? And if it’s as hard to escape from as the one on Lost I think I’m a bit screwed!
It’s not like I want any of that stuff yet. Having to look after a child scares the living daylights out of me, and how, when I feel like a teenager still can I possibly even fathom the thought of getting married? But when everyone else is doing it you sort of feel left out, it’s like being the only one who doesn’t go on that school trip – frankly it’s just not fair and you hate your parents for being so mean.
And yes now I mention them, parents don’t help keep the worrying at bay either. My Mum is quite frequently heard moaning, ‘When am I going to be a grandma god damn it?’ and conversations like how I should start considering freezing my eggs and which fascinator she’ll wear at my wedding aren’t a rarity.
I suppose it’s the whole ‘Bridget Jones generation’ – soon I’ll be singing at the top of my voice “all by myself, don’t wanna be all by myself anymore…” and accidentally making blue soup – but being single after a certain age is still frowned upon. It’s as though people think that to be whole you should be part of a pair and it’s probably drummed into us round about the same time we learn how to make a pineapple upside down cake and the ins and outs of algebra.
Maybe I’ll stop the clock for a while and just enjoy the view. After all I’ve got plenty of time to spend with the ‘one’ when I’m old and grey – maybe its just time to have some fun…… right?