When I was single, I spent a lot of time comparing how much better my life would be when I had someone in it: that I’d have someone to cuddle on the couch with, to kiss on New Year’s, to travel and eat and talk with. But, guess what? Being single has a heck of a lot of perks, too! Like the “tastes great, less filling” beer debate, there is no right answer, and if you’re looking at what’s in your glass right now, you may realize it’s fuller than you thought.
If you want a relationship, I’m all for it, and I think you should focus on the one you want in order to bring it into your life. I just don’t think you should get so caught up in hoping for the future that you forget to enjoy the fantab life you have now! After all, when you’re single…
1. “One” squeezes in easier than two. The other night, my single friend went to a stadium concert alone, fifteen minutes before it started, to buy a ticket. “Just one?” the vendor asked. My friend was about to feel insulted when the vendor offered him the grand prize: one “band seat,” a solo give-away that hadn’t been given, just one eighth-row center spot for the show. The fact is, being a “we come in a pair” couple limits your access to certain things. Being single, you can skip ahead of the rollercoaster line and squeeze in ten cars earlier. You can go to a movie five minutes after it starts and step on some feet for the one chair in the middle. You can also get the last seat on an airplane and the last space at a group table in Benihana where the family’s birthday party you’ve joined comes free of charge.
2. You can schedule—or unschedule—your life however you choose. Mmmm, pizza for breakfast and cereal for dinner. A workout on a Saturday night and a matinée on Sunday morning. Or a day of doing nothing on the front porch. Yes, of course you can do all these things when you’re coupled up, but does your partner always want to do them with you? Having cereal for dinner may ruin the plans your partner had to grill a steak. Working out may interfere with the music show you promised you’d see. Singles don’t have a “Lemme check with…” life, which means you can—and should!—break the rules for fun.
3. You don’t have to make crucial TiVo choices. With most TiVo devices, you can only record two shows at a time—and you have to watch one of them. So what happens when a couple in a relationship wants to catch Paula’s Home Cooking, Project Runway and a game on ESPN? It means someone’s stuck catching the highlights online later. When you’re single, you get to pick your favorite shows every single time! And that means you fellas can watch Paula Deen whenever you want.
4. You get to have a first kiss. You only have one chance to make a first impression and one chance to kiss someone for the first time. Yes, some kisses turn out froggy, but some are—how you feeling—hot, hot, hot. Don’t underestimate the awesomeness of it.
5. You can try on all the hats you want. Yes, you should love who you are and change for no one. But sampling some other worlds is like the Quantum Leap of love. I dated a jazz musician who took me to smoky little clubs in my neighborhood I didn’t know existed, and a chef who took me to dinner at tasting tables with his friends at 1 a.m. One of my girlfriends spent a few fun months dating a sailor, and another got into mountain climbing through a man she met. Of course you can try new things when you’re married, but singles get to step into the shoes of interesting experiences without planning to, simply because each new date brings someone brand new! Try on all the hats you want before you get comfy in just one.
6. You don’t have to explain your friends. We all have some friends who fit the outskirts of our personality a bit—like the one who always ends up as a drunk pile of heavy at the end of the night but still makes us laugh, or the friend who talks so much, you can only take her in small doses or big crowds. When you’re single, you can hang with your peeps, no questions asked. In a relationship, however, you do have to take your partner’s feelings into account. “Hey let’s invite my friends for dinner,” you might say. “Wait, the drunk and the one who talks too much?” your partner might ask. “I just don’t know if I’m up for that, babe.” Friendships inevitably expand, change and pare down in unexpected ways when you’re in a relationship, so enjoy going whole hog as a single person with every last one of your wacky friends now.
7. You have more time to kick butt at work—or at play. Much of the compromise that people talk about in relationships comes from the time itself you devote to spending together. Of course, you should want to spend a lot of your time with your partner, and when a relationship is right, what you choose to do together doesn’t even feel like compromise. But the quality minutes you would spend with a partner are, when you’re single, like bonus minutes! When those minutes are all yours, you can use them to do even better at work, to travel, to learn a language, to brew beer, to make soap, to learn a skill you’ll never need just because you can. Not only does this lead to a really full life, but you get to impress every date you meet—I mean, how many other beet gardeners has your date met this week?
8. You’re more open to trying new things. Yes, some couples are all about adventure. But when it comes to day-in, day-out, Monday to Friday living, we start to like what we like, and want what we want. Take for example, the common dinner quandry.
The Question: “Are you up for Mexican or Italian or do you have another idea?”
The answer from someone who’s single:
“Ooh, I don’t know, they both sound good. I’ll try either one!”
The answer from someone in a well-worn couple:
“Oh man, I don’t know. Not that Italian place for sure, I don’t like the bread they have. I wish we had good Italian near us. I definitely don’t want to go to the Mexican place by your work, though. I guess I could do the take-out one. Or maybe we should do Thai? Or we could always just get Greek salads again. I don’t know, I’m so hungry I can’t even think. I wish there was a BBQ place that delivered…”
9. You get good at everything. In a good relationship, you split the responsibilities of life: You divvie up for example, who does dishes, who monitors the savings account, and who waters the plants, hangs the curtain rods or acts as the go-to bug killer. When you’re single, however, this is all yours: You pay all the bills, check your own car coolant, level your own shelves, cook your own dinners and navigate your own way. It’s tiring, sure, but it’s good for you! That’s why people who hop from one relationship to the next will often say, “I think I just need to be single for a while.” Being single gives you full control and full responsibility to make your life as full as you want it to be.
10. You sorta feel like going out more. Do you realize how much the world has to offer? I mean, geez, the films, the theater, the museums, the parties, the festivals, the food…. And when you’re single, the world is your oyster, and perhaps the place you’ll meet your half-orange! Couples can obviously do all these things, too, but sometimes, sigh, they just don’t feel like it. It’s why all those celebrities give quotes to Us Weekly saying, “We’re boring, we just like staying in and watching TV together.” It’s a natural progression in a loving relationship: You enjoy each others’ company so much, you may not reach for outside entertainment to fill in the blanks as often as you used to. So if you’re feeling like you just want to go go go, and do do do lots of new stuff as a single person go for it. Follow the lead of your energy before you become, you know, like one of those boring celebrities.
11. You don’t know what’s inside your present. There are two kinds of kids: The ones who sneak into their parents’ closet to see what they’re getting for the holiday, and the ones who like to be surprised. But you know who has more fun on Christmas morning? The ones who don’t know what’s inside the package until they tear off that wrapping paper. Love is similar. Couples already know what’s in their box; yes, it’s the best gift they ever got, and they hopefully appreciate it every single day. But they are missing one thing: they know what’s in that box. If you’re single and you don’t know who you’re getting? Embrace the excitement of the uncertainty. The relationship you’re going to get is still a surprise, and you can smile now knowing that when you unwrap it, you’re going to have one hell of a great day.
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