First, it pertains to daily life in a way that everyone can relate to. Kate the Peon tends to bear all in her posts, which is one of the things I really like about her. Today she posted on an encounter over last weekend where she shared a bed with an acquaintance.

In a former life I’d been in situations of that sort. On one hand it gets my heart thumping a bit just reading it, and on the other hand it makes me quite glad that I don’t have to worry about such things anymore. I wasn’t built for the single life. Even when I was single. If I hadn’t had a girlfreind throughout most of my college tenure, I probably would have exploded.

My nigh-extant coworker Marc was telling me the other day about this woman that he was interested in. This was significant because Marc rarely talked about such things. It turns out that it’s not a privacy issue so much as it is an issue of a lackluster romantic life. It’s odd because Marc is extremely charismatic and attractive enough for the movies. Turns out that he’s just really picky and a girl of interest only pops up into his life every year or two, but rarely more frequently than that.

Anyway, so he was talking about this love interest that he dated a while back. She emailed him out of the blue and they started talking again. His interest was piquing, but she unbeknownst to him she was about to get married. Somewhat uneducated in the ways of women, he was educated by a couple of his chatty peers. They said that it’s not uncommon for someone to dip their toe in the water before making a big commitment. He was actually somewhat delighted to be considered “Plan-B.”

Ahh well, in another year or two someone else will come around for him.

I’ve never had a high tolerance for ambiguity. Both Kate’s and Marc’s story exemplifies everything that I hated about being single. There was a lot of excitement, but the “excitement” came from the ambiguity that I hated. That moment when you don’t know if she likes you as much as you like her (or him, obviously). Exciting, I guess, but terrifying. Ideally I like there to be meaning in the world, and most of my downtime between stable relationships was spent on meaningless things.

It’s interesting how I get further and further away from being involved in that lifestyle even second-hand. If I look at my five closest male peers from my high school and college years, three are married, one cohabitating, and one dead. My three most serious exes are a bit of a different story, but you have to keep in mind that they had to be screwed up enough in the head to date me to begin with.

When Julie and I were dating back in college, it was something of a novelty that I was in a serious relationship. None of the above were in a serious relationship nor had even had a serious one. It was in many ways decidedly inc0nvenient. Partially because she didn’t get along with any of them, but also because I was out of that entire race. I was, it seemed, fixed for life. I couldn’t go skirt-chasing and if I was flirting it wasn’t cool but rather a controversy.

The tide on that turned within a year of Julie and I parting ways. Suddenly I was making friends with people decidedly older and more settled down than myself. They were in relationships and instead of having an inconvenient appendage, I was a third or fifth wheel. Intermittently there was Evangeline, but the more presence she had in her life the more lonely I felt. It’s odd and hard to describe. Even in a relationship, I was unhappy. It didn’t count.

Then, in the same year that I met Clancy, three of the five friends met their either wives or practically-wives. Unbeknownst to us, we were all working on a pretty similar timeline. We were all ready to leave that phase of our life behind. The ambiguity, anyway.

There have been times when my relationship, engagement, and marriage to Clancy have been less than ideal. There have even been times when I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it and I’ve had to look very seriously at the prospect of being single again. When I had similar thoughts with Julie years ago, part of me really lamented the fact that I wouldn’t be able to see what else is out there. Then I found out.

A wise man once said that nothing is ever so consistently overestimated as the opportunity cost of being married.

Category: Coffeehouse

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10 Responses to Happily Unsingle

  1. Barry says:

    I’ve never really known what it’s like to be single outside of college. My wife and I started dating my senior year at Tennessee, and we got married a couple years after we graduated. My college dating experience before I met her was fairly excruciating in its futility – I could never figure out what women wanted from a relationship, regardless of what level. Either casual date or exclusive, the only two or three women I happened to date more than once lost interest in a week or so. And the ones I couldn’t get occupied my thoughts for so long they became distractions. And finally the one I actually couldn’t have was the worst situation of all.

    But it’s all behind me now, and I am extremely fortunate to have found the one I was waiting for all along 🙂 Oh, and we just celebrated year #13.

  2. Kate the Peon says:

    You know, it’s funny. For some reason (and damn do I wish I knew what that reason was), I was the recipient of much male attention this weekend. Nice, right? Flattering, right?

    Well…sorta. Two of the guys were married. Not good. One of the guys is recently divorced (as in, within the past two months) and just plain not someone I’m interested in pursuing. Another guy is an old friend, firmly entrenched in a seemingly stable and happy relationship.

    What I don’t know if my readers know about me is that I hate dating. I’m horrible at it. I don’t do much of it, and that’s partly because I don’t feel I do it well.

    What I think they do know (though I’ve stopped saying it because I got tired of my own whining) is that I really really want to find someone SINGLE who I can mold, meld, mingle with. Yes, my current lifestyle can be exciting at times – that anticipation, that pursuit, that ambiguity – it can all be fun, but I’d give it up in a second.

    Ack. Sorry to babble.

  3. trumwill says:

    Barry, that sounds quite familiar, it does :).

    Kate, you can be a hard person to read on your blog, so I wasn’t sure whether or not you enjoyed it all or not. I didn’t mean to imply that you did.

    My dating life used to go in waves. A month or two with no prospects followed by a month or two with notable quantity but lackluster quality. I look back on it with a smile and a chuckle, and I’m glad to have gone through a lot of it, but overall not a time in my life that I’d ever like to go back to. The only times I do wish I could go back would be to do certain things a little differently (not to game outcomes, because I like the ultimate outcome, but to save myself some wasted time that could have been spent doing something more productive.

  4. Kate the Peon says:

    Hard person to read, or you mean the blog is hard to read? Someone was going to fix my template a few months ago, but I never heard back from him on that.

  5. trumwill says:

    I was referring to you, not the blog (the template nor the very good writing thereon). I get sometimes contradictory impressions of you sometimes. That comes with becoming the reader of a blog midstream, though. I often wonder how what my (dear three) readers think me compares to how I really am, if that makes sense.

    I’m sure that he’s been meaning to look into the template but just hasn’t had the chance due to an either increased workload or complete and utter laziness.

  6. InterstellarLass says:

    I’ve never really been ‘single’. Then, against my will, I was. So, for awhile there I thought I would try this whole ‘single thing’ out, but I didn’t like it. Dating is so complex and there’s all these stupid rules. It’s enough to drive me crazy! Fortunately I think I’ve found someone worthy of me, and I’m enjoying this ‘dating’ thing. Because now we’ve gotten past all the ‘stupid rules’. 🙂

  7. trumwill says:


    Sometimes I think that the only reason Clancy and I made it is because we both broke all the rules very early on so we had no hope of winning “the game”. Otherwise, I’m sure I would have screwed it up somehow. Or she woulda :).

  8. Kate the Peon says:

    I knew who you were referring to. I just couldn’t resist the lead-in. 🙂

  9. Becky says:

    Like Kate, I abhor the process of dating, quite frankly. I think a lot of it comes from that ambiguity that you mentioned. I’m really straight forward and if I’m interested, I let the guy know. If I’m unsure, I let him know. However, I continually find myself in situations where I apparently misread him. Meeting someone for the first time and talking for four hours doesn’t apparently mean an interest to at least date. The other thing that is such the fad right now that is really a cop-out to me is the idea of “friends with benefits,” so now even if a guy kisses you, you don’t even know if that’s a legitimate interest or just a physical thing. Needless to say, I’ve been learning my lessons on all this, but I still hate it.

  10. trumwill says:

    Becky, I haven’t decided whether the Friends With Benefits thing is a perfectly rational approach to satisfy respective needs in a mutually beneficial manner or a blight on intergenderal relationships that gives cover to ungentlemanly and unladylike behavior.

    I do know, however, that I don’t know a single person that has engaged in it regularly without someone getting hurt along the way.

    Sometimes I wonder if we are so conned by societal norms that we simply refuse to detangle sex and emotion or whether we’re foolish to believe we can detangle it despite repeated evidence to the contrary. 🙂

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