There’s a red plastic cup upside down on my kitchen windowsill. Underneath is a giant, ugly bug. It wasn’t moving when I placed the cup over its body, but I couldn’t bear looking at it or moving it. It was so big that I initially hoped it was really plastic and one of my roommate’s friends might have stuck it there as a practical joke and forgot to move it, but she was as surprised by it as I was. So there it sits.
In my bathroom, there’s a towel rack that I can’t hang anything on – if I do, it just falls off the wall.
It’s not that these are things that I couldn’t take care of if I really wanted to; I just haven’t gotten around to them. I’ve changed light bulbs, tightened the screw on the door of my bathroom cabinet, programmed my VCR and filled an almost-flat tire with air (although I did feel stupid for paying 50 cents for air). But there are some things that I just let go.
I think this is similar to the image of bachelors eating dinner out every night or letting laundry pile up in their closet.
There’s just too much to do and you can’t do it all.
I know this probably isn’t very politically correct, and there are probably some singles-rights activists out there who would vehemently disagree, but I don’t think we’re meant to be alone.
Married couples take for granted little things like always having a ride to and from the airport, having somebody else pick up their prescription from the drugstore when they’re sick in bed and somebody to help them hang a picture.
Singles have to depend on themselves.
Of course being single has its benefits too – the freedom to do what you want with whom you want, having regular doses of spontaneity and that anticipation of maybe today you’ll meet that special someone.
I was at a wedding in Vancouver a few weeks ago when this sense of anticipation reared its head. I was miles from home – not even in the same country – and throughout the evening aunts and cousins whispered to me, “I think he’s single…” about various men in the room. Nothing came of any of it, but it was fun to think of the possibilities.
If I marry a doctor, I wouldn’t have to worry about medical care. If I marry a lawyer, I wouldn’t have to worry about legal matters. If I marry a car salesman, I’d be driving a nice car. If I marry a carpenter, my towel rack won’t fall off the wall.
See? The possibilities are endless.
But knowing me, and the power of romantic movies on my imagination, I’ll probably marry for love. Which leads back to that feeling of anticipation and leaves me wondering whether or not my expectations are unrealistic.
I once expressed to a friend that maybe I’m too choosy when it comes to dating. Maybe I expect too much. He told me it wasn’t that it was having high expectations, it was just that I have high standards. That shouldn’t be a bad thing, right? After all, the decision to get married means that the intention is to spend the rest of your life with that person. That’s a pretty big decision, to say the least.
I think this is the idea that keeps many people I know single – the fear of making the decision to settle down with one person right before you meet the person of your dreams. A fear of settling with someone because you think it’s the right time, even though you suspect it may not be the right person.
I think this is a valid fear. It’s like eating a nonfat brownie. You know what you really want, but you know what you should do. And in the end, you’re not going to be satisfied because it wasn’t really what you wanted.
Is there a solution for this hesitancy? No. I guess at some point we have to evaluate our own situations and decide what sacrifices we’re willing to make.
Meanwhile, I guess singles will just have to stick together. Since Phoenix is such a transient town, many singles don’t have family here. Offer a ride to or from the airport. Offer to check their mail when they’re out of town. Invite them over for the holidays.
By the way, there’s a big ugly bug sitting in my kitchen that I’d love to get rid of….
This article first appeared in the June 7, 2002 issue of Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.