From Recovered Party Girl to Posh Couch Potato, can one girl reform her “single life” rut?
I’ve always loved my single life. Scratch that — I’ve always loved my life. Thinking about it as a single girl’s existence usually only came up when in the company of coupled people. That’s when I most often found myself pattering on about if there was someone new, special, or worthy of the “we.” If there was, I committed to blushing gushes about “the guy.” If not, it was stated, then we rolled on to other topics –– and there were plenty of other topics. My life was full, and the “single” aspect of it was just one aspect. I was open to whatever couplings life brought — including the ultimate coupling, my husband — but I didn’t trick myself into prioritizing something I was not ready for.
As a child and into adulthood, I thought about –– even fantasized about –– my wedding. But it was more the magazine spread edition: what I would wear, where it would be, what that first kiss as a married couple would look like. It was like I was always planning the Instagram post. I know, I know, I can already hear the mumblings of “this is why we have a 50% divorce rate in this country.” What I am trying to say is: aware that I wasn’t ready for the complexity and depth of marriage, it was easiest to focus on the surface –– the wedding.
In my twenties, as friend after friend paired off into ever-after, I eagerly planned bridal showers, enthusiastically performed bachelorette duties, and loved getting lost in the romance of the wedding day. But I never felt the pressure to find dates for weddings or events, or to be paired off myself. My life was about entertainment and work — far too often, in that order. I loved only having to think about me — who I wanted to visit, what country I wanted to live in, what jobs I wanted to take. I loved the get-up-and-go freedom of single life, and I considered myself a “girl on the go.”
My closet was packed with sassy dresses and flirty heels to support my “living it up” lifestyle and, when I couldn’t afford a new “look”, I prided myself on my ability to construct a ballgown from a tablecloth and a safety pin. I didn’t have to consult anybody when I decided to move to London for grad school, or when I decided to move back.
And this freedom went for the tough times, too. When a family member was involved in a serious car accident, I didn’t have to consult with anyone to move to be closer to them, and when I found myself in debt after two unexpected surgeries, I didn’t have to consult with anyone to move in with my parents to get out of it.
I was only responsible for myself, and it was up to me if I wanted to honor or ignore that responsibility. Sometimes, the choice was a coin toss.
With all of this, I did assume marriage would come along around late-twenties/ early-thirties and whisk me into the land of Mr. and Mrs., and I was happy for –– if not running towards –– that day. It was in the back of my mind but living there comfortably with proper attention paid every year come wedding season.
The years passed — twenties turned into late twenties, which turned into early thirties, which turned into, well you get it. One day I looked up and the majority of my interests had changed.
I was plenty entertained by Netflix and UberEats. My closet chock-full of “flirty heels” had dwindled to three, somewhat dusty, pairs, the rest replaced by an array of flats (some bedazzled, for when I was feeling fancy). When I did choose to go on vacation, more often than not it was to my parent’s house, where all my siblings, nieces, and nephews would gather for movie marathons and momma’s cooking. I was settling into a different kind of single life, one that was comfortable, predictable, rewarding in ways, but not at all interesting or exciting (unless you count the excitement I felt when Netflix dropped the second season of Glow).
This marvelous monotony was aided by the fact that many of my “hit the streets” friends now had marriages with children and bedtimes, and many of my “Ride or Die” single girls lived in different cities. But, to be quite honest, I had retired my “Ride or Die” card. I’d become more of a “Lounge and Luxuriate” girl, especially if overpriced organic snacks were included. The truth is, I had plenty of “Get the Party Going” girlfriends in my city, but I no longer had the stamina nor interest to entertain those streets, at least not on a regular. Like my mommy friends, I too had a bedtime. Too often I have found myself at the hot new restaurant glancing at the clock, annoyed by the fact that it had now entered ‘optimal sleep’ time, and I was not in my pj’s tucked into bed.
The funny thing is, this change happened at a time when I can actually afford the experiences that a decade ago would have left me broke and existing on rice and beans for a week. Back then, a trip to Vegas, hell, a trip to the bar across the street, could have set me back weeks. Still, I pushed those coins to the limit on activities that may or may not have left me satisfied all for the sake of “living life for today.”
Now that my financial reality has shifted, I’ve found that I’ve transitioned into a life of the posh and pampered couch potato, delighting in all that delivery technology has to offer. Why eat at Gracias Madre when UberEats will deliver it to my door? Why go to a movie when Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix have more choices than I could watch in a year? Why slip on a dress when my robe is twenty times more flowy and comfortable, and why slip on heels… well, ever again? The health of my hair has improved exponentially since I stopped curling and fussing with it, my bank account is sitting pretty now that I’m not spending my last on an outfit for my latest trip. Based on these facts, I am winning at life!
Well, uh, no.
Perhaps my life has swung to the opposite end of my early twenties and once again lacks balance. Could comfort have become confining?
Of course, I do the necessities, like birthdays and bridal and baby showers. I have two über reliable “go out” outfits (one for spring/summer, one for fall/winter), and two sexy enough swimsuits (can’t go wrong with black and animal print). And don’t get me wrong — I know how to gussy it up for dates. When I’m out at a hot restaurant with a man I’m interested in, I could give a goddamn about optimal sleep! But when it’s just me, it’s a different, boring story. As my interests have shifted, priorities have definitely changed. One of my top priorities is comfort, and one of the most comfortable places I know of is my own living room.
So what now?
I just always assumed by the time I was tired of the “nightlife” I’d be happily ensconced in a marriage with other interest to take up my time like nurturing a husband, running a household, raising a kid (or two, or three). But as my natural interest in those activities has piqued, the experience isn’t yet a part of my life.
And this is still okay with me. Only very recently have I felt that I was ready for that kind of commitment and responsibility, and I know it will flow my way when right. But for the time being, am I really okay with a Netflix and Chill (solo) existence, a closet full of sweats and flip-flops, and being on a first name basis with the majority of the Instacart and Uber Eats drivers of the city of Los Angeles? Do I really need to be in the company of a man to sass it up? The answer, to all of the above, I’ve realized, is NO. I have fallen into a single girl rut, and it is time to dig myself out of it.
So welcome to my diamond encrusted shovel: How to Date Yourself –– one girl’s journey as she explores life “post-party girl” and “prenuptial.” It’s about getting out of the house and into the world, one stiletto at a time. It’s about that stumble into living one’s best life.
You can find me here, every week, rising out of the rut (if sometimes kicking and screaming). I can’t promise that the stilettos will keep, but I will give that bedtime a budge, I will take the dress out of retirement, and I will burn those goddamn sweats before I allow them to continue to slow down my sexy (well, donate them, at least).
Stay tuned for my next adventure, a solo trip to Palm Springs for How to Travel Alone: The Weekend Drive-Away. First goal, getting out of the hotel room. Hope to see you there. Until then, happy dating.