31 March 2005

The Marriage Bug

Yeah, I'm talkin' to you... Posted by Hello

So I obviously have a fixation on sheep--I guess that's a pretty safe thing to get hung up on. Maybe even culturally acceptable in Arkansas. The picture does have a point though, because this entry will be devoted to the enigma of being single, and I feel the need to do a little rant on the topic.

You see, I've been single as long as I can remember. I'm not sure I planned it that way, but the opportunities for getting married were slim to none, especially in kindergarten. I doubt my parents would have approved, and society in general seemed just fine with me playing with my Legos and Transformers and just being a snot-nosed kid (though I was neurotic about cleanliness even then, but I digress...). Besides, girls had cooties.

As I grew older, I noticed that the gap between the "adults," who were getting married and having kids, and me, who still privately longed to play with my Legos, was growing smaller. Little else had changed, though. No one cared if I got married, and a few girls still had cooties, though now we called it "crabs" or "herpes" (I still think cooties has a less menacing ring to it), and I don't think it really stopped the boys from playing with them anymore.

But then the horror of all horrors happened. Someone I knew, who was my age, got married, and people were actually happy about it. Apparently, once the husband and wife hit 18 or graduate from high school, everyone shifts from saying "they're too young" to saying "what a cute young couple." A few months later, "it" started.

"It" is the phenomenon of having the following conversation: "Are you married?" "No." "Oh, are you engaged?" "No." "Oh, um....are you single? Because I know the perfect girl for you." Ok, so maybe I'm over-simplifying it, but when you read between the lines, I've got it down cold. "It" starts slow--maybe once or twice a year when you're around 20. When you hit about 24, though, the slow trickle becomes a flood. Even in Sex and the City they all caved in at the end (or so I heard from every disenchanted feminist I know, I could never get through a whole episode for some reason). I'll admit that it's easier being a guy and being single, but only marginally. The downside is that when you're a single guy, new people you meet instantly appraise you as a dawg (he who indulges in lots of casual sex) or a weirdo (he who must have something wrong to prevent being in a long-term relationship). I know this for a fact, because of the many married people I've met who freely say after knowing me for a little while "you're not like the other single guys we've met, you're like really normal and nice." Then they try to "fix me up" with someone, which I guess implies that somehow I'm still "broken"?

I guess I find being automatically thought of as a sex-hound the more annoying thing. Even if I wasn't Catholic, that lifestyle just doesn't fit me. Nevertheless, when I'm around my single friends (declining in numbers and diminishing in quality, regrettably), all they talk about is getting some/got some/not getting any for a while. I suppose this is why they're the remaining single friends. When I'm around a married guy acquaintance, inevitably my sex life comes up, as if he wants to live vicariously through me. At the doctors office for a check up, I was asked if I was sexually active, and when I said "no" the doctor looked at me with raised eyebrows and explained that I could be honest with him. I thought he might offer me a sucker next, or a neat sticker. Maybe I should have angled for one....(do they bill insurance for that?)

Thus, to everyone out there who is no longer single (should I call you "double"?): being single does not mean you have some personality problem that needs changing. It does not mean you prowl clubs looking to get some. It does not mean you are in search of your missing half, but that you've figured out how to be whole all by yourself. Like anything, it can be great, and it can suck. Just like marriage, last time I checked. But the next time you find yourself reminiscing about your youth, just remember that you were single then, and wasn't it nice?


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