Wednesday, August 10, 2005

All By Myself

When I was young,
I never needed anyone
And making love was just for fun.
Those days are gone.

Once, my friend Maria was driving me home and made the mistake of asking me about my dating life. (Doesn't she know better than to ask me about this? It's not like the answer ever changes. Silly girl.) When I told her I wasn't seeing anyone and hadn't had a date in a long time (sometimes I have to look up the word "date" just to make sure such a thing still exists), her response kind of left me speechless: "You're too nice of a guy to be single! You should find someone!"

I know that comment was meant to be a complimentary, but the underpinning to it was distressing. Then and there, I had a Carrie Bradshaw moment: I couldn't help but wonder,* What is so wrong with not having a "partner" in life?

(* Actually, I loathe this particular sentence construction, but it's the one Carrie always uses.)

Living alone,
I think of all the friends I've known,
But when I dial the telephone,
Nobody's home.

Not wanting to take up the debate with Maria in the car then and there, we moved on to other topics, but having thought about that exchange, I realize that in my ripe old age, I am more secure than ever in my prioritizing system wherein dating and "meeting someone" are low on my list of life's necessities.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind dating and eventually being settled into a relationship at all. If one comes along, great. What I don't subscribe to is some people's seemingly incessant need to constantly be coupled at every given moment in their lives. I also don't believe that being "in a relationship" is some Holy Grail that merits an all-out, all-encompassing search. I believe in letting things happen as they will, and being content along the way.

All by myself
Don't wanna be
All by myself

Maria is actually a case in point. Once, while she was in what she considered a serious relationship (she was about 1.5 years into it), a guy hit on her in a store. Flattered, she told him she was with someone, but he handed her his business card anyway. Six months later, when her long-term relationship dissolved, she called this guy and they went on a date. She had kept his business card all that time! What would possess someone to do that if they think the person they're with is the last one they're going to date?

[Needle scratch on record. Zzzzrtptbt!]

I have a decent job. I have a decent circle of friends, despite what some of my bitchier posts on this blog may indicate. I've got a decent apartment. I've got hobbies and pastimes and stuff that I enjoy doing with or without a partner in life.

I enjoy being the master of my own domain destiny. I enjoy the fact that when a friend calls and says "Do you want to go out?" I don't have to check with someone else before I decide. I like the fact that I can live like a slob if I don't feel like cleaning without worrying that someone else will hate the state of the apartment. I like being able to plan my vacations without having to coordinate vacation schedules with anyone else. Do you know how many times I've heard friends say "Oooo, I wish I could go with you, but I don't think my bf/husband/gf/wife will be able to take vacation time"?

(It does kind of suck to have to try to cook for one, though. That never works. I always end up making mega-servings so that one batch of food lasts me a week.)

The world is a big place. In the end we're all "alone," whether or not we're living with someone we love. But whether we're "lonely" is a wholly different question. I know some people who have been married for years who are the most lonely people I've ever seen.

I may not have a life partner, and in that sense I am "alone" at the moment. But I'm certain that I'm not "lonely."


Michael Guy said...

Yes. Good post. I know of classic cases of 'be careful what you wish for--you may just get it' with regard to relationships. One can certainly be involved and 'alone' at the same time. That has always puzzled me.

Jon said...

I hear that. Those who feel that a person isn't complete without somone else are people who irritate the living crap out of me. Amen.

Steve said...

What you said = Me. My Mom thinks much differently, though. She desperately wants me to meet a nice guy. (I guess it would be nice, too.) But her thing is this: There is somebody for everybody, and everybody should have somebody, and you can't be truly happy unless you have somebody. I'm with her up until the last part, 'cuz, for the most part, I'm very happy. Good post.

(Oh yeah, Eric Carmen, All By Myself, 1976.)

Matthew said...

There are definitely pros and cons to being single and being coupled, but I think the pros of being coupled for outweigh the pros of being single.

That having been said, I wish I'd been as mature about life alone when I was single as you seem to be. It would have made life much, much easier.

Take care.

cola boy said...

I understand what you're saying. I only wish I could live alone. I like my alone time but I get depressed if I don't have someone close to me.

MoDigli said...

You're probably feeling more fulfilled and engaged than most coupled off folks. I like your attitude, Dennis. We should be able to make ourselves happy; and if someone wants to come along and be the cherry on top (ahem, so to speak) than all the better. But life is still sweet without the cherry, too. It's just a bonus!


Dennis! said...

Thanks for the comments, folks. Like I said, open to possibilities, but happy with the status quo.

Michael and Cola, welcome to MTML. You guys have fun blogs too... I'm afraid to blogroll you guys or my blogroll will explode! Hahaha.

bullie76 said...

Great post, Dennis! You're so, so . . . well-adjusted.