After thirty-nine years, it finally happened. I got married.
I had the white wedding. The cake. And after five years of ball-and-chainhood, I have to say that married life is okay. Better than okay, in fact. I love my husband and young son and cats and the fact that we all love being together. Having a partner in life is indeed, a wonderful thing.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t remember what it was like to be single. Or to feel just a little bit nostalgic of that period in my life.
Sometimes when people go through a major transition they don’t want to remember their past life. Perhaps they were once overweight, or a brunette, or a waitress (after they make it big as a Hollywood actress). They throw old photos and memories away and hope that no one ever reminds them of what they once were.
However, I was single for nearly forty years. It’s nearly impossible to forget what it was like to go home alone after work and have no one to talk to or buy orange juice for me when I was sick, or to cry on my couch after a particularly bad date.
I also remember all of the joys and little pleasures of my single life, how I’d brew a huge pot of tea on the weekends and curl up with my kitties and People magazine in bed. I didn’t have to worry about dressing anyone or feeding anyone, or answering a three-year-old’s pleas to draw a red car for him at 8 a.m., so he could cut it out and paste it on his wall.
I could eat whatever I wanted for dinner. My husband would never allow a meal of ice cream and sugary cereal to count as “dinner” in our house. Yet, that’s what I subsisted on for years during my single days.
So, to pay homage to single girls everywhere, here’s my all-time top ten list of the dumbest things people ever said to me when I was single.
Do I remember what it was like? You bet I do.
1. “You choose all of the wrong men.” –My mother
2. “You could have convinced him to take it off and throw it away.” –My mother, on why I should have given that man with the horrid, greasy toupe at that single’s mixer “a chance.”
3. “It’s great that you and Nancy are getting together, since you’re both single.” –My smug married college friend, commenting on the fact that Nancy and I had this wonderful opportunity to get together and commiserate on our shared disease
4. “Don’t worry, I’m sure your mother signed your name to the card.” –My smug married cousin, on why I wasn’t under any pressure to buy my own wedding gift for a mutual relative of ours.
5. “Have you ever thought about joining a dating service?” –The same smug married cousin
6. “Aren’t you worried about having a Downs Syndrome child?” –Mom, again
7. “Your mom’s making up for lost time.” –My aunt, remarking on the fact that mother was FINALLY going to be a grandmother, courtesy of my baby brother. He eventually became a father to triplets.
8. “How do you think I feel … I don’t have anyone special to spend Valentine’s Day with, either.” –Man who dumped me just before Valentine’s Day
9. “Well, Jennifer, you’re not exactly a 9 or a 10. I’d say you fall into the average category of looks.” –Male therapist, explaining why I was having so much trouble finding a date
And the inevitable:
10. “You wouldn’t understand, since you don’t have kids.” –Obnoxious coworker
Well, guess what. I do have a kid and a ring on my finger, and I’m pretty sure that many of my single friends DO understand what I’m going through, as a wife and parent. Even after nearly five years of marriage, most of my closest friends are still single.
They often tell how lucky I am, what a great life I have.
I agree … then confess that I envy their ability to sleep in on the weekends.