It was like clockwork. Right after coffee got delivered to the table, but before any food arrived, he strolled over, rubbing his hands together quickly like he was hatching some sort of evil scheme.
“So what did we get into last night!?” <Wink, wink, elbow nudge, elbow nudge.>
Every weekend it was this same line of questioning from the 55-year-old owner of my favorite Saturday brunch spot, followed swiftly by shock and outrage that we weren’t having Bloody Mary’s or Mimosas.
He wasn’t hitting on us. He just assumed that because we were two, unmarried, young(ish) women, our Friday night must have been WILD and that our life was a nonstop party bus headed straight to Party Town.
I always felt bad that our answers were so tame. Partially, this was because when you get to your late 20s and early 30s, Fridays are exhausting. They usually involve an early happy hour followed by dinner followed by sleep. The thing is, being single isn’t anything like married people imagine it to be. Chances are, if you’re single, you’ve experienced one or more of the following assumptions:
1. We party ALL the time.
I think I’ve made my case for this stereotype in my story above, but I have this false assumption reaffirmed every time I mention to a married friend that I stayed in on a Saturday night, or that I skipped an event and went to a movie instead. It’s almost like they think they must not have heard me right. There is a lot of blinking involved, and a touch of alarm. But to this I say, Married Friends, I’m a human too! I have relaxation needs! I have a Netflix account! I don’t want to go to a club and you can’t make me!
2. We have tons of time on our hands and can’t possibly be as busy as a married person.
A friend of mine who is married tweeted something to this effect once, and upon reading it, I morphed into a dragon and steam came out of my nostrils. That was the level of outrage I felt at his poorly thought out tweet. Yes, as a single person I do not have to make time for several of the things people with partners do, but that does not mean that I don’t have other things keeping me very busy. There’s my career, and hobbies, and housekeeping, and dating, for Pete’s sake. Also, I do all of this without a partner. I’m paying my bills and doing laundry, and buying bridal shower gifts and chasing dreams and all of the other things Jay-Z raps about.
3. We are sad and listless and constantly pining for a mate.
Don’t get me wrong, being single can be lonely sometimes. I personally desire and look forward to getting married someday. But there is more to my life than a hopeful dream of locking down a husband. I know that my married friends’ hearts are in the right place when they ask about my dating life, or follow-up about OKCupid Guy or Laundromat Crush, but I wish they’d remember to ask me other things too—like what I’m doing with my nails lately.
4. Dating is easy and exciting.
I just laughed a maniacal, Maleficent-esque laugh thinking about this one. This notion mostly comes from married people who got hitched at a young age and missed the rocking good time (can you sense my sarcasm?) that is dating in your 20s and 30s. Not only does dating often feel like a second job, but it has so many pitfalls I am surprised most of us still live to Tinder another day. On that note, my dear married friends, if you haven’t dated in over a decade, please refrain from dishing out dating advice. Relationship advice? Sure. But if the last time you were single you were still worrying about homework, I’m pretty sure that what you have to say isn’t going to be helpful. Thanksloveyou.
5. We only want to hang out with other single people.
This one is such a bummer. No, I don’t desire to always be the 5th wheel (Wait, remember that dating show?), but I love hanging out with my friends and their spouses—and their kids! You can invite me to a dinner party even if I’m going to be the only single person there. There are still, technically, other singular humans to talk to. And please remember, we have lots of other things in common outside of our marital status.
I am certain that within this list, I, myself, have made false assumptions about married people so forgive me in advance. Maybe one of you guys can make a list in response! The way I see it, all we can do is keep in mind that each life stage has its own unique joys and let-downs, and because of that, we should try our hardest to be more understanding of each other. Forever and ever amen.