"Being single and at ‘settling down age’ in 2014 is harder than being a spinster in the 1800s."– Me, just now.
Seeing as it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and I’m feeling, I dunno, verbose, and possibly overly candid, I figured it’d be apt to write a wee something about Love. What is Love? First put to us by Haddaway in the early 90’s eurodance hit and I’m sure, encouraged many a dance floor devotee to contemplate the true meaning behind the word, the feeling, and indeed, the myth(?)
Well, I don’t know what love is exactly, but I’m pretty sure I know what it isn’t. Firstly, I should explain my background. I’m 27, female, single (about 9 months) and not in Love. I don’t know why I keep writing Love with a capital ‘L’ as if it’s Allah or Paris or Something Important but I suppose the word has such gravitas as (probs) our most powerful emotion, that I subconsciously felt it warranted an uppercase. Whatever, so I know what Love isn’t, and it isn’t Tinder.
So if you’re aged between 11 and 65 chances are you’ve heard of Tinder (it’s a brand so the ‘T’ is legit) but basically it’s a chat-roulette/grindr type plenty of fish mash-up that at first seems like tons of fun, but after about, I dunno, 15 minutes of piss poor matches or continuous swiping left, you realise SHIT, I’ve actually vetted everyone in my age range within a 50 mile radius of me and there is no one I want to date. No one using this app at least (which is everyone. Seriously, there are guys on there using their wedding photo as their profile picture). If by chance you do spot a hotty, and said hotty spots you, and you both give each other a mutual green heart, there’s a chance that one of you will strike up conversation. 9/10 times this person is a) boring, b) just horny or c) mental. The other 10% of the time, the person is actually half decent and maybe interesting and in the words of Paddy McGuiness; ‘‘you’ve got yerself a daaaaaate!”
Such is a single person’s angle on love in 2014. Without wanting to sound morose or heaven forbid, tragic, being single in your mid (late?) 20’s is probably simultaneously the best and worst time to be on your own.
I’ve written before about how you are your own boss, no one else will believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself, etc. etc. As much for my own cathartic release as advice for anybody in particular, but when you are this age, and you are finding your way, and you’re making mistakes left right and centre, would it not be easier to do that whilst having the unconditional love and support from a partner? One of the most comforting things about being in a relationship and being in love is the knowledge that the other person doesn’t have to be there. Y’know, he’s not yer Mam, or your pals, who have to listen and support you out of deep-rooted loyalty, he could get lost whenever he likes but he doesn’t, cos he loves you. He’s got your back. And plus, he’s hot n that.
Similarly, I sometimes think about friends of mine who are a similar age to me and they’re in long term relationships, or married, even starting families and I wonder if they don’t feel like they’re missing out on something. Being single for a substantial amount of time is kind of character building. Because for all the worries and traumas and stresses you go through in your 20’s, doing it by yourself is super rewarding. I know a lot of people would say that your teens and high school years are the scariest, but personally, I had a hoot when I was that age. I didn’t think it was scary at all, but then, I had a parental safety net of sorts. By that, I mean there was always milk in the fridge, I got lifts into town…etc etc (thanks Mum and Dad!)
So I guess what I’m wondering is, why do we (as a species) feel the need to achieve Love? And to achieve it possibly several times, preferably in a totally natural (non-Tinder) way.
It’s always one of the first things my Grandma asks me when I see her “have you got a special boy?” to which I (usually) have to say “ nahh, G-unit, you know I’m focusing on my career just now” as if I can only have one or the other? Or as if I have to give a reason why I’m not In Love right this second. Why is that?
It’s the same when you see friends you haven’t caught up with in a while; you obviously ask about each other’s love lives, unless the other person is in a steadfast, boring relationship with a really dull person which you don’t want to hear about, in which case you talk about mutual acquaintances or The Wire. Oh, or unless they’re deep in smushy love and they can’t stop cooing, then you talk about someone you know who died. Tends to shut them up.
Sooooo in answer to your question…what? I’ve lost my train of thought. I’m concerned that this is coming across as some kind of Bridget Jones-esque monologue about the trials and tribulations of singledom, which was never the intention. But nonetheless, I think the reason why excuses are given for being single is because you automatically think people are judging you when you’re not a part of a pair. Like you’re trying super hard to find someone but actually you must just be unlovable. Maybe you have a really nasty, semi-permanent rash or terrible hygiene habits or you exclusively eat broccoli; who the hell knows, you single freak!
In reality, Tinder ain’t trying, it’s just a game. And it certainly isn’t going to find me love any time soon, not that I even know what it is anyway, or if I even want it.
Troubling, even Forrest Gump knew what Love is.