“God blessed me, I’m a free man with no place free to go. I’m paralyzed and collared-tight. No pills for what I fear. This is crazy. I wish I was the moon tonight.” ~Neko Case, I Wish I Was The Moon
I’ve been single for some time now. I noticed a shift recently in how folks respond to me. When I first got divorced, some assumed I was ready to go off the party rails every weekend or at any given time during the week. I mean, when you get divorced that means you have nothing so you want to do everything, right? People that rarely ever talked to me while I was married started coming out of the woodworks. I caught on pretty quick these were folks that were unhappy in their own lives and wanted a party buddy. This is not a role I had an interest in playing.
Initially when people asked what my weekend plans were, if I didn’t feel like going out or already had scheduled plans that didn’t consist of getting hammered and trying to get a dude, it was oddly shocking to them. “What do you mean? You’re single! Don’t you want to go out and party?” My impression was that they felt…you aren’t married anymore or in a relationship, so how come you have plans that don’t involve trying to find a new husband? My favorite response when I had plans… “Oooh! Hot date?” When I said no (which was, and still is, my response) it was clearly a letdown for them. It was upsetting to me that my having a life that didn’t consist of chasing men was confusing. Maybe it shouldn’t have been, but it was quite perplexing.
The recent shift changed from assuming I was always down to party to assuming I have no life. I guess I hit the single person timestamp of presumed loser. The moment I realized this was a thing, I was floored. Then I laughed. I have actually had people plan for me to attend an outing before checking with me and then act SHOCKED when I said I wasn’t available. I didn’t know people did this! It made me pretty upset that there was an assumption I was now at certain people’s disposal. Here are my favorite reactions to me saying I have plans:
- What the fuck do YOU have going on? (I’m not even kidding. This has been said to me several times.)
- What do you mean you have plans? Doing what? What do you have to do? (Don’t make people justify how they’re spending their time. You come off like an asshole.)
- Why can’t you come? Did you start dating someone? (We both know I haven’t.)
- Oh, training? For another race? Can’t you skip it? (This is really a dick move. Don’t say this to people no matter how dumb you think their hobby is.)
- Oooh! Hot date? (I think a more accurate question is, “Oooh! Awkward first date?” Right? That seems more appropriate and likely. But I digress…)
The truth is, yes. Sometimes I have nothing to do. Doesn’t everyone? Sometimes I just don’t feel like going out because I don’t want to deal with all that comes with it. At times when I go out I feel too old, too young, too tired, too smart, too stupid, too single…it’s too much. On a Friday night a few weeks ago, I had nothing to do. Instead of calling anyone to get drinks, I decided to stay home, eat pizza and donut holes, drink champagne in sweatpants and watch my beloved Dateline. It was amazing. I’m pretty sure I’ll do this again. Other times, I have a packed weekend. It’s the way life goes, and I thought it went that way for everyone.
It’s easy to forget the judgment isn’t about you because it’s rude and hurtful. You know that you’re not at the disposal of others, that your time isn’t less valuable than it was when you were happily then unhappily married, that you’re not desperate to be in a relationship again and that you are still fully capable of being happy for anyone else who is. You just are. You are still you.