The movie ‘How to be Single’ starring Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson was sadly pretty forgettable … with the exception of one incredibly relatable part. The scene where Dakota Johnson is trying to get dolled up for a girls night and is literally throwing her shoulder out of socket to zip up her sexy dress. A small moment, but so so relatable.
Later that evening she returns home drunk and exhausted and attempts to again twist her arm all sorts of ways to unzip the dress. She eventually gives up and falls asleep fully clothed. Again, super relatable.
I have been this girl. (Although when this has happened to me at the end of the night, I am usually eating a donut and/or slice of pizza and wake up to crumbs/sauce all over my ‘sexy’ outfit.)
Much like Dakota’s character in the movie, I had also chosen to end a long term relationship to finally experience what it is to TRULY be single (well, that and the fact that he was kind of a jerk). And I too had taken for granted how nice it is to have someone to reach your unreachable parts. Of all the things in a relationship I miss, I’d actually forgotten this little thing until recently.
For the past few months, I’ve been noticing these little red spots on my back. At first there was just one and since my skin is ghostly white and super sensitive I assumed it was just a reaction to something and it would resolve on its own. Well, it didn’t and then one red splotch turned into a few. I went in to my doctor to get it checked out and she prescribed a cream to put on the spots. And then she looked at me and nonchalantly said, “The only thing is you have to put it on the spots and since they’re on your back you’ll have to have someone do it for you.”
I nodded but inside I was like ‘LADY, who do I ask???’ (Girl knew I was single too – she’d recently done my pap smear and we’d had a rather revealing discussion about my sex life.)
Was I supposed to go ‘hey first date guy, wanna rub this super weird back medicine on me?’ Nope. Nope. This is a job for me and my stretchy arms and a little ingenuity.
And this is what being single is most of the time. Finding ways to do things that would be so much easier to accomplish with two, all by yourself.
Sure I long for a deep soul to connect with emotionally and physically but sometimes the things I miss the most about being in a relationship are the small practical things. Like having someone to zip up my dress or to put ointment on my back. Or to bring me ramen when I’m sick.
Case in point, I had the flu last week. It wasn’t that bad, but of course, having someone to nurse you is always nice. Especially when you’re having to wait for an hour in Walgreens to get your own prescription while shivering from a fever. Would’ve been nice to have someone to get that for me.
And it isn’t just us single ladies who suffer. A guy I work with (who is also single) had been out sick with a sinus infection and a well meaning co-worker came over to ask him how he felt after he was back at work. She went on to ask, “so who helps you when you’re sick? Huh? Who brings you soup? Who takes care of you? I guess you just have to take care of yourself hahahaha,” she laughed. She said it all like it was a part of her new comedy routine. Now this lady is actually quite nice and I’m sure in her mind she was just joking and meant it all to be lighthearted but it was all I could do to be like ‘Listen here, CAROL. It’s bad enough we’re single, please stop rubbing it in that we have NO one to take care of us when we feel like we’re dying.’
It’s not just illnesses that are harder when you’re alone. The other day my car died. Like just … DIED. In the middle of a fairly busy street. Luckily I wasn’t too far from my brother’s place and he was able to come push my car to safety and wait with me while I got it towed to an automotive shop. And luckily I HAVE family for these types of situations because there are those who do not. Sure, I could’ve probably handled it all on my own, but man oh man is it nice to have someone with you during times of stress.
Another luxury of being in a relationship? Shared chores. I HATE folding laundry. I don’t mind washing or drying them, but folding clothes just drives me crazy. So I don’t do it. But the problem is, if I don’t do it, there’s no one there to pick up the slack. Dishes need to be done? Up to me. Trash needs taking out? Up to me. Now, I also know that within a relationship there’s a chance you could partner with a lazy butt, but hopefully whoever you end up is willing to at least share part of the chores.
Recently though, I’ve had a breakthrough with the chores thing. (And also with my finances, but I’ll get to that in a moment.) While searching for a new place to live – which is another frustration for a single girl … it’s a bit insulting how expensive one bedrooms are when compared to two bedrooms … – I had an a-ha moment. The place I eventually decided on doesn’t have washer or dryer connections, but it does have an onsite community washer/dryer. At first, I had decided against this place for that very reason, even though it had everything else I needed and was a lot cheaper than what I was currently paying. The thought of not having a washer/dryer in house seemed like a deal breaker. But then I had an epiphany. I did a little googling and found a few places that for a reasonable price will PICK UP your laundry, wash it and dry it and then DROP IT BACK OFF … FOLDED.
This is MIND-BLOWING.
Like I said, I hate laundry. Well, specifically the FOLDING of the laundry. I don’t really do it and so my clothes just pile up and never get folded. Seeing the over-flowing laundry basket stresses me out. And then when I finally break down and fold things, my clothes are wrinkled and it takes me forEVER to get everything folded and put away. It’s a vicious cycle that leaves me feeling like I’m failing at life.
I am not going to be granted more time in my life right? And quite frankly I’d rather be dancing with my buddies or singing karaoke then folding laundry. So I made the choice to move into the significantly cheaper place without the washer and dryer, and I am now going to be a woman who sends her laundry out. It’s most certainly affordable if I make a few tiny adjustments in my spending, which brings me to my next breakthrough. Finances.
When I was with Jay, he was the finance guy. He kept us on track and handled our payments of the bigger things. I just paid him and he took care of things. Since being on my own I haven’t had that influence in my life. And let’s just say, while the cat’s away, the mice will overspend on alcohol, food and travel. I think for the longest time I kept thinking eventually I would find the ‘right guy’ and he would again be the finance person in the relationship. But how naive is that? First of all a single guy in his late 30s may or may not be great with his money, so how can I make the assumption he’ll be good at managing mine? And, if I’m being honest, this was something that irked Jay. I think he felt as if I relied too heavily on him to be the ‘adult’ in the relationship. Fair enough.
So … this is the thing. I don’t like laundry and I suck at finances. Solution? I’m going to send out my laundry and I am meeting with a financial advisor this week. I’ve already spoken to the advisor and told her my issues and I plan to go into the meeting being TOTALLY honest. I’m terrible with money. I can make it, but I am unable to save it unless you just take it away from me (like with a 401K). She’s sent me a budget, but I’m just gonna have to tell her, girl, I won’t use a budget. Just take the portions I need to save out of my money and don’t tell me about it. I’ll make the rest last.
This is starting to become a core value of mine. Work with who I AM, not who I THINK I should be.
And also … pay for the things that really matter and will make my life happier. It’s worth it. I’d love it if I was someone who loved folding laundry or cleaning or budgeting. But I’m not … at least not yet. And I’m tired of trying to force myself into a mold I just don’t fit. As a rebel, I need freedom. And who knows? I might get really interested in budgeting once I start working with this girl and see the rewards of being more frugal. I used to hate working out but once I started to see the benefits of it, it changed and became a part of who I am.
And perhaps that is what this single season in my life truly is all about. Learning to be the best, most self-sufficient version of myself, even if that means outsourcing parts of my life, so that I’m not leaning on my significant other to make my life better when I finally do enter a new relationship. I’m becoming an ‘adult’ on my own terms and in the way that works best for me.
One day I’ll find the person who will happily take care of me while sick and bring me ramen and rub weird medicine on my back. And hopefully that will be his delight and his choice, not a pre-requisite requirement or need of mine. Until then, I’ll keep throwing my arm out of socket to unzip my own dress and I’ll let the fine delivery people of Tanoshii Ramen take care of me when I’m sick.
You see? Being single isn’t that hard when you lean on the right people.