Monday, 25 October 2010

Hosting a Single Friend/"Never Had a Boyfriend"

My best friend, a long-term Single, is visiting me here in Scotland from Canada. I was up at 5:30 AM to meet and accompany her on the last leg of her journey, and therefore my brain is not all fired up with things to write about the Single life.

I suppose I could say, once again, that one of the great freedoms of the Single life, is that--job and money permitting--you can just pack up and go visit friends far, far away, without clearing it with anyone else first.

And so there she was, my old buddy of college days and beyond, getting off the bus from Glasgow, in a nice new red hat and with just two carry-on bags. This meeting was quite a contrast to meeting my brother and sister-in-law and their children and friends and their child already camped out in a rented house in Barcelona.

There is no way either my brother and sister-in-law can go ANYWHERE with only two carry-on bags. Their children alone are the size and weight of some carry-on bags. Married people with children have a lot of luggage when they travel (including, in that case, a portable crib). Heck, even B.A. and I had a carry-on each plus a ginormous suitcase; B.A. does not travel light.

However, Trish is a Single, generally Seraphic, and can get away with two little carry-ons, even for a two week sojourn in chilly Scotland. She can, absolutely guilt-free, lodge her little dog with friends and hang out with me, her married buddy, for two weeks of cruising art galleries, marvels of architecture, and maybe a Highland glade or two. She has no boyfriend or husband I have to learn to like. Needless to say, she already likes my husband because he is objectively marvellous.

Man, I always wanted a buddy or a relative with a pad in Europe. And now I am the buddy and the relative with a pad in Europe. This is, of course, due to marriage, and thus this is just another fantastic example of how marriage and the single life complement each other and give each other glory, just as it says in the Catechism.

Anyway, blogging may be intermittent for a bit because of taking care of one very special Seraphic Single. But if you have a head-scratcher of a Single issue, send me an email, and I will be happy to respond. Here at Seraphic Singles we (ahem, I) see in every problem the silver-lining of a new post that will comfort others with almost exactly the same problem.

Incidentally, one of the most frequent search phrases that lands people on this blog is "[number] and never had a boyfriend." There are umpteen women who are "22 and never had a boyfriend" "25 and never had a boyfriend" and "40 and never had a boyfriend." Whereas I am saddened that people are saddened by never having had a boyfriend, I am happy to tell them that they are not alone.

Meanwhile, boyfriends in themselves are no big deal.* Fiances and husbands are the big deal. Also a big deal are handsome men friends who might, if the friendship is (A) real and (B) catches fire, become fiances and then husbands. Boyfriends-as-boyfriends are a waste of time and occasions for sin--not to mince words or anything--although I guess normally there is a friend to boyfriend to fiance transition. Thank goodness my transition from girlfriend-to-fiancee lasted only five days or whatever. I would have died from the suspense. (N.B. Once again, I was over 35. Zany whirlwind romances are for older, wrinkly people who have recovered from the ghastly mistakes we made in our youth. Can you imagine Romeo & Juliet at 40? No. Which is why they had to die.)

*I know why they're treated like a big deal. It's because women get the message early on that our value is primarily in being attractive to men, and therefore the more men who are attracted to us, the more valuable we are. This is, of course, total crap.


Shiraz said...

I just wanted to thank you for making me laugh out loud – what a great start to my morning! It was because THIS:

"I know why they're treated like a big deal. It's because women get the message early on that our value is primarily in being attractive to men, and therefore the more men who are attracted to us, the more valuable we are. This is, of course, total crap."

Sounded JUST LIKE me ranting, champagne in hand, on this very topic last night. Although in my case the last bit may have read "This is, of course, TOTAL CRAP! (gesticulating)."

Have a brilliant day.

Anonymous said...

This is (one of the many reasons) why I love this blog. It's encouraging, relieving, and downright comforting to have it spelled out in black-and-white (er, blue-and-lighter-blue) that I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE. Thank God for that!

I fall into the "[age] and never had a boyfriend" camp. And yes, that Google search is what led me here in the first place. My "age" is mid-twenties, and just as I have never had a boyfriend, I have also never had a date, a kiss, a held hand, a dance, or any number of other things that society would have me believe are "supposed" to happen to girls before they even graduate secondary school.

It does get lonely, when I stop to think that most (if not all) of the reason why I've never had a boyfriend is that I've never really had the opportunity. Surely most young women are at least asked to dances or have an awkward young man take their hand in a movie theater, right? And whether or not those experiences are "worth it" or "good" is beside the point in my sad brain. I do wish I had had those experiences. I do wish that I was not swiftly approaching thirty years old without ever having received romantic attention from a man, or even an awkward teenage boy.

I am friendly and intelligent. I have many interests and a few hobbies. I have a lot of friends and people seem to enjoy spending time with me. I smile. I'm even reasonably attractive. And yet... nothing. It's very hard sometimes (all right, most of the time) to accept that perhaps this is simply out of my control. Perhaps nothing I do or don't do will ever win me the experiences and relationships that seem to be par for the course for every other young female in my social circle. It's hard not to let that bring me down. But this blog certainly helps quite a bit. I can't say I've fully embraced my own situation, but it's always reassuring to hear that it's not just me.

Seraphic said...

The anonymous comment can stand, but now you must call yourself Sharlene. I Seraphic have decreed it.

Well, let me see. I cannot see why slow dances and awkward handholding are considered such massive milestones when we have Mt. Everest to climb. Oho! Maybe they USED to be milestones because that was all women used to expect: just one kind of "cursus honorum" from hand-holding to 50th Anniversary bash thrown by Harvard-educated grandsons, blah blah. No Mt. Everests for us once upon a time. Nope. It was all about the conquest of Mt. Man.

I remember the first time my hand was held in a romantic context. Eeek! I dropped his hand at once, which was rude. Should have counted to 15 seconds.

Anyway, we should come up with alternative life experiences to counteract our feeling that a life is not truly lived unless some sweaty teenage boy lunges for our soft little hands or--does this ever actually happen any more?--asks us to dance to "Stairway to Heaven", hands roaming down to our bottoms--so romantic, I think not.

How about one for travel?
1. First French class.
2. First trip to Quebec.
3. First Italian class.
4. First Italian composition not actually a class assignment.
5. First trip to Italy.
6. First attempt of an Italian man to pick me up with smooth lies.
7. First trip to France.
8. First conversation with a real, live, flirty Frenchman (middleaged, married, yet charming).
9. First croissant in Paris...ooh!

Don't get me started on food firsts! Or paycheque firsts!

Seraphic said...

Hmmm... meanwhile, I bet there are women in your social circle who would rather be you than have some of the "romantic" stuff they've experienced tattooed on their memories. There's something very beautiful about a blank page of fine paper.

Elizabeth said...

Men look at me, have taken double takes of me, and I've looked up dozens of times to find one smiling at me (from right in front of me to all the tables across the cafeteria at college), open doors for me & wait from a great distance (one man saw me coming from at least 100 ft. & stood holding the door open), start out to ask me to dance several times & never make it to the asking part; but that is the extent of men in my life. I could never explain to my man garnering friends why I was never asked to Formal for the whole 4 college years (now I'm so glad,I was spared that)or a date since then. It is tough when your best friend has a constant string of men, all ready & willing to see if she is "the one" or why a Dance means one or two dances & the rest of the time spend socializing because no one else asks.

It is nice to know that I am not alone in this grouping of lovely women. This used to bother me, until after some consideration I have this feeling that "my first date will be my last" applies to me without question and that is the kind of woman I am.

Alisha said...

"There's something very beautiful about a blank page of fine paper."


Seraphic Spouse said...

Elizabeth, your story reminds me very much of a friend with a beautiful figure and face who has huge, somewhat myopic eyes and a stern expression. She couldn't understand why more guys didn't approach her, and I was strongly of the opinion that it was because her vague stare and stern expression scared them half to death.

"You have to smile," I wailed. "And if you like him, TOUCH HIS ARM."

Eventually she remembered to do that, and now she is married to one of the men she smiled at.

It seems to me that young women either do too much or not enough. They silently stare at a cute classmate who opens a door to them, mutter a quick thank-you and scootle through. This is not enough. And then they find him on facebook and ask him to be their facebook friend. This is too much.

Young women of the world, I beg you. When you meet a handsome Single man, SMILE at him. If you really like him, touch his arm to emphasize a point or to say good-bye. If you really, really, like thim, invite him to a party you and your friends are having. And then wait.

Elizabeth, I don't know what you mean by your first date being your last date--that seems like a lot of expectations about a first date. Perhaps you are that lucky woman who does NOT kiss a lot of frogs before the prince comes along, if he comes along.

I can never promise a prince because I have no idea what the future will bring for anyone. However, the stats do suggest that almost everyone gets married. The trick is to marry only the right person and to BE only the right person. Getting it right, I strongly suspect, is much more likely at 30 than at 20.

Anonymous said...

Seconding with Alisha the beauty of the blank page AND the not having certain things "tattooed on your memory", which is my own great problem. Still hoping to one day turn them into art, but it's a challenge to do that and not just write a rant, so I wouldn't advise it to anyone as a solution.


Elizabeth said...

I know I could have smiled more during college, my male classmates (mainly my brother's friends who treated me like a sister & vice a versa) and a male cousin or two used to tell me that I always looked concerned & needed to smile. My mother told me, I needed "to show a little leg" whatever that means. ;-) Thankfully, I have added the smile to my mien and have found positive results increasing daily. To smile truly does make all the difference.

I must not have been clear about "My first date being my last." Perhaps I am such a lucky gal, perhaps not. I have no delusions or romantic imaginings that my prince will come and then presto we'll be at the altar rail exactly 6 months/or a year later (depending on your parish). Heck, I could use a several dates out and maybe a bunch or two of flowers & a box of chocolate in there somewhere (My best friend had just such a pleasant 4 month experience & then he left to be a priest). I have a feeling it will be that way and my feelings have yet to be proved wrong. That in consideration of my personality and temperament etc. I know that I don't need to "sample" every man I come across (or comes across me) and will meet the one that God has intended from all eternity to be my spouse.

Seraphic said...

That's the spirit!