I fear I've been neglecting Serious Singles of late.
As you know, I mentally think of Singles as Searching Singles, Singles who don't want to be Single but Married, and Serious Singles, Singles who enjoy being Single, prefer celibacy and look forward to a long life of single blessedness.
The second group is usually more tranquil than the first, which is one reason why I don't think of them as often. However, it is wrong to neglect them completely. For one thing, they are often good role models for happy living of the Single life. And for another, they are irritated by the idea that there is something wrong with them for just enjoying being Single. They deserve support, encouragement and references to Saint Paul.
During one homily I've heard, a diocesan vocations director, a priest, complained about the various married people who had looked at him with big pitying eyes and said, "It's such a shame you can't get married." He didn't like feeling pitied, and he thought their attitude cheapened his celibacy and devalued his priesthood. He actually liked celibacy and never wanted to get married, but he found it very hard to convince these happy married people of this.
(Happy people are often unimaginative about happiness. Happy married people think everyone who isn't married must be miserable, and happy priests thinks every young man should think about the priesthood, and happy Catholics pity Protestants, and happy writers encourage young men at parties to write their first novel before they are 25 so as to get maximum publicity.)
I received an email from a reader working in some remote spot who just wanted permission to stay home and not have to go out and find a husband. There was
no-one eligible in town, and when people in town, eyes glistening with sympathy, asked her if she had found anyone, she would point out that there was no-one in town for her to find. And the townspeople would think about this and conclude that she was right. I cheerfully gave her permission just to stay home.
Even Searching Single girls can stay home and veg if that's what you want to do. My now husband found me because I spent quite a lot of time blogging and writing funny stories. I literally did not have to leave my room. And when I did leave my room, it was to visit readers in the UK, not to buy clothes and meet cute new boys, which led one of my best friends to conclude I didn't really want to get married, "and that's okay."
Listen, girls, if God wants you to get married, you'll get married. Don't go to that stupid party if you really don't want to go.
By the way, I'm talking to girls here. Searching Single Guys should be out there meeting girls. It's okay for Searching Single girls to slump in front of the TV and feel bad because they aren't wildly popular, but it's not okay for Searching Single guys. Most women make daily efforts to look more attractive; most of us, for example, put on lipstick. So it is not really all that much to ask when we ask Searching Single men to improve whatever it is that needs improving and get back out there. Girls like manly guys. Getting back out there is manly. And if you really, really hate "out there," think about marrying your slavishly devoted secretary.
But back to Serious Singles. Being married to a relatively young and healthy guy, it will probably be a long time before I am Single again. I hope so because I am rather fond of B.A., and it would suck if he just went and died on me. But trying to see life from a Serious Single perspective, I can see how good life can be when you make all the decisions and there is nobody there to tell you you can't have a pony or a pot-bellied pig or a pug. (By the way, I finally have a pet. It is a sour dough starter named Herman. Every day I get to mix Herman, and he eats only once every four days.)
For me, trying to imagine myself as a Serious Single, the most important factors in my life would be family and friends. Not all Serious Singles would agree, of course, as some are rather hermit-like, and for some much more important are work and prayer. But I would be conscious that the two great temptations for Serious Singles (and Singles in general really) are (A) becoming isolated and (B) doing everything for everybody out of fear that if I don't somebody won't like me.
Family and friends would thus be very important, both for company and for more-or-less unconditional love. I would be lucky in that I already have lots of Serious Single friends, and really the hard part would be convincing nervous confirmed bachelor friends that I wasn't merely hunting down Husband Number 3.
This blog, like my book, has never been about finding husbands. It has always been about appreciating and living the Single life as happily as possible, and the Single life includes friendships and dodgy old dating, which is why I write about them so much. But I honestly don't think it is a woman's job to go out and find a husband. I think it is a man's job to go out and find a wife. And therefore I am never going to write a book called "How to Find a Catholic Husband" even though my own Catholic husband would love the money it would bring in. Ka-ching!