Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Great Divide

It never used to matter if you were single and all your friends had boyfriends.  In high school it meant platonic (read: gay) dates to homecoming in a group of couples. In college in meant that while you had to keep your shit together at parties, your friends could get sloppy and expect their boyfriend would take them home safely.  Really, not a huge difference in lifestyle.

In the working world, however, if you're single and your friends are not, there is a great divide.   Single no longer means "not seeing anyone," but instead means not married, living with a significant other, or engaged.   And while your friends will talk about family obligations, that chore their husband won't do, how to keep romance alive after all these years, etc., you will want to talk about last night's episode of Law and Order SVU.  That you watched with you cat.   

Last weekend I attended a baby shower for my coworker.   I don't think I've ever felt more out of place in my life.   I went with Sam, and clearly, she and I were the "single friends".   We bought my coworker a baby gate, the quintessential single gift ("Here, now you can make sure you can keep your baby penned up, especially if I ever come over").  The shower itself was fine, however, I expected booze to be served. Apparently this isn't the practice because the pregnant mother can't drink.  My thoughts?   Buuuut I can.  If I have to spend three hours with twenty women while they squawk about foreskin care and chafed/bloody/leaking nipples, I need alcohol.   And a lot.  It wasn't my decision to gestate a baby, why should I be punished?!   Even with that attitude, as I listened to women planning for future babies or protests of, "We just got married--we're going to wait,"   I realized how completely irrelevant I was to the whole exercise.  And it made me kind of sad.  I did not fit in with these women and their folksy wisdom about how to keep baby shit from squirting out of a diaper. 

This divide has come up time and time again.  Usually ever time I invite my married friends to grab a beer. Some domestic obligation always comes up, and I want to roll my eyes and say, "ok, ok, you have a husband, but I have a cat, and you don't see me dropping everything to go be with her."   The very fact I think this (only briefly!) is pretty conclusive proof I am still a child.  But really,  I'm over my stupid college party days.   But not completely.  I want to be able to dress up and go out and drink and flirt--but I'd also like to be included when the "couples" from work hang out together.   I don't want a baby now (at-fucking-all), but I want to be able to join a conversation about baby names without feeling like a fourth-grader naming her doll.  

Now even after confessing the alienation I feel, I could be very smug and say, "I'm living it up! I'm single! Why would I want to be married--blah!"  The truth is, sadly enough,  I do the same lame things my married friends do with their spouses (read: Law and Order SVU) only I do them alone.   Which really isn't so glamorous--although if someone married asks you, I go to sexy parties every night and sleep with random, attractive men.   

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