Monday, February 14, 2011

1+1= What Do You Mean, I'm Not Single Anymore?

For one of the world's happiest Single Girls, some of the weirdest moments of being in a relationship again aren't the big things you'd expect, like handing out your key or finding another person sitting at your kitchen table for breakfast in the morning when you surface from your coffee cup, but the little things that are hard to get back into the swing of again.

Take, for instance, the fact that dating can make a perennial Single Girl look like the most spoiled creature this side of the Mississippi, just for not realizing the social gap between the two statuses. I realized about two weeks into dating the guy that I'm seeing that I was always forgetting to say "thank you" when he took me out and paid the bill, something that would have shocked and horrified my mother, who raised me better than that, and definitely shocked and horrified myself. I realized it wasn't a sign of being ungrateful-- the exact opposite in fact, because I was so, so grateful-- it was just foreign to me. Not only had no other guy ever taken me out on dates, routinely or otherwise, but I was just used to paying the tabs and not having to thank anyone. I'd paid my own way for so long, it was hard to get used to the concept of having to thank someone else to do it for me. And that was just the tip of the iceberg of moments I started noticing that seemed...well, for lack of a better word...a little unreal for me. I spent my entire girlhood before getting all jaded and sarcastic and single dreaming about the little, mundane things that make a relationship seem so magical-- asking him how he takes his eggs, packing his lunch, TiVo-ing his favorite shows-- and now that they're happening in real life, I have to ask myself...Am I really cut out for this? Can I be part of a duo without losing my uno?

Sharing space is one of those things that's hard for me to get used to. Not only am I obsessive-compulsive, but I'm also an only child. I'm used to my space being my space, and things being juuust so. So when TGIS (The Guy I'm Seeing,) asked if there was someplace he could put his stuff where down from my molting down comforter wouldn't get on it, like possibly a shelf or drawer, I'm pretty sure I looked at him like he had three Cerberus heads. Remember that episode of Sex and the City when Aidan moves in and tells Carrie that she should make room for him in The Closet? It felt like that. Like someone had just asked me to realign my kingdom's borders, and even for love of them, money, or a relationship, I was unwilling to concede any space. Until I royally fucked up, and realized that having someone who wanted tangible space in my life was maybe more important than having three shelves for my shirt collection and worth making my tank tops live with my t-shirts. Needless to say, I gave him a shelf. (Some of it was partly an ulterior motive-- him having a place to leave clothing means I get to sleep in big, perfectly worn-in shirts that smell like Man. Which I must admit is one of the things I miss most and long for when I'm single.)

Being single is hard to stop being used to. I was extremely confused when I started noticing that girls downtown were giving me more dirty looks than I was previously used to, but a few weeks ago, I watched a pair of small blondes in Frye boots no older than 18 look from a spot beside me to giving me the hairy eyeball, and when I looked to my right, I finally got it: There was an attractive man there. He was walking beside me. We were obviously together. We were going out for brunch, where we'd sit together, and I wouldn't flirt with the host as he sat us, and the guy with me wouldn't flirt with the waitress when she came to take our order. At the end of the meal, he's pay for it all, and would kiss me as we walked out the front door, after I thanked him, and he told me, "Anytime." I had become a Lady Who Brunches. We have a weekend routines; a routine the likes of which I've never been a part of, short of a few Girl's Hungover Brunches Out With An Ungodly Need For Coffee that I've been a part of in the past. We have other routines that are new for me to get used to, which feels novel sometimes, and downright strange other times when I find myself in a room full of strangers, watching the Super Bowl with them instead of a few streets over, with my own group of dudes belching craft brew burps and smoking inside. We spend time with his friends, and I'm not always around to spend time with all of mine all the time because of it anymore. It's the push and pull of balancing two people's lives in the time that you share together. I consider it like taking a hiatus to cement foreign affairs. And my friends? They understand, most of the time. Men may come and go, but your girls know that they're forever.

The other thing that became blatantly obvious were the things that constitute my SSB, or Secret Single Behavior: Never before had I thought about how much time I spend naked or in various states of undress until he commented on it one day, mentioning that it was one of his favorite reasons for spending time at my place. It was flattering, but something I read in Cosmo years ago tickled my memory-- maybe being nearly naked all the time, in situations not related to sex, isn't the best for the fact it gradually desensitizes someone to your body, and while this may be a great tactic for friends and roommates, I'm pretty sure we always want the guy we're seeing to be excited when he sees your bare body, not thinking, " must be laundry day."

There are also those moments during your day as a Single Girl that you never think of being odd or a Big Fucking Deal until someone else is watching you, like wearing your wet hair up in turban after the shower, mascara running all over your face until you wipe it off and apply a new coat; doing your make-up in front of him and how hard it is to keep your hand steady with the eyeliner while he's giving you the eagle eye from across the room, undoubtedly wondering if you're going to poke your own eye out, because that's what it looks like to him; the way you expend your arm over your head and stick your armpit out to put on deodorant (is it just me, or is that like, really, really weird to watch or have someone watch you do?); or all the other awkward moments for another person (who you'd like to still consider you sexy for at least a while longer,) to watch you become apparent. There is one time I wish I was single more than anytime else, and it's NOT when I find myself shaving my entire body for the 3rd time in a week-- it's when I'm trying to furtively apply deodorant and realize he just walked back into the room as I'm hunched over with my arm slung in my shirt like a sling, Secret Clinical Strength hidden underneath like a concealed weapon. And then I have another war/peace moment when he takes it from me and uses it himself-- on one hand, that's your armpit hair in my speed stick. On the other hand, you're secure enough in your masculinity to use my "fresh powder scent" shit. Awwwww...

I never thought that “Carissa, which toothbrush is mine?” would be one of the most frequently shouted questions across the apartment, in a bass register, not in Alli's voice. I never really thought about the fact that there could even BE a third toothbrush on my sink. But it is now. And I deal with it some days better than others, but no matter what reality I'm currently in, single or not, I think what's the most important thing to remember is to not lose the Single Girl even if you have a man-- to do your own thing sometimes, and don't be afraid to strut your stuff into the bedroom post shower with your Queen of Sheba towel turban proudly crowning your head, if that's the only way your hair is going to get dry-- we can't be sexpots all the time. And just because you have a man now doesn't mean you have to jump every time he says "pop"-- sometimes, doing your own thing and meeting up later after he has time with his boys and you go to a friend's party by yourself is sexier than being together the entire night, because he gets to see a glimpse of her, who you used to be, and who you will always be at your core: the independent Single Girl. Be your most fabulous self-- always. Remember, the name of the game is "Uno," after all.


No comments:

Post a Comment