Between the Shadows

Hopeless Romantic Cacophony #170919 —

First things first: There is NOTHING wrong with being single, even in this heteronormative, coupling-minded society. Even so, here are some two dozen personally experienced truths regarding the hope for romance that grate harshly against the inner depths of my emotional well-being:

  1.  “You just need to move”, “Why not move to where there are more guys”, “Bismarck is just too small”… What I hear: “Just hush up already.” “The market is bad for everybody.” So, with the number of men in this town who have found other men, my being single for a decade, just goes to show that I am not worth dating. I know that is not true.
  2.  Friend splits up, and immediately shortly thereafter is already in a new relationship. And I remain single, yet.
  3.  Friends talking about a friend who recently broke up, and how this guy would be great for him. While I am sitting in the midst of the conversation. Knowing full well that I have been single for years.
  4.  “Kevin, you are too ‘this’, ‘that’, and ‘the other’, you just need to be yourself.” “You just gotta quit being so [insert innocuous/normal characteristic].” Um, who am I then?!?
  5.  An attractive guy starts talking topics of which are of great passion with me and not about gossip, and, he is straight.
  6.  “You need to be more confident, more aggressive, and just go after that guy.” Right, in a state where you cannot from mere appearance know whether a man is gay, or a homophobe waiting to crush you. See #1 above.
  7.  Gay gents more often than not want to be with a young stud. I am worn weary with that rejection. Back in my 40s, I had a guy in his 50s tell me that I was much too old for him.
  8.  “You don’t look gay.” And you don’t look ignorant. Has anyone ever thought, “You know what? You’re right! I’ve been single all this time because I look straight! What was I thinking?”
  9.  “You just have to learn to love/appreciate/value yourself and be comfortable with yourself.” Um, what have I been doing these 51 years?!?
  10.  “He’s out there, you just have to give it time.” Well, I am already on my second fifty years of childhood. I have less time ahead than I have which has passed.
  11.  “I don’t get how you are single, you are such a great [insert honest compliment].” Yes, thank you, I do know that. Is that why I deflect romance?
  12.  “You can’t be too picky, just settle.” Really? I am hoping to spend the rest of my life with this man, and I should just take whatever comes along? How goes that for you and your life decisions?
  13.  “Embrace it while you can. You will soon wish you were single.” “Wow, I wish I was single like you.” Or some variation. Said by people who have been married longer than I have been single.
  14.  “Have you thought about using a dating app or site or such?” No, when did those ever come about?!? Yes, I have. And do.
  15.  My favorite: “You’re too nice!” Oh. Really. I am supposed to be a jerk to attract another guy?!
  16.  “You’re such a great catch, they don’t deserve you.” Is this really meant to be a compliment?
  17.  “Let me set you up with this great guy I know. You will be perfect for each other.” Oh? You really know all my qualities for being a great catch? You know the chemicals of our chemistry that will be an instant connection for a lifetime?
  18.  “Don’t give up, you will find someone. You don’t need anyone right now.” Gee, thanks. Thanks for confirming that I am not worth someone’s love and romance.
  19.  “Dude, when I broke up … ” Stop. Just stop.
  20.  “Maybe you are meant to be single, embrace it.” Yes, I know. I know. I do find it beneficial in being single in that I can help friends at a moment’s notice. But, why must I “just embrace it” for the rest of this second 50 years of childhood?
  21.  “Gah, the straight dating scene around here is much worse.” Oh?
  22.  If I were a guy (or if you were a gal), I so totally would date you.” And you state that I am making up my misery being single, and you suggest a magical gender-swap fantasy world?
  23.  “You don’t go out enough.” Gee, how many other social groups should I join in addition to the many I already am involved with?!
  24.  In reverse, “You are too busy with everything you are doing. Cut some of that back.”
  25.  “You should just get a pet.” If no man wants me, why force an innocent animal to live with me?
  26.  “At least you aren’t in a miserable relationship.” That is supposed to make me happy and grateful for being lonely?
  27.  “Not everyone who is single is lonely. Not everyone who is taken is in love.” Thank you for that fortune-cookie summation of my existence. It didn’t help.
  28. “I thought you and [name of best friend] were dating.” No, no, no. Two gay men can be best friends, and not dating nor in an intimate relationship.

Being single is awesome, the world knows it, I know it. But if you happen to be single in your fifties, the people around you figure you are content, and give no concern. Also, as one ages and is single, the less and less invites you receive to join another couple or family for socializing. No, I do not have suggestions or solutions.

This is life. This is lonely.