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What Happens When You’re No One’s Number One


“You had someone to go places with. You had a date on national holidays!” – Marie, When Harry Met Sally, 1989
For Sarah*
Perspective is everything. The way we understand and react to things is influenced by what we’ve experienced. Being single is a perspective. Being single for a decade is a perspective. As a single woman, when it comes to alone time, my bathtub runneth over. I love being alone, having space, being the sole input to the Spotify algorithm, etc.. But my abundance of solitude means that on occasion, I view time with other people as a treat. For my friend who’s a mom of 2-year-old twins, alone time is unheard of. An uninterrupted pee might as well be a trip to the spa. Perspective.
It’s impossible to truly understand a situation until you’re in it, and the longer I’m single, the more I understand that it’s not that the world doesn’t care about things that happen to me, it just never realises they’re happening in the first place. Single women exist in a bubble, or in my case a crumbly Brooklyn apartment, and what happens to us is largely invisible to the societal eye.
Most notably, we don’t have a casually present partner in life, a person we can always assume we’ll do the things that people do things with, with.
There are the big things, the Christmases, the New Year’s Eves, the motherfucking Valentine’s Days. We won’t be participating in cultural norms on these holidays, we’ll be MacGyvering the single woman’s version of all of them. And we’re good at it, too! Have you noticed the “Galentine’s” cards section at Target this year? The name is repulsive, but the message is great. We’ve versioned a holiday, you guys — they see us!
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