Friday, November 19, 2004

Thoughts for Singletons on a Friday Night

My roomie has a date tonight, and I'm sitting here watching Rocky movies, eating Thai food, doing line edits and arguing with myself again about what a lame person I must be to be sitting here finding some kind of happiness in line edits and Rocky movies. Aren't I incomplete? Isn't there something wrong with me? All the magazines say so. The TV says so. They say how I'm supposed to be, and how I'm supposed to feel, and I'm supposed to feel lame, sitting here at home by myself, doing line edits and watching movies.

I should go out tonight. Go to Second City. Go around the corner to the Green Mill. Really should go out tonight. Should do something.

I should be dating.


Scratch that. Go back. Rewind.

Me: We've discussed this.

Evil Kameron: You're a freak.

Me: Whoa. Hold on. First: you're channeling all the bullshit pressure again. You were totally fine until your roomie started dating. You're internalizing social expectations for the way women are supposed to live. Step back, deep breath. Are you wholly comfortable yet with the idea of being in a relationship? Are you secure enough in your sense of self that you know you wouldn't let it be subsumed by the desires of someone else? We've been down this road before, honey - if you want to be strong, if you want this life, if you want to be happy right now, this is how you have to play it. Once you've got your stuff together, once you're more comfortable in your skin, with who you are, we'll have this conversation again. That's what the journey's about, honey. That's what the traveling is about, the writing is about. That's everything. And until you have a handle on yourself, you can't go dragging anybody into your life.

Evil Kameron: But isn't that really cynical? Why the hell are you sitting around here on a Friday night eating Thai food and doing line edits on some fantasy book nobody's ever expressed any interest in and watching lame Rocky movies?

Me: Cause it's the one day a week I get Thai food, I'd rather write fantasy books than do anything else, and I've got boxing class tomorrow.

Evil Kameron: So this is the life you chose for yourself?

Me: Yea. For now. This is a journey, like all the rest of them. And when you're traveling, you'll have some lonely Friday nights. That's what makes you love the crazy, people-filled nights all the more.

Evil Kameron: Dammit, you're getting all philosophical and Old Woman Wise again.

Me: It's called perspective. I know what it is to be in the corner, in the shitter, in poverty, without anything or any hope for anything else. This world, this night, these things I've chosen - I'm so fucking lucky to be here. I'm so happy to be here.

Evil Kameron: Get yourself a drink. You have another 680 pages to work on.

Me: Damn straight.

Evil Kameron: Bungee jumping in New Zealand next year?

Me: Count on it.

Evil Kameron: Dorky guy in tow?

Me: Don't push it.

Have a great weekend, all.

7 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

How do you channel your evil side? Mine talks back to me from a mirror. 

Posted by Simon Owens

Anonymous said...

Mine seems to be perpetually present, though it becomes more verbose when I have the desire to sit around feeling sorry for myself... Not that a couple shots of whiskey haven't proven useful in the past as a divining agent...  

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

"until you have a handle on yourself, you can't go dragging anybody into your life."

Boy is that true. Also, having just got a Rocky movie on DVD, this post is unnervingly like the inside of my head :)

For what it's worth, I don't think the social expectations on men are any less (although I would say that, no?), although perhaps it's easier to go against them since men have a wider range of socially validating personas to retreat into. Either way, the dating game really is an emotional cul-de-sac more often then not. If you want it you can have it, but it rarely goes anywhere; if you don't want it for itself there's never a reason to persue it. Personally, I'm going back to watching "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Cheers! 

Posted by Brendan

Anonymous said...

Actually you probably aren't "chanelling bullshit" - you want to enjoy yourself. That's called being human.  

Posted by Anonymous

Anonymous said...

"Actually you probably aren't "chanelling bullshit" - you want to enjoy yourself."

Well, I think what I was getting at was that I've been really happy with my nights of movies and line edits and the occasional dinner party and card night. I've got great friends (granted, they're scattered around several continents), a good family, a great job, and I'm making the most of my free time with writing projects and martial art classes - my "oh crap, I should be dating" niggle has just started rearing its head again these last two weeks, now that my fellow professional singleton buddy is dating.

It's not that I'm not enjoying myself - I'm just feeling pressure to interrogate why the hell I'm alone on a Friday night, and why I'm enjoying myself anyway. That's why I felt like I was channeling the social pressure on singletons to feel miserable. And yes, I would totally agree that there's a big pressure on men to be partnered up as well, though they get an extra decade or so of "boys will be boys" time before people start pestering...

And Brendan, thanks for stopping by - yea, I've started believing that it's socially irresponsible to date until you're reasonably comfortable and confident in your skin - otherwise you're always looking for someone else to hold you up, and that's not a proper partnership, to my mind.

P.S. Buffy rocks... 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

Kameron, I second every word you put here. I also think it's totally irresponsible of me to date again unless/until I"m a totally "whole" person who won't take any crap just to hold on to a guy, who won't be looking for someone to fit with her issues, who won't be looking for someone just as screwed up as myself because it makes me feel better and then having no chance of it working out, instead of dating a Real Adult when I am ALSO a Real Adult.
(Ergh. Ramble on. Oh well.)
Anyway, most people just don't get that, and I'm glad someone else does.  

Posted by Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Hey Jennifer - glad you connected with this one. There's a lot of pressure - particularly on singleton women - to get pressed into sexual/committed relationships or feel bad because they're not, and it exhausts the crap out of me. It's one of those "I should feel guilty for not feeling guilty about enjoying my Friday night on my own" things.

I want the newspaper article that talks about all those singleton women who kick ass on Friday nights - Save the World Fridays.

You know, the night singletons work on novels, learn French, and study to be lawyers.  

Posted by Kameron Hurley