I'm single, and I feel like (most of the time) I'm pretty thick-skinned about it. I don't dissolve into hysterical tears at friends' weddings. I don't constantly refer to myself as the "third wheel" when I'm hanging out with married friends. I don't write long poems bemoaning my lack of love.
But sometimes...people say things or put me in situations where I can't help but feel a little beaten up about my single status. Most of the time (most...) they don't even realize what they've said/done to gut punch me, but here's a few "oh, you forgot you were alone? Let's remind you" moments I've had lately:
Reminder #1: Invitations
I got an invitation in the mail to a retreat at church. In huge bold letters, it stated "BRING YOUR SPOUSE! SPOUSES ARE IMPORTANT TO OUR SEMINAR!" Great. So I guess I'll just have an empty chair next to me all night to go along with the sympathetic looks.
Reminder #2: Old lady know-it-alls at church
I actually had a lady walk up to me at my church and say "Amanda, I've really been thinking about this, and I think that you are just one of those women that God means to be single. You know, like Paul? I mean, He just doesn't want you to marry or have children."* Wow. So now even God's against me. Thanks for the heads-up.
*Yes, she actually said that. Exactly that. I'm not embellishing here. Her name is Linda. Every time I see her I think "Oh, that's the lady who wants me to die alone and childless."
Reminder #3: Children who have been taught that marriage is the epitome of adulthood
It never fails - at least once every couple of months a child will wander into my office and see the picture of my sister in her wedding dress on my desk and ask who she is. I'll tell them, and they'll say "Oh, she's older than you." I'll say "No, actually - she's three years younger." And then the six-year-old looks at me with pity. And I swear, after that moment - that kid acts a little superior.
Reminder #4: Married friends who feel like they need to include you in activities, but don't really want to
This past Sunday, one of my married friends invited me to lunch. I told her that I thought I could, but if I wasn't there it was because I had a lot to get done that afternoon. I thought I made it pretty clear that I was hopeful that I could go. And it turned out that I could. So I was maybe three to four minutes behind my friend and her husband in getting to the restaurant. When I showed up, I told the hostess I was meeting some friends and she ushered me to their table. Where they were sitting with two other married couples. And they hadn't saved me a chair. Cue awkward looks and stutters of deflated enthusiasm - "Oh, Amanda...you made it. We didn't think you would..."
Reminder #5: Christmas gifts
Married couples get to tack on "from Bob and Sally" on every gift tag. Therefore, both Bob and Sally have to fork over just half of whatever the gift cost. Because it's from both of them. I have to say "To Bob. From Amanda." and "To Sally. From Amanda." And yep. I paid for both of the gifts. And you got me a mug with a snowman on it. From both of you. Thanks. A bunch. Really.
Reminder #6: Waiters and waitresses
I can't tell you how many times I've heard this sentence come from a waiter/waitress' mouth when they're getting the bills ready: "Ok...you two are together...and you three...and yooooooou are by yourseeeeeeeeeeeeelf." Ok. To be fair, I doubt they actually string out the "you" and "yourself," every single time, but it sure does feel like it.
Reminder #7: When people find out I have a cat
"Oh...that's so great. I'm sure he's such good company for you." Yes. Because I don't get much interaction with humans. I'm also saving all of the fur I've lint-rolled off the couch and putting it in a baby album to save for my cat so I can give it to him when he graduates from college.
Ok. I'm going to go make some tea now. For myself. And maybe heat up a tv dinner. For myself. And then I'm going to watch "Bridget Jones's Diary" while I snuggle. With my cat.