You’ve seen the ads. Match dot com has people around the corner just waiting for you to meet so you can get married and your life will be fulfilled. At E-Harmony dot com, fill out a 15 page report and they have the love of your life waiting in the back room. They just need to go locate him. If you’re over 50, like me, you can find the love of your life on Our Time dot com. If you’re a farm boy and am tired of meeting high falutin chicks, sign up with Farmers Only dot com. It’s all there. Yes YOU could be happy for the rest of your life, if only you would sign up on a dating site.
But my question is this: when did being single become a disease? Maybe the same ad writers who are writing all the ads for all those medications we need now are writing the copy for the singles dating scene, but every time I hear or see one of the dating commercials, I feel inadequate. Because I like being single.
There, I said it. It’s out in the open. I have a disease and it’s called singleitis.
I would rather be single than married to some jerk who cheats on me. I would rather be single than married to a creep who lies, who drinks himself silly each night, even though he gets up the next day to go to work. (Please reference my February 2016 blog)
I used to joke that I got divorced before I was married almost 30 years ago. This guy and I were both musicians, singer/songwriters and met at a pub in downtown Sacramento during an open mic night. I had just lost some weight and although I wasn’t smoking hot, I was cute. We dated off and on for the next two years. The only time it would be off would be if he found a cute chick he wanted to ask out and when she turned him down, he was back to calling me. He was 11 years my senior, but that didn’t matter. We were in love. Or so I thought.
About a week before my 26th birthday, we had a talk. I told him that we had been together for two years (the longest relationship I had ever had) and that it was time we took the next step. See, I bought into the idea that someone can’t be happy until they’re married. I wanted to get that part of my life done so I could move on to the next project. I told Marshal that I was okay before I met him and I would be okay if he decided to leave. I gave him the choice. The following weekend (since he lived and worked in Sacramento and I lived in Davis and worked in Vacaville, we didn’t see each other much during the week so I spent the weekends at his place) we went out for my birthday dinner to a Moroccan restaurant on Fulton Avenue in Sacramento and had a wonderful dinner. While we waited for dessert, Marshal got down on one knee and proposed to me. I was flabbergasted! I had been proposed to before by a guy who was 20 years my senior and a drunk, but nothing this fancy. And in a public place, too! Marshal was never one to make a scene, so this had to be hard for him. Of course I said yes. We had dessert then went back to his place and enjoyed each other.
But something wasn’t right in the land of the engaged. It’s as if that diamond ring was a go ahead to argue and fight over the smallest minutiae. It was over stupid stuff. So stupid I can’t remember. But I can remember him holding my wrists down as a way to control me physically. I didn’t know then, but I realize now, that was a form of abuse. After about two months of this constant arguing and bickering, I had moved to Fairfield the week before to be closer to my job. I was in an Improv group, RSVP, and we had a gig that night. On my way to Sacramento, I stopped at my mom’s house and called Marshal to see what we were going to do that weekend. That’s when the divorce happened. That’s when he told me he couldn’t marry me because he was afraid I would get fat like my mom and he can’t stand fat chicks.
I was dumbfounded. All of the cruel schoolyard bullies who had ever called me fatso, flooded my head with their taunts. Here I was, no longer fat, yet I’m not good enough to get married because someday I might be? The tears came hard and fast as he told me to keep the ring, that it was his issue and not mine. But that didn’t matter. I was this close to conquering the disease of being single. This close. But I couldn’t because of what someday might be.
So, for the next 25 years, I ate. It didn’t matter what I ate or how much I ate because no man is going to want a fat white woman in our culture. Fat Asian women, fat black women, fat Latino women, they’re all acceptable, but not a fat white woman. And when I began eating myself to death (I am currently morbidly obese), I was going to be fat like my mom no matter what I did. The man I accepted to spend the rest of my life with told me so. It must be true. I loved him and people you love aren’t supposed to lie to you, right?
I found out a lot about myself when I was homeless. Maybe that’s why I was homeless, so I could really get to know Lynda. I finally realized, after gaining almost 200 pounds in 25 years that what Marshal said all those years ago doesn’t mean a damned thing. I heard through the grapevine he married some hippie chick and they had three kids. What he said had zero effect on him, yet I let it rule my life for 25 years. It no longer has sway over me. Unfortunately, I’m left with the consequences of weighing 200 pounds more than I should. That’s something I need to take care of because you know why when you see 100 year old people on TV, they’re not fat? It’s because fat people don’t live that long.
Back to this ‘disease’ of being single. I love my life. Yes, there are aspects I’d like to change, like working and not being poor ever again. I allowed myself, after 25 years of a closed heart, to love again last year, only to find out two weeks into the affair, that’s what it was – an affair - that he is married. I remember him asking me why I didn’t have a boyfriend and I replied that men were assholes. His answer was that he wasn’t. For two weeks anyway.
Being single is NOT a disease. I really wish Madison Avenue would stop treating it as such. Yeah, it would be nice to have someone around. It was nice for two weeks knowing I was wanted. But I’m not willing to give up who I am so I can rid myself of a disease that doesn’t exist.
Who knows? My future husband just might be reading this now and not giving a damn that I’m old, fat and single.