Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and everywhere you look there are hearts and cards and smushy mushy stuff. Throughout my adult life I’ve been single on Valentine’s Day more often than not, and previously this time of year was spent feeling mostly rubbish about being alone on The Most Romantic Day of the Year. No date; nobody to send me a card; nothing. In fact, I seem to recall more than one Valentine’s Day when I actually had a boyfriend, and still didn’t have a date or a card. This year though, things are different. This year I have accepted that I am single – and I’m happy that way.
Here are my 10 reasons to be happily single this Valentine’s Day.
1. My bed is mine!
Ok, so my child often sleeps in my bed – and she is more than welcome there. But I really quite like the fact that it’s just the two of us. I’ve never been able to sleep if I was sharing a bed with a man. I like being able to stretch myself across the bed, to be surrounded by a million pillows and cocooned in two or three duvets, without someone complaining they’re too hot or the pillows are in the way or can I just switch the light off and stop reading now. My bed belongs to me (and my child) and nobody else is welcome here!
2. My toilet is also mine!
I can’t be doing with having to put the toilet seat down behind someone. I like to find my toilet as I left it; without pee on the seat or the floor around it, and with the seat firmly down.
3. I’m very lazy.
I’ve been single for a while now. It’s winter, and I don’t mind telling you that my legs look like they belong at Monkey World. If the general public is not likely to be seeing it, I ain’t shaving it. Not having a man in my life means I don’t have to care about things like wearing my “good” underwear or whether any of the layers beneath the hoodie I wear out of the house are reasonable garments. I have a fantastically comfortable pair of purple tracksuit bottoms which I love to wear in the evenings. They are old and stained and they have a hole in them… but they are really comfy and cosy, and nobody else is ever going to see them!
4. Dinner for one.
The odd meal demands of my child aside, I don’t have to care what someone else would like to eat. I don’t have to worry about how much garlic I put into meals, or whether cabbage gives me wind, or whether oniony food will make me belch all night long. And I don’t have to share the nice food with anyone but my little girl, who mostly has a different opinion as to what’s nice anyway. I can cook whatever I fancy for dinner, without having to consider anyone else’s preference. I can eat dinner at a time that suits me, and I can slurp it and spill it down my front (if it’s spaghetti or something; I’m not completely inept) without worrying about looking unattractive or just plain stupid.
5. Crappy TV
I once went out with a man who hated to watch Casualty. Casualty is something of a tradition in my charity; we’ve always watched it, and my sister and I would often text each other as we watched, betting on which ridiculously unlikely yet grizzly accident would happen next. But Casualty airs on a Saturday night, and this man didn’t like it, so we didn’t watch it. Every Saturday evening I would sit there watching some awful movie I really didn’t care for, wondering what was happening in Casualty. Now I watch what I want, when I want. Well, when my child is in bed, at least.
I can invite whomever I want, whenever I want, to come and visit us. I don’t have to worry about whether someone else likes that particular person, whether they would rather spend the evening watching TV, whether they don’t like me associating with them (trust me, this is a big deal for me after previous experience). I can also kick visitors out when I want to, withouthaving someone else complain they were enjoying the conversation, and blah blah. My living room is my own to entertain guests when I want, and to have to myself whenever I want too.
If I want to visit a friend, I can visit them. I can meet a friend for a drink without worrying about whether someone else is expecting me back (except a babysitter, obviously). I can decide to get a coffee or something to eat with a friend without worrying whether someone at home had been planning a meal.
8. This blog
I spend a lot of time on this blog (I know, and I make it look so effortless!). When I’m not writing blog posts, I’m tweeting or commenting on other people’s posts. Or scratching my bum. Either way, if I had a man here to entertain, I would not be able to spend my evenings half-watching crappy TV as I work on the blog. I certainly wouldn’t be able to comment on blog posts or do the amount of general “socialising” on social media I currently do on a daily basis. I would have to pay attention to said man instead. And then all of you would suffer my absence! The horror!
9. I’m very selfish.
Turns out, there’s no space in my life for a man. I don’t have time, and more importantly, I have neither the energy nor the inclination to worry about someone else’s feelings, to take someone else’s plans or preferences into account when I think about what I want to do with my time. If there’s only enough milk in the fridge for one coffee, I get the coffee. I don’t have to pretend to be all selfless and caring and offer it to someone else. I can eat all the biscuits (not already scoffed by the small person); I can stretch out on the sofa; I can decide on a whim to rearrange all of my furniture. I answer to nobody, which is handy because I’m crap at that sort of thing.
10. Previous experience
This is the biggie. When my friends leave their children with their husband or partner while they go to work or the shops or wherever, my first thought is often either Aren’t you afraid he’ll run away with them while you’re out or Aren’t you worried about what he’ll do to them while you’re not there to keep watch. It’s a gut reaction, and then I remember that my experience of that sort of situation is not the way things normally are. I can’t imagine ever trusting anyone to care for my child as a parent should, when I could never trust her own father to do so. The problem with having been in such an intense, all-encompassing and ultimately poisonous, abusive relationship is that it wipes out everything that has gone before. You lose all concept of what is normal
Just FYI: I‘m writing this in my grubby purple tracksuit bottoms, stretched out on the sofa, eating leftover sausages for my tea. My legs are hairy; my face is spotty, and there’s nobody here to know. My daughter doesn’t care; I’m her mummy and she loves me, hairy legs or not. And these days, that is way more important. Valentines Day and hearts and flowers mean little to me these days; I’m happy as I am. And I may never shave my legs again!