Hitched: What I Miss About Being Single — And What I Don’t
People just love to get engaged at Christmastime. I imagine this is a result of a combination of factors, from feeling more family-oriented than usual (although the holidays have the opposite effect on many of us) to the celebratory atmosphere at large and increased presence of shiny objects generally. I spent Christmas Eve “liking” a whole new host of “Blankety Blank is engaged to Persony Person” updates before heading to sleep in my childhood bedroom with my new-ish husband.
I fell asleep surrounded by the ghosts of Jonathan Taylor Thomas posters of teenage years past; I awoke remembering that when you sleep with a J.T.T. poster in your bed, it doesn’t steal all the covers in its sleep and relegate you to a frigid corner of a surface roughly the width of a kayak.
There are some things I do miss about being single, I thought, remembering nights slumbering peacefully all alone in a bed piled high with covers, no one kicking or snoring around me. Patrick and I have upgraded to a king-size bed at home; the investment was worth the savings in whatever divorce lawyers will be charging in 2025. But as I lay there waiting for the Christmas Day sunrise, thinking of this year’s upcoming crop of weddings and silently cursing out the man I love most in the world for his God-forsaken stuffy nose and unconscious blanket hoarding, I thought: Cherish some things while you can, newly engaged folks.
Sleeping alone is, for me, one of life’s great pleasures. I am a sprawler, an owner of a variety of pillows in a plethora of sizes and shapes, all with specific sleep-related purposes and seasonal applications. I love to cuddle on a couch. I hate to cuddle on a bed. If Patrick and I didn’t have our giant bed — we even made it a venue on Foursquare, and I’m the mayor — we’d probably sleep in separate ones.
I could also do without having to pick up after myself constantly just to make someone else’s daily life generally more tolerable. I stop just short of being personally offended at Patrick’s frustration with how I have to be constantly reminded to hang my clothes back up for weeks after a trip to the Laundromat. Dude just loves being able to see dresser tops and most of the floor, the appeal of which escapes me. But putting socks in a drawer is a terrible sacrifice I’m willing to make for the man I love.
I miss taking no one’s schedule into account besides my own and, to some degree, my cats’, though they stick to a pretty predictable sleep-eat-lick-butt-repeat agenda. Now, I have to inform someone of my plans to play Sim City and eat ranch dip for eight straight Saturday hours. Newly enfianced people, consider putting caveats for this type of thing in any forthcoming prenuptial agreement.
I’d like to think that my friendships haven’t suffered because of my marriage to Patrick, though they’re bound to change. There was a sense of in-it-togetherness that I felt with my friends as a single person; now, I channel my in-it-togetherness toward my husband. It’s as if I moved from living in a Hold Steady album to a Springsteen record; but maybe that’s just getting older. I miss those massive nights, though.
What I don’t miss? Online dating, the shit show I just couldn’t seem to quit for more than a few months at a time. What was it that kept drawing me back to OK Cupid? Hard to say — could have been the flattering amount of messages from promising and polite gentlemen asking if I wanted to “fuk on kam 2nite” or the creative challenge of finding exciting new ways to say “You appear to be a perfectly nice and respectable person who I simply have no interest in talking to for even one more second.”
I like not worrying about getting tested for STDs every few months; casual sex with an exciting variety of people has many redeeming qualities, but maybe getting an antibiotic-resistant form of gonorrhea isn’t one of them. If ever I grow weary of married sex, I feel sure that the temptation to stray will be tempered in part by the memory of spending entire nights begging Google to tell me once and for all whether that’s just an ingrown hair.
I sure don’t look back fondly upon having to hit up friends for rides to the airport. Husbands are morally obligated to do this (though it was taken out of the traditional Christian vows sometime in the 17th century), which is especially convenient in a place like Austin, where flights to anywhere farther than the next county over inevitably must leave at the crack of dawn or arrive at the taint of night.
And I guess it’s plenty nice to be in love and have a forever-activities-partner and perpetual cheerleader by your side … even if they’re a little too by your side, drooling on half your pillow and bogarting the quilt.