Why You’re Still Single

It’s always been a mystery to me: why am I still single? Well, somebody knows, and she wrote it in to the Chronicles of Crisis this past week. For those who don’t read this oh-so-essential column, here’s the lowdown. If you’re still single, you probably fall into one of these categories:

1 – You’re obsessively spiritual

2 – You will only accept perfection

3 – You have a psychological need for a parental figure and don’t socialize well with people your own age

4 – Require a spouse they can worship on a pedestal

5 – Require a knight in shining armor to wrap them up in fluffy clouds and chase the big scary world away

6 – You’re fat, frumpy, or you have a big nose

The author has come up with these six categories, and notes that she doesn’t fit into any of them. She therefore wonders why she’s still single. I think she neglected one category:

7 – You’re an insufferable know-it-all.

Now, perhaps it is true that all single people fit into at least one of these categories. However, you can’t conclude your correlation = causation theory without checking the other end. Meaning, how many married people fit into these categories?

I admit that I don’t have enough friends to create a statistically significant pool, but I believe I have MFs who fit into most of those categories. Definitely into category 6. I’ve met men and women who fit into category 5 who are married; four – possibly, it’s a little hard to diagnose one’s friends; and one – definitely. Even category sevens get married sometimes.

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Protean Me

I recently ran into a friend I hadn’t seen since high school. The only way I recognized her was from her voice. She’d gotten married, changed her hair, her weight, her dress… Granted, I had almost never seen her out of a ponytail and uniform before, but seriously, this was drastic change.

It got me thinking: how much had I changed since high school?

And it’s hard to think of change without trying to categorize it: good change, or bad change? The idea is that if you identify bad change you can attempt to reverse it.

But there I ran into a problem. So much of what goes for “good” or “bad” is based in something very ephemeral. A while ago BoSD posted about meeting a high school teacher in the grocery. She knew the teacher would disapprove of her mascara, but she’d been ordered to never leave the house without it by a woman she knows. So basically, in high school, eye makeup is the invention of the devil, but for women of marriageable age it’s one of life’s necessities. Is wearing it bad or good or neutral? This subjective nature of rightness baffled me.

There was another thing that stymied me. Namely, of the ways that I appear different than in high school, how many are actual changes, and how much is giving up on changing? In high school they operate very much on a “chitzonius mi’oreres es hapenimiyus” theory. It mostly didn’t work for me. I tried many things in high school based on the promise that they would eventually cease to be objectionable, and they mostly fell by the wayside after graduation when I discovered that they were as objectionable as ever. So, did I change, or did I just cease to try to change?

So I gave up on trying to quantify my personal evolution. Maybe I should stick with the standard-issue cheshbon hanefesh and see if I’m happy with who I am now, without comparing to someone I may have once been.

Things Have Changed

When I was trawling through my posts a few weeks ago, looking for that post I never found, I came across this one called “An Insensitive Question.” The gist is that about 2.5 years ago my sister asked if I felt bad when other people got engaged. My answer was “not really” and it still stands.  But then there was this:

On the one hand, there’s a bit of a twinge when a friend gets paired off first and you wonder why you’re less matchable than they are. At the same time, I can’t say I’ve ever felt “left behind.” I imagine “left behind” requires the majority of people to be moved ahead, but there are so many singles to hang out with that I really don’t feel that way. If anything, I wonder if my poor married friends feel “left ahead.”

Yeah, that’s different alright. Not only are most of my friends married, but people younger than me are getting paired off. Last night the neighbors held sheva brachos for someone a year behind me. Everyone my age and up has been long paired off. I am the official old maid of the block.

But it’s not just those a year younger who are “passing.” Good4 is very anxious to marry me off before she accepts a ring herself. And she’s five years younger than me. Yep, I’m soon to begin that chapter wherein my younger sister is dating too. I’ve assured her that I won’t mind dancing at her wedding without the extra layer of hair, but she keeps wringing her hands over it. She’s absolutely convinced that she’s going to be married within a few months of returning from seminary and I’m going to be the wedding nebach case.

Meanwhile, many of my classmates have just finished giving birth to their second child.

So, do I feel left behind? I think I might be starting to.