Continuing chronicles of the single life as the New Year dawns

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There’s nothing like being single at a New Year’s Eve party.

That’s partly why I avoid them at all costs.

You arrive at the party with your bag of chips. And you feel like Bridget Jones must have in the film where she’s the only single at a dinner table full of couples. They even plop her at the end of the table so she’s that much more prominent. Ouch!

You can cut the awkwardness with a knife, as she faces a barrage of questions about her singleness from contented couples cuddling cozily around the table as they sip their wine.

I digress.

Back to the New Year’s Eve scenario. You realize the minute you take your coat off you are in ‘couple’ land. Not another single in sight. That’s where the panic settles in.

It’s only 8 p.m. Four hours to go unless an excuse can be dreamt up, like your apartment is on fire or that darn guacamole didn’t agree with you after all.

The toughest part of the evening is approaching – the stroke of midnight when the couples give each other a New Year’s kiss.

That’s when awkwardness soars to unprecedented heights. It’s like standing in the middle of a ballroom with all these couples dancing around you. They look perfect.

Meanwhile, your throat is drying up. You feel dizzy. The blood has drained from your head.

You are standing there with your hands in your pockets and a smile on your face that says ‘You guys go ahead and dance. I feel calm and comfortable. I’m totally okay with being single at this precise moment in time. Really I am’.

This year, I opted for safety on New Year’s Eve – I spent the evening with family. The comfort level is there and lucky for me my family is loads of fun to hang out with anyways.

No awkward moments. No midnight moment when you want to dive under the couch (not that I would fit anyways) until the smooching is done.

As I’ve written about in previous columns, it’s not like being single equals a disastrous life. Nobody complains if my carpet goes for weeks without being vacuumed. The bathroom can get a bit, um, messy. I can wear dirty shoes in the kitchen without a mop promptly being handed to me.

I’m also fortunate to live in an era when being single is not the issue it once was. It must have been awful 50 years ago because virtually everyone got married and did so usually at young ages.

If your 30th birthday came around and you were single, poor you. The pitiful glances would begin.

Today, there is scarcely a hint of stigma but that doesn’t mean it’s completely gone. After all, this is a society built for families and couples. It’s not easy always to go it alone, even in the small things. Sitting by yourself in a restaurant isn’t exactly a moment of triumph where you want to stand up and proclaim your rugged independence.

In the big picture, I know that it’s not that vital of an issue. After all, keeping things in perspective is easy these days – just watch the evening news.

And there are lots of fun moments. It also makes a person grateful for friends. Especially the married ones who continue to welcome you as part of their families and don’t develop amnesia about friends once the wedding ceremony wraps up.

Would I call being single a blessing? It’s all in how you look at it. It certainly can be good, just as a good marriage can be. It can also be hard, just as a bad marriage would be. Ultimately, it’s about remembering that fulfillment can come to you in any number of ways.

Not that I’m closing any doors, mind you.

mweber@reddeerexpress.com

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