What 15 years of singleness have taught me

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Whenever this day rolls around, I am sharply reminded of how long it’s been since I was last in a relationship. I’ve been single for 15 years now, and I think I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve perfected the art of being single. I’m doing it really well. With that amount of time to practice it, I think I’m rocking it by now.

I’m sure a lot of you reading this, especially the women, would be aghast. Fifteen years without a man? Am I normal? (I would be the first to say I probably am not, but then normal is overrated. Admit it.)

It’s not like I’ve had a string of devastating heartbreaks that spurned me from romance. I’m actually in good terms with my exes. They are good, decent men who are now in happy relationships. I was immature and idealistic when I were with them years ago, and the breakups were not really painful enough to embitter me.

But I’m not going to dissect here the many possible reasons why I have remained single all these years. I will leave that to my journal entries. What I’d like to share here is what I’ve learned being single for this long, and after I started taking up dating again last year.

        1. I have a strong personality, to which I respond, “so what?” I’ve been told this several times by well-meaning people, that the reason I’m still single is because I have a strong personality. I don’t quite get why being confident and outspoken would hurt my chances at love. Does this mean I should act timid and shy to attract the guy of my dreams? Here’s the thing – the man of my dreams is one who finds my confidence sexy, not be repelled by it. By the way, I earned my strong personality. It’s a badge of honour worn by women who love who they are.
        2. I have a brain and I use it. If a man is intimidated by the fact that I can figure out how to fix busted lights and plumbing, or piece together a well-written sentence, or have an opinion about politics and economy, then he’s not The One. I will not dumb myself down for a man or anyone for that matter. My father worked hard to give me an education, while the good Lord gave me a fully functioning brain. I have every intention of putting both into good use.
        3. I earn. I am a working woman who makes enough to pay her own bills. I do not rely on someone else to provide what I need. I don’t borrow money. Okay, the few times I did, it was from my parents. (Interest-free, hello?) And I always pay it back, or else my Mom will not let me hear the end of it. Anyway, my point is – I will not choose a man for his money because I do not need his money. I once went out with a guy who made a ceremony out of paying the restaurant bill, making sure that I saw all the credit cards in his wallet. This after boasting about the cars he’s bought and plan to buy. If there was an Idiot’s Guide on How to Impress A Working Woman, this would be at the top of the list.
        4. Intelligence and humor over abs. I have realised that I am a sapiosexual, one who finds intelligence sexy. When the man can talk about anything and express himself succinctly, when his wit sparkles and his grammar is spot on, I get shivers. If that intelligence comes with a sense of humour, I’m a goner. The man who can make me think and laugh is the man who I’ll want to spend a lot of time with. I have no need for muscles and abs if they don’t come with a brain and a funny bone.
        5. The man who can make me think and laugh is the man who I’ll want to spend a lot of time with. I have no need for muscles and abs if they don’t come with a brain and a funny bone.

        6. Character above all else. I will be realistic here. No matter how funny or intelligent a man is, if he’s arrogant or selfish or immoral, then he’s not a keeper. I know it would be hard to find intelligence, sense of humour, wit, and a good character in one package (they hardly really make men like that nowadays anymore, do they?) but if I have to choose, then I’ll pick the man with a good heart and a strong moral compass. Ultimately, it’s the good man who knows how to take care of the people he loves that will make a woman happy.
        7. Respect is not a trend. I have gone out on dates where the man expects/assumes that I will have sex with him afterwards. I may have been out of the dating circuit for a while, but my moral compass remains steadfast and firm on this one. I just don’t sleep around. Call me old-fashioned, ice queen, frigid – I’m sure there are other choice words you can think of here – but this is just not what I do. I respect myself and my body. It may give me cold nights and empty beds, but at least I don’t have to wake up next day with regrets, or worry about catching STD or getting pregnant. There is a reason why they call it the “walk of shame.” I’m not even going to blame this to how I was raised (although that has something to do with it) but it’s really a personal choice that I expect the man to respect, and not mock. Yes, I’ve had one guy make fun of me on this. But hey, that’s his problem, not mine. I understood why he did it, too. It must have hurt to know I didn’t find him amazing enough.
        8. Don’t settle yet be flexible, too. When a woman knows what she wants in a man, it would be hard for her to settle for less. Now, what is less is subjective here. What could be a deal breaker for me might not be for another woman. But because I know what I want, I will not settle for a boy because I’m holding out for a man. On the other hand, I’m not perfect so I’m not looking for perfection. (A perfect man would be boring, don’t you think?) What I’m seeking is one who is perfect for me. My kind of perfect (refer to No. 4 and No. 5).

    Having been single for such a long time, it would have been understandable if I snapped up the first guy who came along. It had the reverse effect, however. I became even more choosy as time went by. I shouldn’t be so choosy at my age, I know, but since I want quality and durability, so to speak, then I will continue to hold out for a keeper. Until I die of old age. Harhar.

    One more thing – I’ve learned to enjoy the moment. I used to delay some of the things I wanted to do because I thought that I needed a man to experience them fully. Duh. Don’t wait for a man to start doing what you want. Be happy and have fun on your own.

    All that being said (all 1,167 words of it), I haven’t lost faith that there is a man out there who will make the long wait worthwhile.

    But if this doesn’t happen and I end up being a spinster, then I will come back to this post years from now and edit the title to read: “How To Die A Single Woman (Results Guaranteed).”

    Because this post needed a picture and this seems like a perfect one with the caption: What 15 years of waiting looks like. (You gotta admit that was funny, right?)