I’m not a fabulous single girl.
Not the traditional fabulous, anyway, as defined by Hollywood and Sex and the City. Not the Carrie Bradshaw fabulous* of designer shoes and unique style and writers’ parties and a rent-controlled apartment. Not the kind full of interesting dates with handsome men and girls’ brunches on Sundays and hot nights on Staten Island with New York City’s finest firemen. Not even the kind where I spend sophisticated evenings discussing literature and politics at hole-in-the-wall bars over martinis with friends while eligible bachelors circle my stylish girlfriends and I, just waiting for an opening.
*This use of “fabulous” is questionable, given Carrie’s penchant for vexing whiny rants about Big and an almost childlike idealism about love and romance that I hope to Lucifer I don’t ever have – especially not at 40.
In my experience, the things single girls do are a little different than those in life of Carrie Bradshaw.
Single girls in my world eat cereal for dinner. Two boxes of Cornflakes and a half gallon of milk can sustain me for about 2 weeks (provided I don’t let the milk go bad in the meantime because instead of cereal for dinner I decided upon pizza and spread out that meal over several days, including lunch and breakfast). We know that pizza and cereal are neither sophisticated nor healthy, but we also know the cost of fresh greens gone bad when we’ve lost motivation to prepare yet another salad like you’re supposed to when you’re single* and we literally cannot stomach it. The cost of preparing a salad for one – ingredients, labor and the result of a pitiful meal served with a side of depression – is about equal to the cost of seeing your ex doing yoga with his new girlfriend when he’d said yoga was gay** when you brought it up, so it’s kind of not worth it. Enter pizza and cereal, which ultimately result in about the same amount of depression but somehow never feel quite as complicated.
*You know, “if you’re not maintaining, you’re gaining”!
**This was the point at which you knew the relationship was never going to work, for several reasons – single girls also have gay friends, so we generally dislike homophobic slurs.
We make do with our tried and true favorite heels, sometimes sacrificing fashion in favor of comfort (much to the chagrin of our much more fabulous girlfriends) when we go out, but we’re rarely the ones with our shoes off, hobbling down the sidewalk barefoot at the end of the night. A certain type of man looks for a certain type of woman in expensive, trendy heels – we like to call these men “high maintenance”, and they are to be avoided at all costs*. Our heels are the kind that can be kicked off at a dive bar in order to better whup our guy friends in a round of skee ball and we won’t be crushed if they’re lost or spilled on.
*See above; this man also likes a girl who eats salads.
Our apartments aren’t showcases full of Crate & Barrel, Ethan Allen or Dania decor that has been cleverly arranged to not look like page 36 of the spring 2010 catalogue. We may have attempted a creative shabby chic look at some point that may or may not have panned out* and so instead of the romantic-sexy Anthropologie look we were going for we’ve ended up a little more Urban Outfitters. Sigh. We leave our makeup all over the counter in the morning and sometimes clean it up on the way out the door on a Friday night if we anticipate that “someone” (ahem) might see it later, which given all the above probably isn’t likely to happen**.
**According to SATC, anyway, girls who eat pizza and play skee ball aren’t the kind who end up with Mr. Big – apparently you must at least have expensive taste if not an expensive wardrobe and a timeshare in the Hamptons in order to qualify, even if your frizzy curls make Shakira look well-groomed.
If we do think someone is coming over, we shove our drycleaning pile and the clothes we threw all over the bed while getting ready into the closet, and our unfiled paperwork and bills into the dryer*, in order to create the illusion of uncluttered domestic comfort. This facade quickly dissolves into reality when we go to offer the visitor a drink and realize that we only have a fridge full of canned beer or half a bottle of white wine and no real hard alcohol save for a little blueberry vodka left over from the last barbeque. This is the point at which we attempt to summon some seductive womanly tricks in order to keep the visitor from wondering what he’s gotten himself into, and hope if we can just hook him with our charm he’ll be so smitten that later he won’t mind that we can’t cook**.
**And secretly we’re hoping that he can.
We go to work with our hair in a stylish ponytail that disguises several days of not washing* and subscribe to the Marie Claire method of “Six Pieces, Ten Ways”! because we really can’t afford to keep up with the Vanity Fair fashions. We shop for inexpensive, trendy tops at H&M to complement our staid black suits and buy cheap jewelry because of all the statement pieces a girl could have, jewelry offers the most bang for a buck and requires the least maintenance.
*For the record, this is actually a good hair health practice for anyone with a thick mane – any magazine will tell you so. Even the most sophisticated of my professional friends subscribe to this. Also, I’m not at all defensive about it.
Single girls in my world hit the gym as often as they can but can be easily persuaded to give up the elliptical in favor of happy hour. We run in our exercise clothes that may or may not match and always start a workout with the intention of really sweating. We may not be rail-thin but we’re having so much fun making the social rounds with our other easily distracted friends that we don’t have time to notice – or aren’t willing to sacrifice cheap wine and appetizers for exercise.
We sit home on Saturday nights in our sweats. These aren’t the kind of nights where we’re drinking too much wine and crying into our ice cream over a guy, but the kind of nights where we’re having a glass because we deserve it after a long week, and we’ve chosen to stay home to enjoy the exquisite luxury of being by ourselves. We watch basketball or football and drink beer solo. We drink wine and blog. We rent movies we’ve been wanting to see – and we’re totally happy to do this by ourselves, because we know if we invite our girlfriends over we won’t end up actually watching*. Single girls will always be single if they stay home too often, but we know how to balance just enough personal time to recharge and just enough social time to be seen. Single girls in my world, if and when they’re ready to be open to the possibility of a man in their lives, know that it’s not about the Saturday night “scene” for finding a guy – it’s about being yourself, and that includes being comfortable being alone.
*Everybody loves a gabfest, but…sometimes it’s nice to be quiet for a while.
We’re not rich, but we’re successful. We’re introspective, and spend time thinking about what we want our lives to look like – and then work on making it happen. We make do, and we do without – sometimes we cry about it, but in the company of good friends (see happy hour above) we can often laugh and move forward. Single girls in my world have many aspirations for themselves, which despite the occasional domestic disaster and a horrifying diet plan makes them both desirable and fabulous. We may never be the most sophisticated, but we’re a hell of a lot of fun.
At the end of the day, that’s the kind of fabulous that’s just right for me.