But fuck it. My blog, my rules.
Truth is, recently - very recently, mind - I have become aware of a feeling that I haven't had for a while. I actually want to meet someone. I want that thing that almost everyone I know appears to have. It's a weird thing when you're a single woman of 37. You're not meant to say that you really, really would like a partner because, obviously, that's desperate. And when you cover your loneliness with snarky humour you're labelled bitter. You're aware that people think you're at least a bit weird, or high maintenance, or that there must be something wrong with you to be left on the shelf, but as this is 2013 no one actually ever says that. But it's funny, I hear people crack jokes about single older women and it's assumed they're desperate and lonely. It just is. It's a stereotype that just won't die. So if they think that about other single women of around my age then they must be thinking it about me, right?
People ask me with alarming regularity whether I've considered becoming a lesbian. Which I know is meant to be an amusing bon mot about my single status. But increasingly I'm finding it just deeply, deeply offensive. If I fancied women I'd be a single lesbian. My sexuality is not the 'problem', it's the fact that I either can't find anyone or I won't allow anyone to find me. I don't know which it is and I don't know which is worse.
Moaning about your single status is boring, talking about it is desperate, crying about it is pathetic... so what are you meant to do? What if you spent most of last decade in a relationship and just haven't been able to meet anyone that's right? What if you try pretty hard to be OK with it in the face of your friends moving on, moving in, getting hitched and having babies? What if you've bought more wedding and new baby cards than you can even remember and you spend Christmas ligging on to someone else's family because you don't have one?
But at all times you must remain positive. It's important that you realise that your very wish to meet someone could be preventing you from doing so. After all, no-one likes a desperate middle aged woman. They can smell this desperation, you know. So you have to be totally OK all the time and never ever show any kind of envy of anyone else's lifestyle or relationship.
And sometimes, just very occasionally, this pisses me off. I've done both you see. I've lived with a boyfriend and I've lived alone. And it's a lot harder on your own in just practical ways. There is no one to help with bills. Or with rent. Or when you lose your keys. Or when you get home scared because you're pretty sure some nutter was stalking you down Walmgate most of the way home. Or when you're sick and you haven't even got the energy to go to the shop to get some teabags. It's harder on your own. You never have a plus one to any event ever, you go to weddings, funerals and parties on your own, you go to hospital appointments on your own. If you want to go on holiday you either find that rarest of rare beasts - an attached friend who's happy to go away without their other half - or the even lesser spotted also single friend who has time and money to go with you - or you go on your own.
Mostly you just do stuff on your own. It most definitely becomes a recurring theme. And it can be difficult to enjoy the delights of, say, a summer's day when you're always on your own. You start to feel conspicuous. I'm not even sure that I haven't already become that crazy cat lady who never has a boyfriend. It's possible the youngsters in this neighbourhood already point and stare. How would I know? They're doing it behind my back because I am CRAZY CAT LADY.
And it's definitely the case that true love doesn't happen for everyone. Some people never find The One. Some people have trouble locating any possibles. Or probables. Or even would touch with a bargepoles.
And I don't get this view that you must never, ever bemoan said single status because, gasp, that puts men off. And you can't afford to do that, if you're a single middle aged woman. As someone who is actually incapable of damping down her awkward and bolshy personality, it's probably no particular surprise that it's increasingly looking like emotional connections with male people aren't on the cards. I don't have the knack. I don't know how to compromise enough. I don't like people touching my stuff. I don't like being told what to do. I don't like feeling like I can't breathe. I don't like feeling guilty. And to me, that's what a relationship is.
But I don't want to be alone.
And I am.
For now, anyway.