Single

I love being by myself.

And I predict that a lot of people will chime in on this post and say, “Me too.”

But the fact of the matter is social norms seem to frown on one being alone. I spent an entire week in Huilo Huilo and was there by myself for four of those days. Maybe it was my imagination, but I felt like the staff, who clearly isn’t used to seeing women visit on their own, kept giving me pitying looks. When I’d ask to do things, from a horseback riding excursion to hiking to eating a meal, they’d ask, “By yourself?” By the end of the week I was ready to scream, YES BY MYSELF. Have you seen anyone else here with me this whole time? What…do you think I met an elf in the woods and invited him to dinner with me?!

When Rodrigo, my hair and makeup artist and dear friend, came down, they all looked so relieved that this poor little gringa was no longer sad and alone. A few even made comments, “Oh, GOOD, now you have a friend! Now you have company!”

What is wrong with my own company, I ask? I’m pretty sure I love spending time with my Kindle more than I love spending time with 99.99% of human beings on this planet.

Because of that experience, and more, I now give mad props to my single friends for their stoic-ness because I’ve realized this world really isn’t very alone-friendly.

 

“Hi! Do you have a table for one?”

“Just one?”

“Yep, just one.”

“Hey Kyle, you’re invited to this event, bring a date!”

“I don’t have a date.”

“I’m sure you can find someone.”

“Here are two vouchers, one is for you and one is for a travel companion.”

“I don’t have a travel companion, can I use it for myself?”

“No, it’s only eligible for your travel companion.”

“So you’re here (in Chile) by yourself? You don’t have a boyfriend?”

“Nope, just me!” (said happily)

“Don’t worry, you won’t be alone for long.” (said accompanied by a pitying look)

 

I am NOT WORRIED. Do I look worried???

ashkyle

Taxi drivers absolutely love to console me. They love telling me that I’m beautiful and that Chileans will be falling all over themselves to marry me (that happens, sometimes). They love letting me know that I have nothing to worry about, (again, do I look worried? Apparently I must) and there’s nothing wrong with me (thanks, I know?), buuuuuuut, I should definitely find a serious boyfriend while I’m still young and have my looks. How old am I? Ah ok 29. Well, if I wait much longer, it’ll be too late soon. But at least I don’t look like I’m 29 yet.

These conversations happen on a daily basis. In Chile. In the U.S., for the most part, people seem far less concerned by my relationship status or the likelihood that I’ll age alone and become a crazy cat (ok, dog) lady.

Before my ex-husband, I didn’t date. Then I was with him for 8 years, my entire adult life, until a year and a half ago. So this is the first time I’ve ever truly been single. I’m dating and am busy enjoying life and I have no desire to jump into a real relationship any time soon. This seems to boggle people’s minds. I’d never realized, but in Chile, at least, it often feels socially unacceptable to be single!

If you’re single in other countries, do you have these same types of conversations with people!?

Also, men, are you the target of these conversations too? Or is nobody pitying the single guys because if you’re male and you’re single it’s assumed you’re out there having a grand ol’ time. Whereas if you’re female and you’re single, it’s assumed you’re out there looking to meet somebody to settle down and have babies with.

Hmm.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Sjoerd Booij says:

    You rock that thing called life girl. Keep rockin’!

  2. Anni says:

    That’s crazy! I’m not single but I’m pretty introverted, so when I travel alone I do everything alone unless I know someone in the area well. I’m so not one of those people who can just go up to a random person and befriend them for the rest of my trip. And I’m totally okay with that. I like alone time sometimes, and I think it’s funny when people are appalled – appalled! – that anyone would be okay being single. Really? I love being married but I also love me some good alone time. Keep kicking ass and taking names, Kyle!

  3. Chris Bartow says:

    Most people think my life is like Barney from ‘How I Met Your Mother’, which isn’t entirely false. Most of my friends are all married with kids and enjoy my tales of insanity.

    What’s really weird is keeping in contact with others that you may have gone out on a date or two. People that have gotten divorced after me are already engaged again. It’s barely been a year.

  4. Amanda S. says:

    I know so many single women. I actually sometimes feel like the weirdo for being married (at such a young age) and having a baby before 30. It’s even more pronounced now that we moved back to the north east. I feel like a teen mom! So you are so not the only one and I think it’s absolutely fabulous that you are relishing it :-) This isn’t even comparable but I spent over 6 months living in NC while Oscar was in PA and everyone thought I was crazy for not being so lonely and miserable. I didn’t mind being on my own at all!

    • kyle says:

      Hahaha a teen more for having a baby in your late 20′s… so crazy but I can see how the mideast might make you feel that way Amanda!!!

  5. Chris Healy says:

    Don’t worry Hepp you’ll find someone!

  6. Deepa says:

    India is notorious for this Kyle. Here everybody and anybody wants to give advice to me…. “Loose some weight. Dress more like a girl. Have you tried a matrimonial site (You should Google matrimonial sites if you haven’t done that yet…)”
    All my school/ college mates are all married and with kids and they just cant understand why I am single.

  7. Max says:

    pobrecita!! jajajaj

  8. Heather says:

    I was asked fairly often in the last few years of my 20s about being single (yes, mostly by choice), told not to worry (I wasn’t! I was happy!), and offered reassurance that I would find someone and have babies (but what if I’m not sure I want either of those?).

    In my early to mid 20s, I was asked about my prospects and babies at a friend’s baby shower. When I said I was happy being single at the moment and mentioned my dream to travel internationally, the person followed up with “Oh when you meet someone, your dreams will change. You may not want to travel anymore.” Um.

    Interested to hear what others have to say, especially the guys.

    Keep on answering the questions with a big smile and genuine happiness :-)

  9. Leslie says:

    I can definitely relate to what you’ve said here. I’m currently not single (for the first time in my life) but I’m in zero hurry to get married and it seems like Chile can’t handle that. People are constantly asking me about weddings and babies and can’t understand why I’d get a table for one, anywhere.

    In China if you’re over 27 or 28 or so and not married they start referring to you as a “leftover woman” (as in leftover food in a doggie bag… not an attractive metaphor) and that title seems to have been propagated by official state media. So not cool. But there has been a wave of more feminist media articles coming out of China criticizing this label, so I guess that’s a step in the right direction.

    I especially hate the official policies about things like travel vouchers. How annoying! You should be able to use the second ticket yourself for a different trip. Grrrr…

    Happy travels to you! :)

    • kyle says:

      I was actually hoping you’d chime in, I knew that there would be some interesting cultural differences on this subject from China!!!

  10. Michelle Dupray says:

    I come from a family that is obsessed with dating. The problem is I never really dated in my teens and 20s. Now, I realize that was due to dysfunction in my family.

    My mom would always talk about my cousins who had boyfriends. There was the cousin who dated a boy from Ireland and another who dated a professional Football player. Then there was me dateless. My grandma once asked me if I had a boyfriend. When I said no, she got up and walked away saying we had anothing to talk about. When I had my first boyfriend at 31, it was dysfunctional and abusive in a way that was very similar to my upbringing. Scary really. It took me about a year and a half to realize it.

    I’m single now but I’m happy. I was teased for my values by my family before and now I’m very proud to be who I am.

    I want to be married and have kids very much. However, I won’t put my life on hold waiting for it again. I’m trying to master photography. I will start my own business in something. I’m taking courses to become a victim advocate volunteer.

    I would love to be in a relationship….but until that happens I’m going to be a role model of a healthy person…and continue to break the cycle of dysfunction…and start my own business…and continue those goals once I am in a relationship again.

  11. Justascot says:

    I was going to write another comment, but what Max said said it all in the most Chilean of ways.

    My wife is Chilean, but is a Samba singer here in Utah and is currently in California to take in Brazil camp. I love my wife and very proud of and support her singing but if I was to go along to that for a week I would hear the drumming in my head for another month. Besides my Spanish is bad enough my Portuguese is non existant. But when the in laws found out she was leaving me at home for a week, they were all concerned in the most Chilean of ways. Lots of what Max said, without the laughing.

    Personally I think I would be lonelier at Brazil camp not being able to converse or be useful in anyway. At least here I can walk the dogs up the mountain behind the house, or paint the kitchen cupboards that I haven’t had time to do since we moved in.

  12. Erin Huizen says:

    A year after I got married I fled to Japan and lived alone there for a year before returning to the domestic life. I didn’t speak Japanese so I don’t know what people thought of me for the most part, but once when I was in another city and looking for a hotel, a man stopped to give me a ride. He was silent most of the time other than telling me that I looked “so alone”.
    He dropped me off at my hotel where I enjoyed a spa and a beer and a nice, long rest. But his words bothered me, was there something wrong with being alone? I didn’t really think so. I appreciated the fact that my apparent loneliness earned me a free ride, but I didn’t feel lonely.
    Being alone is so delicious, and for me, it makes me really appreciate spending time with people I love.
    Maybe when people are annoying you about being solo, reassure them you have a Kindle and a rich inner life. And if they give you a blank stare, just start laughing hysterically and practice Tae Bo until they leave you be.

    • kyle says:

      Hahahaha “I have a Kindle and a rich inner life” I’m totally going to start using that line.

      And about the ride thing…yeah I do feel like people sometimes do really nice things for those of us who are alone. But I know it’s because they feel sorry for me and that makes me feel so weird. Like I shouldn’t accept their kindness because I’m not sad like they think I am!

  13. Erik says:

    Men go through it too, but probably not as bad as women. I didn’t get married until 35, and didn’t really date. I didn’t want kids so I had given up looking. When I told people I was happily single, almost no one could grap that. Now that I’m headed toward being single again, I’m a little frightened but also remember it wasn’t that bad.

  14. Anja says:

    Oh, I hear you girl! Being single mostly sucks just because everybody else is trying to tell you that you’ll find someone soon. Don’t worry! So even I you didn’t worry in the first place, you might start worrying after a while because you don’t find someone like everybody predicted. Nobody understands a single woman being single. What’s so bad about it? Being single does not equal being alone, world!
    Yes, I do want a boyfriend but I don’t want to see a pity look because I love travelling alone and I can actually exist being by myself. My theory is that most people just can’t exist alone.

    • kyle says:

      I think most people *think* they can’t exist alone. I felt like I wouldn’t have been able to. Until I got a divorce. Now I am alone and am happier than ever, shocking!

  15. decoybetty says:

    What’s funny is the thing that I hated most about being single wasn’t going out and doing things on my own – but not really having anyone to share it with when I got back home.

    I’m totally a loner and completely enjoy my own company.

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