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?”
“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???
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.