Why She is Still Single
There is a lull, a social interlude, in which one finds herself around this time of life. Around the time she is 38.
Most of my friends are married. Most have a kid or two. We, as a group, are more or less done with weddings. (With first weddings, anyway.) Imagine my surprise, then, to have recently been invited to not one, but two weddings. Two. And stuff like that, it always happens in threes. It is suppose to happen in threes, and so I expect another invitation in the mail. It should be any day now.
Know, however, that I do have a handful of girlfriends who, for one reason or another, are single. Some of them love it. Some don’t. Some are ready to get the show on the road. They anticipate it, just as I anticipate that third, embossed invitation. They think to themselves, with guarded hopefulness, It should be any day now.
These friends of mine are amazing women. Educated. Witty. Interesting. Beautiful. The reasons they remain single against wishes to be otherwise, I’ll admit, are as complicated as the women themselves. I know one reason, though. One possible reason. And since it is the snarkiest explanation I can offer, I’ve bumped it to the top of my list: the perfect man, as he roams the earth in unsightly cargo shorts, bares little resemblance to the “perfect man” in the minds of my friends.
GROOMING AND APPEARANCE
She imagines he is…
“…a little bit nerdy,” but “cute in an endearing way that she ‘gets.'” (Note: This is a look that basically every woman “gets,” and it isn’t “nerdy” in the slightest, but conventionally handsome with with a pair of dark-framed glasses.)
He dresses in multiple layers: a t shirt, which covered by a button up. Which is covered with a crew neck sweater. Which is topped off by a blazer. There may even be a tie or scarf involved. He is an onion of wool, this guy. And he mixes prints and textures – a style that is meant to look haphazard and thrown-together (but, in truth, is carefully cultivated).
His hair is a little bit “messy.” The kind of “messy” that takes products, skill, a blow dryer, and maybe even a flat iron. Think seaside, not bedside. And central to this vision is that the man have an “average” build, which is to say he has an ideal build – a very low BMI, but without appearing scrawny.
…he is wearing contacts. Glasses give him a headache, and they aggravate the bridge of his nose by the end of the day. Or he has perfect vision. Or he, like my husband, wears the cheapest sunglasses he can find at the drug store, style be damned, because he is never more than three days away from losing them or mistakenly running over them with the truck.
He is also wearing a golf shirt. At best. God bless him. He is not rocking that “put together” look, and the reasons why outnumber the layers she expects him to be wearing. Too hot. Too stuffy and confining. Too expensive. Fears he looks homosexual. Then there is the issue of body type. One must have just the right frame for such a look, and any deviation from that frame, a short inseam or a pencil neck, could grind the whole thing to a halt. So he goes with the golf shirt. He finds it “safe” – neither too casual nor too dressy.
His hair is clean. That is worth something, right? But his hairline is changing. This makes him less certain than ever of how to style it. He just goes to Great Clips and requests that the stylist do “whatever [she] did last time.”
She imagines he…
…likes all the same bands as she, plus some really good ones she has yet to discover. Chill indie bands. Bands that play the kind of music one enjoys while driving around in the rain contemplating mortality.
In addition to being current on the right sort of music, he, himself, is a musician. He plays the guitar. I mean, maybe he plays the bass or something adorably quirky like a banjo, but most likely he plays guitar.
…he listens primarily to outdated stuff. The music he loved in high school and can’t get over. Third Eye Blind or Dave Matthews Band. Musical comfort food. The truth about this guy is that he puts in a lot of hours at work and doesn’t really have a lot of free time for discovering new music.
Is he, himself, a musician? The answer to that depends on whether or not playing the trumpet in middle school makes a man a musician.
She imagines he is reading…
…the classics. Beautiful, leather-bound editions of the classics. And did I say “reading?” because I meant “re-reading.”
…he is reading whatever best-seller was cheapest at the airport. It is non-fiction. So help me, I think it is about financial planning. He half-hardheartedly glosses over it while watching “Red Dawn.”
She imagines he is holding on to…
…strikingly beautiful black and white photographs his grandfather or great grandfather took while stationed overseas during WWII. Africa. Germany. Switzerland. From such an ugly war, such beautiful photographs. They are tied loosely together with a sash from one of his great grandmothers aprons, and they are closed up in an old tin or possibly a cigar box. The tin or box is on the top shelf of his closet.
…he is still holding on to his Pokemon cards. They’re in a zip-top sandwich bag. He doesn’t know where that bag of Pokemon cards is off the top of his head, but when he runs across them, he will probably get them out and play with them. Because why not?
She imagines he is…
…actively involved in church. His flavor of Christianity is remarkably similar to hers. He has probably even been on a mission trip this year where he either built wells (if handy) or dressed wounds (if trained in healthcare).
…he went to church as a kid and continues to believe now as he did then but cannot be bothered to get up and go to a service on Sunday morning. Sunday is his day off, and he wants to sleep in and then clean the gutters. Additionally, he finds church rather boring. He will go back when someone makes him, though. He will go back once he is married, should his wife request it.
She imagines he is…
…passionate about whatever he does. She has a good job and is not worried about how much money this guy makes, so long as the job doesn’t involve fast food or a big box office supply store. But if he were to be a documentary film maker or own a successful rickshaw business in a trendy area of downtown, that would be good.
…he does something with computers that is too dull to comprehend, let alone explain. It is important to someone somewhere in an office of some kind, though.
SENSE OF HUMOR
…he has one. A great one.
…he does. Of course he does. If he is introverted, though, it will take time to bubble up, and if he is extroverted, his brand of funny will carry with it an element of unpredictability that is anxiety-provoking. What if he goes too far in front of a friend or family member?
The bottom line, I think, is that finding the “right” person is not unlike finding the right prom dress or house. You will know it when you see it. That being the case, there isn’t really much to do but keep walking around with your eyes, and mind, open. If you’re reading this, and if you’re one of those women, I hope you’ll continue doing that. And if I’m to be honest, I hope something in this post sets off a series of events that leads to a third wedding invitation. Stuff like that should really happen in threes.