It was a Friday night. The music was loud. There was dancing, drinking, and chatting. Everyone seemed to be intoxicated by the music, alcohol, or drugs.
I and my girls were seated at a semi-round table just across the bar. We were between the ages of 29 and 48. All eight were singletons, doing exceedingly well in our various fields.
It was a fun night. I’m not a party freak, at least, not anymore. Since a entered my thirties, my interest in parties declined. But once in a while, I attend private parties where I don’t have to deal with strangers nosing into my business.
This time, I was invited to a nightclub by an old acquaintance who just moved into the area. My friend had set up the club and requested that I bring my friends for the ground opening. It has been like…uhm, six or seven years since I attended a nightclub. I felt awkward watching teenagers get high, while others stared with curiosity.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one feeling awkward in the room. The noise was off-putting. You can’t hear yourself think, let alone have a conversation. I think nightclub owners do this on purpose. They play loud music to discourage people from talking so they drink more booze instead.
It’s all about money. You get drunk or high for them to keep the cash flow rolling — which was what we did.
We were minding our business, drinking, and shaking our heads to the rhythm of the song. The DJ was phenomenal. He knew which songs to get people rocking their bodies. Some of us got up and hit the dance floor.
Just as we started dancing, some guy with a thick long beard and tattoos all over his arms and neck joined me. He was wearing black leather pants with a matching jacket. He seemed lucid, but was reeking of alcohol. I could smell herbs on him too. Whatever he had smoked must be too strong that it made me dizzy.
He whispered something in my ears, but I didn’t catch what he said. I just nodded and gave a fake smile. Then he whispered again, this time it was louder. He asked if this was how I welcome new guys to my town. I pretended not to hear him. I gestured with my right hand that the music was too loud.
I had lost the desire to dance and this guy wasn’t leaving.
I felt nostalgic.
Two seconds more, I would have thrown up. I immediately excused myself.
Shortly after, my group moved upstairs to the private lounge.
What a relief!
While we were chatting amongst ourselves, Tiana, 44, said she feels too old being at a nightclub.
We all agreed and laughed over it.
Gina, 34, cuts in that she does not only feel old but ashamed that she attends them because she hopes to find a suitor there. Some of the ladies agreed that their quest to find a mate is the reason they endure midnight clubbing and partying despite their disgust for these activities.
Only three of us disagreed. The three of us were there because we wanted to unwind and feel alive.
I have stopped attending nightclubs for a long time. I feel irritated by the mixture of bad breath, farts, and body odor that fills the room. I hate screaming at the top of my voice when I talk and physically touching my body with hot and sweaty bodies because everyone is dancing in close proximity.
I can’t stand the loud music. I honestly, can’t endure the discomfort if it were for the purpose of finding a date.
It’s no news most singletons feel ashamed of their status.
We are usually the target of gossip and discrimination. Married folks don’t like mingling with their single friends for some reason.
Married women especially tend to assume the worst about their single lady friends. They think we are envious of their marriage and that we might snatch their husband. Others think being around their single buddies will lead them to betray their partner so they stay away from that circle of friends.
Singletons feel awkward as their clocks continue to tick. They get depressed because of the pressure to procreate.
Some of my white female friends got into contract marriages just so they could escape social pressure about marriage and procreation. They ended up more depressed than when they were single during the divorce and custody battle.
I have seen ladies get scammed for being desperate to marry. They ignore the red flags and jump into ‘ship’ with a total stranger. And before they know it, they are swimming in regrets.
Sometimes singletons find it difficult to get a rented apartment. Homeowners want to know why you are single and how frequently you have visitors. Society makes being single feel like a disease instead of a blessing which is why most singletons are ashamed of being single.
Being single is nothing to be ashamed of.
Most times when I tell people I’m single, the next question that follows is “why?” As if I’m missing a layer in my life’s curriculum. I have tried to avoid family gatherings because of the endless questions will face from uncles, aunts, grannies, and cousins. Even my nieces and nephews want to know why the pretty aunty Jess isn’t a ‘Mrs,’ yet.
Being single isn’t normal in our culture. You must have a problem if no one has taken you under the umbrella of marriage.
They don’t seem to understand that some of us are single by choice. Some are single because they don’t want to settle with just anybody. Some are taking a break from sex to reconnect with themselves after a messy breakup. They are choosing to be their best selves before entering into a relationship. Some have decided to stay singletons just to take care of themselves and be in tune with their mind and body.
As for me, I’m single because I prioritize my career over my love life. The power imbalances I have seen in my relationships since I started dating at 16 made it easy for me to stay perennially singleton.
Dating is really hard for an ambitious woman like me. I have realized that all the relationships I have been in, from casual to long-term felt entirely antithetical to the vision of equal partnership I envisaged for my life.
Being single gives me autonomy over my own body and to do what is right for my dreams. The lack of agency I feel in my love life discourages me from entertaining any suitor.
So when I think about my status as a singleton, I feel blessed. I’m happy to escape the emotional pressure in relationships. I am happy I don’t need to make sacrifices that will jeopardize my future.
The moment I realized being single wasn’t and isn’t a punishment or defect that needs fixing, I stopped feeling ashamed of being a singleton.
Dating shouldn’t be mandatory in our curriculum of life. Since women now have more access to education, jobs, birth control, and divorce, we shouldn’t be shamed for not wanting to structure our lives around men.
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This post was previously published on medium.com.
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