So, there was this thing that happened in the nineties. When was it? Eighties, nineties, give or take, where special causes started having “awareness days.” So, like, “Gay Awareness Day” was a thing at my college. Wednesday was “Wear jeans if you support gay rights Day.” Of course, everyone wore jeans every freaking day back then, so there was always one prejudiced, straight, total asshole white guy who freaked out about wearing jeans, “On accident. No gay love here!” and went home and changed. Then came back and protested with a sign. Eyeroll.
Days like “Eating Disorder Awareness day,” and “Differently-Abled Awareness Day” and and “Left-Handed Persons of America Awareness Day.” Then whole months: Black History Month, Women’s History Month. Did anyone point out that the month allotted to Black History is, in fact, the shortest month of the year, thanks to racism and Augustus Caesar? (Okay, I looked it up and I was totally wrong. Black History month started because Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln both have birthdays in February. )
I digress. All throughout my teens and twenties and well into my thirties, I bought into the idea that if I was single, I was in some way failing.
Failing to fulfill my destiny as a future wife and mother. Failing to snag a man. Failing to be seen and heard and known and loved. Failing to have sex, which was weird and complicated and nudity and stuff. Failing to be whole, complete. Failing because everyone else was dating someone, even that rando guy who never changed his shirt. I had friends. I had dear friends, some guys, but mostly women who were also single. But no boyfriend. There were a few times when I was dating someone. Senior year of high school, freshman year of college. However, most of the time, I was single. Or I had failed relationships that were actual train wrecks, but that’s a different post.
Mostly, I thought there was something wrong with me. Why was I always single? I would go out on dates. Remember dates? Ugh, no. I’ve blocked them out of memory! Too painful. Or frat parties or bars, hoping to hook up and meet the love of my life and thereby feel whole!
After I got sober, I joined some friends at a local bar for karaoke. We gathered for karaoke on friends’ birthdays about 3 or 4 times a year. I remember distinctly, looking around at this bar – it could have been any bar, though – and feeling mortified: “This is where I thought I was going to meet the love of my life and become fulfilled? Whoa!” Looking around at everyone’s faces, I wondered what they were looking for as they cradled their drinks and bopped along to the beat. Then a compassionate part of me reminded the rest, “It’s okay. Everybody makes mistakes.” That seems like a pretty serious thought error, though. That I cherished for years. But isn’t that what Romantic Comedies have told us about catching a husband? Even ideas need to die.
Valentine’s Day became a problem: an annual reminder that I was a total failure at being loved by a romantic partner. Almost as bad as The Dreaded Annual Christmas. At least February is a teensy bit warmer than December, usually. The light starts taking on a brightness in February that is not snow. Plus, a holiday about love and chocolate? I can totally get behind that.
Yeah, so Valentine’s Day when I was a kid was like this. You get a box of cardboard valentines at the store. Then you write “Anna” near the word “From” on all of them. I usually had a person on whom I had a crush! and that person would get the “special message” valentine. “My eye’s on you, valentine!” “Will you be mine?” God, it was just agony. Did anybody else overthink this?
So, fast forward to 2009. I am working with this very goofy, socially awkward guy, who is flat out brilliant. The boss’s son. He’s got nerd glasses, terrible posture (he’s really tall), and this kind of annoying laugh-giggle. He’s told me to my face that I terrify him. “You’re terrifying,” were his exact words, I think. Naturally, my response to this was, “What?! You can reach the top shelf! You’re so tall, you can see above everybody else’s head in a crowd or a rock concert! You are a grown ass man! I am short, fat, loud, female, and opinionated. I’m not terrifying. No. I don’t see it.”
(Actually kids! It turns out that some men are terrified of short, loud, beautiful, abundant-bodied, brilliant women! Even tall men! Who knew?)
So this coworker was also single. There was exactly no chemistry between us. He drove me batshit crazy like only a sibling could. We talked about it years later: it was the same for him! I drove him sibling-crazy. He comes up with this great idea for a party to have on Valentine’s Day!
Except for he calls it Single’s Awareness Day. (I told you he was brilliant.) So a bunch of us, who were all single — smart, lovely, wholehearted, brilliant, kind: I mean, there’s nothing wrong with us! — get together at a bar to laugh and eat and drink and enjoy each other’s company.
Such times as these, are traditions born, with great joy and a teensy bit of snark. I’m not kidding here. There are people in this world who do not know about this world-changing, counter-cultural, alternate consciousness holiday!
Now that you know, get out there and evangelize, people! Haha!
This shift was a total game-changer for me. Just like that! Okay, maybe it took a while, but: no more agony over being single. No more questioning my worthiness and beauty. No more playing along with our culture’s definition that wholeness = being half of a couple. That’s right: you don’t need to be quirky to be alone: all you need is self-love.
Here. I give this gift to you: Single’s Awareness Day. Take it, live it. Tell anyone who asks to set you up with “this friend of theirs” to kindly go fuck themselves. You are perfect, just as you are.
Okay, so I went back to the original post of ought-nine, and I would like to say the following: of course it was my phrase all along! Moo-wahahahaah! Also, did you notice my excellent grammar? I and my friends? My friends and I?
Super fun! This is his intro for the party.