Being single isn’t always easy. This week, we’re exploring the negative aspects of being single – and next week we’ll be celebrating the positive.
By Alexis Cheney – @Alexis-Cheney
You send him a text message and wait for the upward-lilting ding that will lift your spirits – the proof he takes interest in your life and wants to see you again. The proof he is attracted to you and, in-turn, that you may find yourself attractive. You wait. Wait. Wait. You delete his previous messages so the last one does not hang unanswered, mocking you. You glance at the screen. A few minutes later, you look again because you’re still holding onto the hope he will respond. Even after days and weeks of silence.
You condense dinner or a movie or sleep to get ready before going out. You shave your legs – behind the knees, near the Achilles heels. You burn your unwieldy hair straight as it sizzles and smokes. You smear oily cream over your pimples, knowing it will only feed them and help them grow. You put on heels that hurt your feet, but accentuate your calves. You waste your money on alcohol and Ubers to-and-from dark, crowded bars. You do all of this to catch his eye, to dance with him, to kiss him, to avoid silence when your friends swap Sunday morning stories with each other, to prove to them and to yourself you are not abnormal.
To generate a Sunday story, you wait in line in the cold outside the bar. You make it past the bouncer. You find a sliver of space on the dance floor. You try to lose yourself in the music but you glance behind you, in front of you, for a hint that he appreciates your legs, your burnt hair, your second face. You want attention. NO, not from the hand grabbing your butt as it gropes through the crowd. NO, not from the man with gray hair thrusting his hips towards you. You pretend to enjoy yourself when your friends spin gracefully into handsome men and you wiggle alone.
You sit on your couch on a Friday night and scroll through the photos of your friends and family on Instagram and Facebook. One rests her head on his lap as they picnic together in Central Park. One stands, beaming, on a peak at Acadia National Park while he puts his arm around her. One poses with her hands on her bulging stomach, looking serene and natural 12 days before giving birth. You stare down at your pudgy stomach, cringing at the image of yourself pregnant with twiggy legs, hunched shoulders, stretch marks and pubic hair crawling up towards your protruding navel.
You lie alone in bed wondering why no one is lying besides you. Do you lack pheromones? Are you too hairy? Do you have too many moles? Too low of an IQ? You think of your previous other. He was by no means great, but you miss when he massaged your lower back, the smell of cologne on his chest, his smile that made you feel beautiful.
You wonder when the next He will come along. When fate will relieve the hunger that gnaws at your heart. A furious hunger that you – alone – have no power to satiate.