My adult life has been full of wild bucket list moments that would have made 12-year-old me pinch herself. I've met Jason Priestly — twice. I drank mint tea with Nick Cave backstage. But at the age of 40, a few common life experiences have escaped me: I’ve never learned to drive, never watched The Wire and never been in a serious relationship.
Whenever I reveal that I've been single my whole life, people react as if I've shape-shifted into Danny De Vito. And yet it’s rarely questioned when someone jumps from one relationship to another. An "Instagram official" post of a new couple will receive love heart emojis from friends. No one will comment, "You were only single for two weeks and your partner looks like a donkey’s testicle. Address your issues with emotional dependency."
I’m not the only one who’s been judged for her single status. Speaking to other long-term singles, it turns out we have a lot in common.
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Single mum Sarah (48) says “single people are perceived as lower forms of human beings. If you’re not coupling and pro-creating, there’s something wrong with you.”
I’m not anti-romance. The 1995 movie Before Sunrise set the model for my preferred dating style. I could fill a book with stories of my holiday flings with sexy European artists. But singlehood should be considered as valid a lifestyle choice as being in a relationship. Perhaps we’ll get there when we eliminate negative stereotypes. Here’s a short list of the ones I find most annoying: