dating

'I'm the girl you meet before you meet The One.'

Listen to this article being read by Adrienne Tam, here. 


American novelist Ernest Hemingway is often credited with writing the shortest - and saddest - story in the world. It has only six words.

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Ouch. Hits the heart, right?

Well, here's my version.

Friday night: Chinese takeaway for one.

Yeah. Eat your heart out, Ernest Hemingway.

To get you in the mood for this article, I recommend watching the scene where Bridget Jones mimes along to the anthem of the single people, "All By Myself", while sitting on the couch in her pyjamas.

For your viewing pleasure and convenience, here is the scene. Story continues after.


Video via Bridget Jones Diary.

So, let me tell you about the kingdom I live in. It's called Singledom.

It's nice here most of the time. I eat what I want, I watch what I want, I sleep when I want, and I never have to tell anyone when I'm coming home. (I mean, I tell my cat, but she rarely cares.)

Sometimes though, Singledom isn't so great.

Despite numerous advancements we've made as a society, there is just something about being single that causes people to look at us with a bit of pity. Or a lot of it, depending on who's doing the looking.

It's as though we have a disease. There are a few phrases given to our "affliction". Unlucky in love. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Still waiting for Prince Charming to come along. And so on and so forth.

We're punished for our single-ness by the way of taxes, housing, hotels, food... basically anything involving finances.

We annoy event organisers by ruining their perfect seating configuration: "Do you think we can have an 11th table setting?"

There are a million love songs in every language.

There are a million rom-coms in every country.

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A Mills & Boon romance book sells every 10 seconds. 

The world is built for twos, not ones.

Coupledom has a better economy than Singledom, that's for sure.

Nevertheless, I haven't had too much of a problem being single. I think now that I'm 40, people have given up hope of me ever finding The One.

Which is fine by me! Giving up is not given enough credit, don't you think? What is wrong with giving up? More people should definitely just give up.

Giving up means less prying questions about my non-existent dating life. This makes me happy.

Nothing to see here; move along. Image: zmonline. 

But a few days ago, I received a Facebook notification about a memory from a few years ago. The memory involved an ex-boyfriend, and I noticed his profile picture was a wedding photo. From what I could gather [we are no longer Facebook friends], he got married late last year.

I felt a tinge of wistfulness. It was fleeting, but real. He was a big part of my life at one stage, and now we were pretty much strangers. 

There was also a sense of unease. This was the third ex-boyfriend of mine who had met and married their significant other... straight after dating me.

In every science experiment, there is a constant and a variable. In this case, the variables were my ex-boyfriends. The constant was me.

I had to face a harsh truth.

I am the girl you meet before you meet The One.

Listen to The Quicky, your daily podcast that gets you up to speed on all the news. Story continues after.

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I feel like I'm living out the plotline for a movie - except it's a side plotline that no one else cares about and the viewers are just waiting for my character to die a grisly death. 

When you're faced with the fact that three of your ex-partners have found the love of their lives right after being with you, you can't help but have some sort of existential crisis.

Ladies and gentlemen and non-binary people, I am having an existential crisis.

Over the past few days, I've had numerous thoughts. They all boil down to this one persistent question.

What is wrong with you?

If I was the main character in this movie that I'm in (as opposed to a side character who is just existing for diversity purposes), this is the part where some older, wiser character would suddenly pop up and give me some sort of historical context about my life that would bring me out of my funk and propel the storyline forward.

Since my life is not a movie - I think - and there is no chance of this older, wiser character popping up out of nowhere, I guess I am going to have to be the older, wiser character myself.

This shouldn't be too hard: I'm already old, so I'm halfway there.

If I were wise, I would tell myself that it's okay to feel a bit shitty. That life throws curveballs, and this is barely a bump in the road. That it's a privilege to have been a part of someone's life. That relationships have meaning, even if you haven't figured out the meaning just yet. That happiness is not only found in romantic love. That The One is a societal construct. That maybe - secretly - you haven't given up on love just yet.

That there's nothing wrong with me.

[Except maybe for my dance moves. I reckon there's something definitely wrong with those.]

If you're in the same boat as me, and need someone older and wiser to give you some advice, feel free to use the advice I've given myself. 

Older, wiser me also thinks that pizza, ice-cream, and a few tequila shots wouldn't go astray either.

So let's turn off Celine Dion's "All By Myself" and crank up Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten" instead.

Drench yourself in words unspoken.

Live your life with arms wide open.

Today is where your book begins.

The rest is still unwritten.

Write on.

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