Someone once told me the saying, “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” It always struck me that a guy with no feet wouldn’t actually need shoes. So when you think about it, he’s kind of better off. I mean he probably rides around in a wheelchair or has some sort of bionic, water-resistant, prosthetic feet so he really is in pretty good shape compared to the guy who has to walk around barefoot. Also, who can’t get shoes? Homeless guys have shoes. I’ve even seen dogs walking around in shoes. If you can’t find a pair of shoes AND are crying about it, then maybe you don’t deserve shoes. Fucking cry baby. Ohhh, I’ve got no shoes! Wahhhh! Someone buy me shoes!! Meanwhile you’re looking at the guy with no feet and feeling sorry for him? Judgmental prick. Hey pal, instead of going around feeling sorry for people, why don’t you expend that energy buying some shoes? Asshole.
Where was I?
Oh, right. So this morning I saw a guy on the subway who had no fingers on his left hand. He wasn’t ashamed about his deformity or even embarrassed. He proudly displayed the bandages on the hand while he scratched away at his wool hat with his wrist. The knobs where his fingers used to be were bandaged in red surgical wrap and from all appearances it looked as if he’d lost the extremities fairly recently. I wondered if he had some sort of exotic job like an alligator tamer or mousetrap repairman, but I didn’t want to embarrass him with that line of questioning. Most people surrounding me either looked away in disgust or whispered to their friend standing next to them, nodding their heads to point out the ‘freak’. Me? I was a little jealous of him. I mean, no fingers on the left hand means that he’d probably never have to get married, right?
When you’re in your late twenties and single, people around you suddenly want to ‘fix you up’. It doesn’t even seem to matter who the woman is they’re fixing me up with either…just as long as it’s one of their other single friends. It’s like if you know two people who are gay. You say, “Oh you’d LOVE Sebastian! He’s gay too!” You wonder how they’d never met before at their gay meetings and just know that they will fall deeply in love and one day you’ll claim credit for their non-state sanctioned tax incentivized commitment ceremony. A storybook ending.
The thing is, when you become a couple, everything changes and you immediately want to do everything with other couples. You do things like double date, throw joint dinner parties, go away on weekends together and play board games. Schedules merge, tables are pushed together and all of a sudden the “I” becomes a “we”. As a single person, these couples seem to spring up overnight like weeds and essentially change the entire landscape of social interaction. Suddenly dining room tables once covered with plywood and used for beer pong, are now covered with tablecloths and used for something as impractical as dining. Couples use weird terms like “flatware” and “stemware”. They have equally weird items like “decanters” and “accent walls” and say weird phrases like “table for two” and “I love you”. To single people, just having a full roll of toilet paper is a damn miracle.
Couples usually look at single people like a doctor examining the symptoms of a patient.
“What do we have here nurse?”
“Male, Caucasian, 27 years old, single.”
“27 you say!? Why didn’t you page me sooner? How bad is he?”
“Well doctor, according to his chart he’s been subsisting off of pizza and Chinese food for the past several months, watches whatever television programs he desires, hasn’t been bike riding since childhood, his shower is devoid of any luffa whatsoever and his coffee table has zero coffee table books discussing architecture. And…well…”
“Go on nurse…”
“Well…oh my, I…”
“Be strong nurse, remember your training!”
“He…he doesn’t own any candles!”
“Mother of God.”
I know a lot of men and women who are in committed relationships and can tell you that each describe their mate differently. Here are some phrases commonly said by both men and women in committed relationships to single people, and then the translation of what they really mean:
“Dude, check her out. Man, if only I were still single!” – Translation: “I’d never have a shot with her and I’ll likely picture that woman when in bed with my wife tonight.”
“Being in a relationship is actually pretty awesome dude.” – Translation: “Someone actually cooks real food in my apartment.”
“I don’t know what I’d do without her.” – Translation: “My shower would be disgusting if we broke up.”
“I’m so glad I have my boyfriend and am not still OUT there.” – Translation: “I look so bad naked now.”
“I’m so lucky I found him!” – Translation: “I was going broke paying Match.com membership fees.”
“He’s the sweetest guy ever!” – Translation: “He hardly ever farts in bed and doesn’t mind when I don’t shave my legs.”
Let me just speak for all single people for a moment and please, relationship people, put down your Travel Scrabble and listen closely. We understand the option of being in a relationship exists. We understand you have chosen to take advantage of that option. We understand that you enjoy this lifestyle and we understand you’ll likely not die alone like we will.
However, here are some things you should understand about single people. Our apartments WILL be much dirtier than yours. We will NOT have edible items in the fridge unless previously instructed. And we WILL have much more hardcore German pornography on our laptops. (wait, that’s not everyone? …moving on)
Some other things to know. Instead of wine ‘tastings’ we have wine ‘pricings’ followed quickly by ‘wine gulpings’. Instead of ‘going antiquing’ we have ‘going shopping in thrift stores’. Instead of ‘dinner is ready’ we have ‘dinner is here’. This is our life, and we’ve become damn good at it.
Now these are not simply the ravings of a single lunatic. I really do understand why people decide to enter into relationships. I get it. I can see the benefits of a loving, nurturing relationship based on mutual trust. I notice the special bond of emotional connectivity that develops through the years. I really do.
But if I had my choice, I’d rather be the guy with no fingers than the guy with no shoes. I mean really, what’s with that guy?