Pride Month: ‘I’ve Been Single My Entire Life. Here’s Why I’m Finally OK With It’

will cook
Instagram @willcookyouanything / @chloepaulphoto

For the fifth year in a row, POPSUGAR is dedicating the month of June to recognising LGBTQIA+ voices, having honest conversations about sexuality and gender, and honouring individuality, through personal essays and allyship guidance. A roster of contributors along with the POPSUGAR team are sharing these stories throughout the month, so be sure to find all our pieces here.

I have been single for, well, my entire life. There have been flings and a countless number of stings. In no particular order, my hall of fame recipients are:

  1. The barista I spent months wooing. After successfully clearing the first hurdle and swindling an invitation to their home for tea following an impressive mission of Instagram stalking on my behalf, I collapsed dramatically on the second leap. Old mate hipster forgot to inform me that he was, in fact, in a committed relationship, and that coming over for cake was indeed not a euphemism. 
  2. The stage-five Hinge clinger who conveniently discovered the location of my favourite yoga studio and followed the same timetable. 
  3. The three blokes who (possibly) conspired to all ghost me in the same week. 

So yes, I have been burnt. 

The modern dating game has thrown me through the trodden path of inane conversations and encouraged the anxiety-inducing call to switch from dating apps to Instagram.

I have also been burnt by the more heartbreaking facets of the game. Those long-shots that don’t have the anticipated romantic conclusion and the once-in-a-lifetime unrequited loves that fester beneath the surface of your every decision. 

It was enough that, last year, along the way, I gave up on love. While other friends bounced through nightclubs picking up, going on spontaneous dates with randoms and even falling into besotted bliss with their closest friends, I sat to the side. Sipping on bubbly at parties, I numbed myself from meeting new people. I committed to every job and lifestyle requirement to avoid spending time with any potential partner.

My fear of being burnt by a would-be suitor meant that I became so accustomed to spending time with the man in the mirror. Instead, I frolicked around to keep myself busy and away from the encroaching dread of loneliness. That was until the big fat old circuit breaker of 2020 came swooping in. 

Lockdown and the subsequent dribble of snap border barriers rendered online dating a lucrative feat of stamina. Worse still it gave many the perfect out for first dates. “I think I better sit this one out” was a classic one-liner from a COVID-concious match of mine. 

Needless, the circuit breaker forced me to get acquainted with the one relationship I will most certainly have for the rest of my life: Me. And friends, we’re going really strong.

So far, this year has been a gooey concoction of hours driving solo to the sublime single anthems of 2021 (thank you, Ms Peach PRC and Ms Rodrgio), an inconceivable amount of yoga and the formation of a “foodie group” I dine out with at least once a week. Heck, in these days of newfound me-time, I have even come to terms with the fluidity of my sexuality. 

Everyone has, what I like to call, the How I Met Your Mother moment in their twenties. I am not talking about a mediocre canned-laughter quest to find The One. I am referring to the moment you are surrounded by your best mates in a bar, and think “Ahh this is it. These people are my people”.

Through being forced to have a bubble of close contacts, I have cultivated a group supportive enough to talk absolute smack over gurgles of catch-ups; friends who are not afraid to warn me when my chaos crosses a line. 

While the perfectness of Mr/Mrs Right evades me for now, I am oozing through days of connection with my friends, reflecting on this fantastically frenzied life I find myself leading. As a woo-woo yogi, I believe that I am radiating all kinds of positive energy. If nobody is going to fall in love with that, then I sure as hell am! 

There are still moments of loneliness, where I turn into a swiping fiend. A barista, a (potential) stalker, a ghoster – any form of affection will do! However, on the return to the planet of mundane singularity, I ponder: Would I be able to laugh, love, eat, drink, dance and travel so wildly and communally with a ring on it? 

Maybe for now, single life doesn’t sound like such a drag. 

Will Cook is a yogi, writer and mental health advocate. You can find Will on Instagram here.

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