A guest post by Tess Rummer – Spinster & Tonic
As December comes to a close, it means a combination of two things. The year is but over, and you will sure as hell be watching, or have just watched, ‘Love Actually’ in some form or another (actually only one form – film, unless you are into audio books or interpretive sock puppetry, but I digress). So anyways, we’re there/here/everywhere, in our PJs watching
Colin Firth reminded of resolutions achieved and broken, and the year-of-love that was.
Upon my reflection, there was a startling achievement that I definitely wasn’t bargaining for. I did not have sex in 2013. Gulp. But wait, I hear you cry, the year is young. You still have ten days, I hear you shout. While I like your optimism, I think we can safely strike 2013 off as an entirely sexless year.
Filing back in my mental love calendar and Rolodex of below average encounters, it hit me as a somewhat shameful realisation. 2012 had been a successful year all things considered in volume, quality, diversity and share-worthiness, but 2013 had come (not literally) and gone without even the tip of a penis in sight. And I don’t say that to exaggerate. It wasn’t the year of heaps of oral and a few in and outs. It wasn’t even a year of potentially sexy times. Average pashing and a splash of dry humping was as far as it had gotten (some of which was with a guy who said his favourite food was “those meat pies you can buy in petrol stations in oz” and who had his own birth date tattooed across his bicep – need I say more?).
The idea of it being shameful unraveled in a way that also struck me as unusual. There is undeniable shame associated with singledom (or spinsterhood, if you will). A feeling of being undesirable & unwanted; unloved & alone. But the year was far from that. And it wasn’t like I didn’t have opportunity. I had opportunities (four if we’re being precise) where I’d chosen to not. I’d had that, “do I want to, like really want, to do this” moment that I would have most certainly ignored at 19, 20 or even 23, and had chosen consciously to listen. For me.
Perhaps it was representative of a change of esteem and a move towards being assured, or a fear and apprehension that attached to being off the horse. Either way, I found people were more shocked to hear it than I was to sit in the reality of it. It’s not like I don’t recognize the significance at an age where most people are getting their bits all up in all kinds of grills, but to me it was rooted (pardon the pun) in a choice that goes along with my version of being single. And a mindset I’ve chosen to attach to it. I want to want someone, and I wholeheartedly want to find someone I love and adore, but I don’t have an active void where a relationship is sometimes positioned that it should be.
I don’t feel lonely, or a lack of love, sure a lack of physical intimacy, but I think the more confidence in who you are you establish, the less this can take away from you. I think where there is almost a grey area creating shame with being single is where you’re expected to either desperately want someone/be miserable alone or cold-hard love being single/have no need for nobody. I think there is a perfectly normal balance that sits in between that doesn’t deny the incredibly powerful and significant pull towards finding a ‘mate’, but that is content until something worth making room for comes about. If ever.
And in a year where I started my blog and was creatively more inspired than I ever have been, traveled the world and landed my dream job – the fact it was sexless and romantically loveless, didn’t seem a pay off, or even like a sacrifice, at all.
If anything, what the last few years of being single, and the last five years or so of being an adult, have taught me is that love is amazing, brilliant, time-stopping, all-consuming. But that there are a lot of people in relationships (or living a type of single life) that wouldn’t satisfy you, and that it’s ok to wait… For what you want (whatever the hell that is). To eventually want to meet someone, while not pining over and jumping at every bit of interest that comes your way; that you can admit the lust for it, and still find contentment, comfort, enjoyment and love in living a single, unattached life.
These conversations sit amongst a whole heap of next year I will… This year I did… Next time I wont… Do I really “self-talk”. And they encourage reflection about how much I do to protect myself and how much I really want to change. But they also sit amongst a really beautiful realization that the dialogue I have established with myself, my friends, and my writing is a positive one that reinforces and affirms as opposes to criticizes or berates. That supports and listens and does all the good shit it should, and didn’t do enough of, in my teens.
And as the curtains at the school play roll up and Hugh Grant is stood there pashing on, his sneaky feeling about love being all around rings true, in a brand new way. Minus Colin
Firth, minus the hot Spanish guy Carl (who I think may have dated a Minogue), minus the meat pie loving birth date tattooed guy… Minus a man at all.