Ahhhh, 2010 is finally amongst us. Its a time to reflect on what needed changes you hope to bring forth this year. Many of us clean house, literally and figuratively, and I am no exception to this annual ritual. As I mentally rifle through my baggage of 2009, I thought of an interaction between myself and an elder from my past.
On this random occasion, I decided to visit a former babysitter who was vital in my care-taking from the ages of 3-12. (And the main reason I fiercely begged my mother to let me become a latch key kid). Let's call her Ms. Pearl.
When Ms. Pearl opened the door, she greeted me with her usual, "I was just telling Mr. Henry I hadn't seen you."
Mr. Henry is Ms. Pearl's longtime partner. The pair have been together since the Underground Railroad and Nat Turner's Rebellion, but I digress.
Mr. Henry shouts from his solitary game, "Is that my Tammy?" (I hate that name!)
"Henry, quit calling her that! That ain't her name!" quips Ms. Pearl (Thanks Ms. Pearl)
I sit through the obligatory conversations about my family and theirs. Getting the formalities out of the way, Ms. Pearl gets all Wendy Williams on me.
"So, are you dating someone?"
I know she's been waiting for this answer. Even Mr. Henry interrupted his card game again to hear the answer to this question. The only thing needed was a PA system so that my answer could be heard around the city. They waited with baited breath as I formed my lips to say...
"Actually, no, I'm not"
This answer came with the same amount of let down as Donny Osmond winning Dancing with the Stars in 2009. I felt like I confessed to committing a heinous crime against nature and now I was left to absorb the reactions that my ill-fated answer left me.
In utter bewilderment, Ms. Pearl asks, "Well, what's wrong with you? Are you not meeting people?"
The look on her face literally broke my heart, even though, it was the same answer I gave her on the last three visits I made to her. On reflex, I blurted out some half-hearted "not finding the right person" answer to her that went completely over her head.
As I sat explaining my life away, Mr. Henry remarked, "Its hard out here for young women to find a good man today. I don't envy you."
Ms. Pearl only shook her head in agreement but a small part of me knew it was out of disgust. I actually felt teary-eyed that I couldn't produce an answer that would fill her with the optimism she so desperately wanted. Feeling defeated, Ms. Pearl went on to talk about mutual people we knew who were "suffering" from illnesses.
As I prepared myself to go, she wished me well and told me to come back, but not before saying that I should be bringing a wedding invitation the next time I come.
I walked out of that house feeling more alone. I felt like Ms. Pearl reactions to my love life were the same as an admission of having Lou Gehrig's Disease or Cancer.
But to her, I was "stricken" with the worst disease of them all - singleness.
Not until that interaction did I know the crippling effects of singleness. I would be punished to a life of single-rates and tables for one with no hope of a cure. People, is there anyone out there who have ever SURVIVED singleness?
Are my coupled girlfriends having this same type of conversations about my "diagnosis"?
Woman #1: Girl, did you hear what happened to T-Gyrl?
Woman # 2: Naw...OOH, what's the "T"?
Woman # 1: Girl, you not gon' believe what she got?
Woman # 2: Did she get a STD?
Woman # 1: Girl, worse....she's single!
Woman # 2: Aww Lawd, what she gon' do? How long she been that way?
Apparently, singleness is a debilitating disease and, curiously, its the number one killer of African American women. Now, you can try and cure it with hook-ups, boos, and side jawns but it won't stop the on-set of side effects and the untimeliness of its symptoms.
And it serves me right for listening to those damn Sex and the City heiffas. Making me think I could actual live a fabulous life of fun, friendship and fashion being...dare I say...single. It was only a rouse to take my mind from the severity of my situation.
What was Ms. Pearl's greatest concern? Maybe I would suffer an unfulfilled life of singleness without ever knowing the joys of white dresses, bouquets and diamonds? Or quite possibly never knowing the complete bliss of watching soap operas and playing cards together?
Ms. Pearl, though well intentioned, echoed the sentiments of other attached friends who never had the courage to express their own fear for my "situation". Why does the "single" status evoke so much disdain?
Should I and my other incurably single friends be cast into a leper colony designated for single people until the relationship savior comes and rid us of our suffering? Is there no end to our pain?
Well, I say to you committed and attached people, don't let this single friend suffer in loneliness anymore. Don't feel sorry for me, take action!! Right now, for just $0.75 cents a day and a hot Facebook picture, you could make sure I never succumb to another lonesome day or night.
Translation: Hook a sista up in 2010!!
'til next time...