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The single life fits me just fine

I wrote a column for the Advocate that appeared in the paper on Feb. 14 1993, about the upside to the single life that was well received by Red Deer’s single crowd at the time.

My intention was to sing the praises of the single world on a day when some people feel a little left out, namely Valentine’s Day.

I was a single person in ’93 and I am still a single person in 2013. In between were a couple of long-shot relationships that crashed and burned for a reason that now makes good sense to me: I am better at being single than I am at committed relationships.

I have probably reached a point in life where I am now completely untrainable in that old dog/new tricks kind of way and I am largely unapologetic about my status in 2013.

I am one of those people who may never be “completed” by somebody else, possibly because the concept seems pretty laughable to me and that is largely because I am unable to adopt cheesy lines from romantic comedies to my own life philosophy.

I described a livelier 1993 me at the time in the Advocate and my slightly crazier life 20 years ago that sometimes began on Friday night and ended on Sunday with a day of recovery. I described how a single person could call their own shots and was not under the gun to socialize with people from their romantic interest’s circle of friends and family.

When I was an impressionable kid in high school, my older brother advised me to marry an orphan and I must have taken him seriously at the time. Maybe if I had met an unpopular orphan woman somewhere along the road of life, I might have been comfortable enough to get serious with her. The fact is that most single people are single for a very good reason: they are also better at the single life and it is a pretty good fit for them. The problem is that too many single people worry about the image they project as single and assume that others will categorize them as losers because they are not part of a couple act.

The last time I cared about the need to bring a date along to social occasions like weddings was when I was in my early 20s. I believe that my motive was to demonstrate that I was a player, in that incredibly under-developed logic pattern of my youth. The net result was that I was responsible for the poor girl’s entertainment during the entire evening at an event where she knew nobody and I just wanted to have a boatload of fun and booze with my buddies at the wedding. It was a pattern that repeated itself for many social occasions until I realized that I enjoyed these events more if I attended them as a single act and just let the evening unfold on its own.

I punctuated the 1993 column with a cautionary note that advised single people not to succumb to a desperation relationship that will simply end up as a bad relationship and I still believe that to be a true statement in 2013. Events like Valentine’s Day need to be counter-balanced with a picture of the single life’s advantages, because the advantages can sometimes be forgotten by single people and that was my goal in the 1993 column.

These days I realize that I am less likely to get bowled over by romance in that Valentine’s kind of way and I can live with that likelihood even easier than I could in 1993. Twenty more years have made me an even older dog who is even less inclined to learn new tricks.

Jim Sutherland is a local freelance writer.



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