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Has Being Onely Made Me Clueless? March 22, 2010

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Heteronormativity, single and happy, Some Like It Single, Your Responses Requested!.
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Dear readers,

I am afraid that my life as a happy Oneler may have made me oblivious to the signs of chemistry that a “normal” person would generally notice. I’m not talking about overt sexual advances (eww), and I’m not wondering about a first date (easy enough to figure out in the long run). I’m referring, instead, to a close friend (I will call him George here for the sake of privacy) whom I have never thought of as anything “more than” a friend — probably because we were both coupled when we first met several years ago (hey, even though I’m happily single, I’m not immune to checking out attractive single men).

Over the past few years, mutual friends of ours have asked me if I’m interested in George, or they’ll wonder why we haven’t dated. Occasionally — and usually while under the influence — someone will insist that we belong together. But I always brush these comments off as silly heteronormative proclamations; after all, we are the same age and have similar professional interests and are often the only single people running around our common social circles. According to common heteronormative logic, single man + single woman = HELLO, couple!

As you might expect, I resist that logic. But this past weekend, several friends who had never met George, and who had never even met each other, happened to be in town for an academic conference (I will call them Tracy, Jenny, and Dave). On Saturday night, I invited everyone out to a local restaurant. The only local friend who showed up was George, and soon, I noticed, Tracy and Jenny were exchanging meaningful glances. We moved on to a bar downtown for a nightcap and took separate cars (George drove Jenny, and I drove T & D). In the car, Tracy and Dave told me it was obvious: George is “in love” with me. There is “so much chemistry,” they said. I shrugged it off — more heternormative nonsense. But at the bar,  George sat close to me in the booth; our bodies kept making contact, and I kept thinking, this has never happened before, and neither of us are drunk. Maybe my friends are right — but how is it I’ve never noticed?

The conference is over. Not only have my friends left town (cheerful because they think they were right about George), but they have left me with a great deal of confusion: On the one hand, I think that my friends may have just been doing what so many coupled people (each of these friends happen to be married) want to do when confronted with two nice and attractive single people: hook them up! But on the other hand, my friends had never met each other before – they all noticed chemistry right away, without any prompting from me. So this gives me pause. And then I think about George himself, and I think about our friendship: Not only is he smart and funny, but he has always been quietly supportive (he was around but non-intrusive during a particularly dramatic breakup after I first moved to Louisville) and interested in my life. We never run out of things to talk about. And last summer, when I traveled alone to England and Ireland, he happened to be in Ireland at the same time as me, and I traveled with him and his family (mom, brother, and sister) for a few days. He is a genuinely kind person and a good friend, and I wonder all of a sudden why I’ve never “noticed” him, and I wonder if it’s because of Onely, because being coupled is not high on my priority list.

So I’m curious, Copious Readers, not about whether I should “do” anything about this (I’m pretty sure I won’t, for several complicated reasons), but rather, whether or not you think that having a Onely mindset makes you oblivious to possibilities that you may have otherwise entertained as a couple-oriented single adult. Or, alternatively, if you think that my friends are the clueless ones!

— Lisa

photo credit: zazzle

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