How Single Are You?

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Employment applications rarely give me trouble. Gardening? Yes. Photoshop? All day. But I can typically breeze right through applications. And this particular question appeared to be very simple.

The problem? My desired answer was not among the available options. The question: Are you married, divorced or single? Neither. I'm "delightfully" single, which, as you can already tell, is drastically different from your basic "single."

So, this got me to thinking. People who create applications should work on their craft. After all, most people are not just married, they're "happily" married or in lots of cases, "barely" married, right?

Divorced people are "recently" divorced or perhaps they are, as the lady standing in line behind me in the supermarket with the 12 pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream told me the other day, "bitterly" divorced. You get the point. When it comes to relationships we need some adjectives, people.

So, back to me and my status.

It always comes up. Always. At dinner with friends. In meetings with corporate executives. At football games. Oh, and my favorite, the gynecologist's office when the topic of contraception creeps into the conversation.

"You're now single?" my doctor says, staring uncomfortably at his clipboard. "How's that going?" As if I'd been stricken with malaria.

Let's get one thing straight. I was perfectly content telling people I was single until about two years ago. That's when I started noticing all of the sad, pathetic, somebody-musta-stolen-your-ID looks I was getting from nearly everyone I told.

They'd tilt their heads to the side, dim their eyes and say, "Awwww, really?" as if I'd just told them my cat, Buttons, had died. (No, I don't have a cat. Single and a cat. Can I be any more cliched?)

"Yes, I'm single," I'd say with what I thought was a megawatt smile.

"You're not dating at all?" they often persist.

A question, I later discovered, had subtext thicker than molasses: But you are having sex, right?

Fran Harris: 'Delightfully' Single

"I'm not dating at all right now," I'd say.

What always followed was another round of sadder, more desperate "Awwws" or "I don't understand how you could be single."

At this point, the percussion section would roll in to the conversation, as the question-asker became increasingly perplexed by my singleness.

So, it got me to thinking ... again. Maybe I should be sad, even depressed, about being single. After all, why would these people be so sad for me? What was I missing?

Nevermind that most people I meet report being in lifeless, loveless relationships or marriages. But that doesn't matter because to them, "At least we're not," oh, dare I say it? Single.

Seriously, what's so bad about being single? Exhibits A, B, C & D.

A. I never have to worry about some dastardly soul drinking the last of my coveted CranGrape juice. So awesome.

B. Nobody to stress about with holiday gifts. What do I do for Valentine's Day? Uhhh, whatever I want.

C. No one asks me who I'm talking to on the phone. Love it.

D. I just signed up for unlimited sexting. It doesn't get any better than that.

This list, as other delightfully single folks know, is endless. So, why all the melancholy?

The industry around "coupledom" makes it even worse. Does every kiss really begin with Kay? Most commercials, save for weight-loss ones, feature couples gazing into each other's eyes, further underlining the need for me to get off my duff and dive back into a relationship. Even if it's a bad one.

Websites offering to hook me up have somehow infiltrated my e-mail box. Every morning I wake up to an inbox of at least three offshore marriage proposals and 10 suggested matches, many who look like they could be Jeffrey Dahmer's brothers. Next.

Seriously? Matchmaking sites are now more prevalent than porn sites. Not that I keep a running tally of those, but I'm just saying.

Sure, being married definitely has its perks. From what I hear, mostly in the area of taxes.

So, single folks, listen up. Take your time, find the right person for you. And don't let the pressure from friends, family, advertisers and sexy exes thrust you back into the game before you're ready. It's really about having a quality relationship with yourself first. Mr. or Ms. Right will still be there.

Listen, I've been in relationships that were wonderful. Yet I find that I've learned just as much about love, life and laughter as a delightfully single woman.

How long will I remain DS? I'll get back to you on that one. Right now, I've gotta run. My popcorn's ready, the fireplace is cracking, and that Meg Ryan flick on my DVR is not gonna watch itself.