Sunday, February 14

Intentionally Unfettered

And in honor of the Day, here's my latest journalistic creation for you to sample. It's almost as good as chocolate:

The heart-shaped chocolate boxes and red stuffed bears that greet you inside most stores can only mean one thing — Valentines Day. Or as I’ve heard it bitterly called, singles awareness day.

While some singles lament this holiday as Hallmark’s way of pointing out their disappointing love lives, others aren’t vowing to dress in black or eat their weight in chocolate. Being single is a choice, not a curse.

But when you can barely turn on the TV without seeing a reality show about a bachelorette finding her Prince Charming, that can be hard to believe. Yet there are some people who enjoy being unattached and make a conscious effort to stay that way.

There are several perks to going stag. A desire to maintain my independence is one reason I’ve had over the years.

To me, a Facebook-official, attached at the hip relationship conjures images of straightjackets. The idea of not only having to call or see someone every night, but of having to want to call or see someone every night seems ridiculous.

The guilt I used to feel when I would miss a call or choose to spend a night with girl friends instead of my supposedly-significant other was more annoying than heart-wrenching. And I could certainly do without the quasi-interrogation that sometimes succeeded those nights.

Another less common but valid motivation for maintaining solo status is school and work.

The people with this set of priorities may sound like a bunch of uptight, party poopers who would rather spend a Friday night in the library than out painting the town red. Or they could want to have every opportunity to let loose in their free time without the added stress of having to incorporate a plus one.

Other people, like Roomie-Dearest, would rather sample from a buffet than order an entrée. To some people college should be more about playing the field and experimenting, not finding The One or getting your MRS or MR degree.

“I would have killed for a boyfriend in high school,” said Roomie. “But now I just want to have fun.”

Roomie is not alone in that mindset. The evidence is there whenever you see people at a party swapping spit in a way that makes it seem they are as concerned with romance as with each other’s middle names. Not all of those people have emotional or self-esteem problems.

Sometimes people just enjoy flirting. And making out. And hooking up.

This may come as a shock to the people who view Valentines Day or their Facebook relationship status as a measurement of their self-worth, but not everybody needs a hand to hold in order to keep walking forward.

I’m no cynic. I believe in love and marriage and a baby carriage. I know there are some people for whome the close companionship of a relationship is exactly what they crave. I know that some people think their grandparents’ 50th anniversary and dream of reaching that golden milestone.

If you’re one of those people I wish you luck with your relationships. But I can say without a doubt that my Valentines chocolate will be delicious whether I get it from a fella or a friend.

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