By Rosemarie Dombrowski
When JT says “it’s just that no one makes me feel this way” in “SexyBack,” my initial response is to swoon, and my next is to emphatically agree. And that’s because I know that no one can make me feel fabulous about myself but me. And that’s exactly why I’m bringing single back.
Regardless, the world can’t seem to comprehend this—the idea of a single woman reveling in her singleness. Maybe social conditioning is to blame (the heterosexual imperative notwithstanding). Maybe the majority of us are just too deeply encoded to want/need couple-dom that we’re unable to shake it off.
Case in point: It was the first day of classes, Spring 2014, and I’d been on campus less than a minute before running into a long-time student. “Hey RD!” he shouted, “What’s been going on?”
Within the first few seconds of our conversation, we’d covered the highlight reel from my winter break and already moved onto the topic of my long-time colleague and friend. Specifically, he wanted to know what she and I had done together over the holidays, and since we’ve been friends for years and typically vacation together, a simple “I never saw her” wasn’t going to suffice.
It was then that I realized I was cornered, and I knew I had to tell him what I dreaded most—that I never saw her because she had a new boyfriend. And just as the words escaped my lips, she turned the corner. And his immediate response upon seeing her was “OH MY GOD, you have a boyfriend? I’m soooo happy for you!”
I watched them hug for a few seconds. I wanted to roll my eyes. Shit, maybe I did.
Hadn’t I just told him that I went to the symphony on New Year’s Eve? That I’d hosted two holiday soirées at my house? That I’d attended two other swanky gatherings for a grand total of four (in case anyone’s counting)? By anyone’s estimation, I’d had a fabulous break. So when was someone going to walk up to me and ask “So RD, you still single? OMG, you are? Well I’m so flipping happy for you!”
Regardless of whether or not it ever happens, I’m pretty flipping happy for myself. And so I’m bringing single back – along with sexy and fabulous and happy – because these aren’t mutually exclusive qualities. Not for women in their twenties or thirties or forties or beyond.
So go ahead, kiss in front of me. Post your hand-holding pics on my wall. Go ahead and prominently display those flowers that your boyfriend sent you. In fact, display them all week so that I’ll have to see them perched on your desk each time I pass by to grab a book from my office. Hell, go ahead and get engaged (which my colleague just did). Just realize that whatever transpires between you and your boyfriends, I’m going to be single and fabulous and happy whether you’re happy for me or not!
Rosemarie Dombrowski (RD) is a thirty-something Lecturer at ASU with a PhD in American Literature.
She’s the co-founder and host of the Phoenix Poetry Series, the editor of the undergraduate writing journal on campus, and an editor for Four Chambers Press.
She’s a published author of creative non-fiction, flash fiction, and poetry.
She teaches a special topics class called Lady Gaga and the Poetic Ideology of Otherness.
She drives a black Cadillac.
She loves the house of Dolce and Gabbana and Manolo Blahniks.
She always wears dresses.
She has a really squirrely, strikingly beautiful autistic kid named Brendan.
She’s believes that everything is better with cookies (though she doesn’t bake them herself).
She adores Benedict Cumberbatch, the Great American Songbook, spin classes, drag queens, upscale-resale boutiques, her “girls,” her “boys,” her poets, and her interns.
She’s almost always single (and occasionally looking).
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Photo Courtesy of Daily Life.