I'm pretty much the token single girl with a group of friends. I have other groups, with more single people, but one particular group is pretty much all married or at least in serious relationships. Which makes for some uncomfortable nights out for myself when I am sitting on the edge of the table while 6 (or more) happy couples share entrees and secrets. Most of the time it's a non-issue, because they've all been married long enough that the women sit together for a hen party and the guys wander to the bar to get drinks and talk about sports or hunting or fishing. (Which all means stare at the young waitresses.)
However, there are some nights that it is absolutely unbearable. When I'm sitting in the middle of a group of people, and am overcome with a total sense of loneliness. It's silly, I know, because I have fantastic friends, but it can't be helped. I'm hit with the realization that I'm going to have to order my own drink, that no one is bringing me a beer and making sure I get home okay. That if all I want is a couple of bites of a burger, no one is there to eat the rest, so I am awkwardly holding a to-go box with the excuse that I'll take it home to my dog. Even though I'll probably eat it the next day because cooking for one just isn't that much fun.
There are the weddings and birthdays and random vacations that I want to take with no one to join me. The awkwardness of sitting in the back seat with my friends' kids because they feel bad when I'm going to be driving somewhere by myself. The comments about why I'm still single, and how guys are jerks, as their husbands give their jacket to them because it's chilly in the restaurant. Or, as has happened to me recently, the comments on how I don't know what's best for my friends' kids because I am not a mother. As if that has something to do with common sense. I was also told that about never being married, when a friend's husband pulled a stupid stunt. While both comments were made in the heat of the moment, it opened my eyes to what some people think about me, and girls like me.
Even so, both instances felt like a kick in the gut. Just because I'm not married nor have children does not mean I am not a complete person. I realize that sometimes (always) my dating life seems like a joke, and that it's kind of pitiful to use my baby sister as a reference when everyone around me is talking about their kids. But that doesn't mean that I don't have some idea of what real life is like. The grass still needs mowed, the laundry still needs done, and the bills still need to be paid. It's just that I do all of it in my house, instead of having anyone to help and support me. How's that for real life?