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Christmas and New Year are now approaching as quickly as ever, and the cries of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas is you!’ are ringing in our ears again. At this time of year couples snuggle up on the sofa with a bottle of mulled wine and a good film; they go for romantic walks in the crisp air; and if you’re not yet loved up, Christmas is pitched as the perfect time to find that special someone. Why not top it off with more snuggling and smooching couples at the strike of 2013 under a starry sky filled with fireworks?
This is how I spent the dawn of 2012 – in the middle of a dance floor by myself, watching London on Sky News surrounded by couples that were all over each other. I died a little inside and spent the rest of the night with three strangers in a gay club in Brighton. Yay! But it seems to me that Christmas is not the only time of year where I’m meant feel like I’m seriously missing out on something that’s apparently so amazing and so extraordinary. Why is it that nowadays we are under such pressure to be in a relationship? How dare I be single! We’re told that if you’re single there must be something wrong with you.
If I asked a couple ‘so where did you find her?’ or ‘how’s your sex life?’ it is highly likely that I would get a raise of the eyebrow, silence or even a middle finger. But ask me how my love life is and I feel obliged to answer as though I am the one who is the wrong. Apparently I need to find someone… and soon! ‘Spinster’ is currently a familiar and overused word in the English Language which has further extended to the concept of a ‘male spinster’.
However, why should there be this perceived age limit on when someone should find their Mr/Miss Right? In fact why should there be this pressure to find someone special in your life at all? In the 21st Century it appears that not only is it important to have a great career, a stunning body and a wide social circle but also to find your other half by a particular point in your life. Don’t get me wrong, society is certainly more individualistic and more career-focused that ever, but we are still bombarded with images of perfect couples, tips on how to find someone, and constant TV adverts for dating sites. If you’re not settled and in a relationship then there’s the fear of Bridget Jones syndrome – a major relationship with a bottle of wine in a small one-bedroom flat.
It seems to me that society has developed this fear of being alone. To be honest I think many couples are together because both members of the relationship do fear loneliness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m friends several couples who I just know will spend the rest of their lives together and fair play to them. Also, I don’t really have anything against couples as such. I just have something against the pressure of having to be in a couple. What I want to reiterate is that being single is not synonymous with being lonely. I presume that the majority of you reading this now are between 18 and early 20s. Make the most of the years where you are free to do exactly what you want when you want. Even after graduation when you go into the ‘real world’, go and find a career path, a life you want to lead. Another half can wait.