I love my female friends to death, I really do. (Believe me, I never thought I’d say that being, as has been explored quite a lot in the past, more of a girl who hangs out with men.) They make me laugh, they give superior advice on a variety of subjects I’d never think possible, and, best of all, they make sure I get home when I have too much wine.
Anyway, there we have it, I love my girlfriends. They rock.
Well… none of them are *whisper* single. And, as we all know, as soon as you shack up with someone/get married, you completely forget (almost instantly it seems to me) what it’s like to be in single-lady-limbo. The constant questioning at dinner parties (believe me, Helen Fielding got that spot on), the stomach-swooping when spotting someone who takes your fancy and the motification (no, not the body decay, the feeling of shame) when a wedding ring flashes in the light or a girlfriend sidles up. Sundayitis.
Case in point, Saturday…
Saturday was skiing day (again). I, along with 3 girlfriends (2 married) and one fella (boyfriend of the third), got up at the crack of dawn to trek our way to the nearest slopes.
After falling over for a couple of hours, a hearty lunch (and a couple of glasses of vin chaud) followed by more falling over, it was established that a soupçon of apres was probably in order.
As the solitary single in the group, I took it upon myself to talk to, well, anyone really and, in my travels, found a group of chaps taking in the view outside.
A brief chat about who they were and where they were from (4 from the UK, all visiting a friend who lived in Geneva) and several bar recommendations later, it was established that there was only one place to go for beer. Charlie’s it was.
It turns out the likely lads were right. (Any bar that sells 5 beers for CHF12 is a winner in my book (£8.20)). And so there we sat, on slightly worn velvet barstools, taking full advantage of happy hour, watching pro-bull riding, discussing chick-fil-a and doing all those random arse things people do when they’ve had a day out in the sun with very little food, a lot of exercise and some beer.
On my meanderings in and out of the bar (anti-social smoker, me) I noticed that the likely lads had also gathered at the bar. One was snoring softly but, surprisingly, the others seemed almost sober. A brief hello to the group turned into small talk with a few of them which turned into flirtatious banter with one in particular.
“Where are you off to?” W says as I brush past, my bright blue ski jacket in hand.
“Last train” says I, making a move past. We’d already missed one train thanks to happy hour and the last one was in 20 minutes. If we missed that, we were stuck up in the mountains until 5 the next morning.
He catches my arm. “Don’t go! Stay with us.” Big brown melty chocolate eyes look at me. Resolve weakens. I falter.
“I really can’t” I stutter, going through mental logistical plans – if I stayed another hour could I get a cab home? How much would it cost? Would I be able to get a bus? Maybe I could stay the night and go skiing the next day? Was 20 miles really that far to walk?
“Oh come on, it’d be fun – if you need somewhere to crash we’ve got plenty of room.” More persuading followed.
My drunken mind continued to weigh up the options.
And then, just as I’m about to give in to temptation, she appears at the door. A friend has been designated by the others to come and drag me away. She gives me that look – you know the one; the “come on now, you’re having fun but it’s time to be sensible and you know you’ll regret this tomorrow otherwise” look.
I leave, grumpy and complaining (while, deep down, even then, I know that my friends are right. Staying would have been a stupid idea – but then again, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a couple of stupid ideas every so often).
“How do you do that?” they ask me on the train home. “How can you just go and talk to anyone?”
I look at them blankly. It doesn’t occur to me that there’s anything wrong or difficult to talking to randoms. In fact, that’s pretty much how I get through my nights out.
So why did they, the non-singles of the group, find the concept so alien? Is this something that’s endemic to the non-single population? If so, what is it about being part of a couple which switches off your “ability to talk to random people” switch?
Or am I just making sweeping generalisations (General Isations *salute*)?
If I think about it, whenever I go out with my loved up friends, it’s always me who’s off talking to new people, bringing new people into the group and moving around the place. They are (and I’m not saying there’s anything in particular wrong with this) quite content to stay within the group and chat amongst themselves.
Is it because they’ve found the one (for now, in some cases) that they feel no pressure to go and talk to other people? Is it because they’re so content with the conversation and company they have that they don’t feel the need to find anything new?
Or is it us singletons? Are we so desperate to have what they have that we’ll put up with talking to anyone and everyone?