Alphabet series

O is for One (is the Loneliest Number)

Every so often, a former shag buddy of mine mentions this egregious lie that he believes to be fact. He’s married to someone else because I came off as not wanting to be in a relationship. Ever.

It’s in the things I say, apparently. Like my longing for a guy disappearing after a quick wank. Konji, not love I reply. Not just that, he states. It’s also how I hem and haw when asked if I’d like to get married one day.

Well, I don’t like the Nigerian version of marriage; which woman does?

Despite my defence, which sounds rooted in confidence and incredulity, some of his emotional manipulative words rang true. Maybe I do give off a skunk-like vibe whilst being myself. Statistics don’t lie, I’ve had only 1.5 boyfriends in my lifetime. Yes, that is over the span of twenty dating eligible years. The ‘0.5’ is the cigarette smoking guy I dated for two weekends. All he wanted to do was have sex. I was 19, a virgin filled with wisdom, and wrote this in my diary: “I didn’t feel like I was independent and had to conform to his time…besides I knew that anytime he was like come to my house it was like come for your dose of smooching BORING!!!”

The ‘1’ dude, I dated for three months or less, long distance.   After I broke up with him, he ran into my cousin at a beer garden and told him I was a lesbian. And I’ve been single ever since but not by choice.  I’ve had a couple of shag buddies here, a sprinkle of toasters there but none that stuck.

My view of love is this: I like you, you like me why are we wasting time? I pour myself into showing you that you are wanted and that I care. And I hope that love grows out of that care.

It’s rarely ever been reciprocated.

Some people have the gift of getting men to commit to them. There’s a secondary school classmate of mine who’s been married twice in my loveless years, or as I think of it – the fallow decade.

How does she do it?

How do you give off the air that you want someone to love and cherish you for as long as that feeling lasts, be it forever or just two weeks? Do you gently steer the conversation towards gorgeous, googly eyed babies and gently caring for his cantankerous mother in her old age? Do you lightly boast about your cooking skills and never produce the actual goods until the ring is in place? Or maybe just one meal to give a taste? Is it ‘why buy the cow when the milk is free’ type tactics? Do you lay bait on a path leading right up to the altar? Is there an art to it? Is there a five-step programme? I’m mystified.

I’ve cycled through many reasons why I’m chronically single. It’s a question I’ve had to ponderously ponder because inevitably, at my age, I will be asked: why. As if I completely refused to visit the supermarket where you pick men off the shelf and have stubbornly continued to shop in the store that sells socks. The subtext is that I’m responsible for being in this state. Something has to be wrong.

In my teens and early twenties, I thought I was single because I was fat and ugly. I believed that love could only come to me if I looked a certain way. I’d like to say I dieted, and make this more of a tragic story; but pounded yam and okro was just too delicious to give up for a man.

In my mid-20s to early 30s, I thought that the woman that I’d become, feminist, agnostic, doesn’t want babies, was what spurned men. I understood this. If you’re a man raised in a society whose values and norms are the antithesis of all that I am, I’m like atarodo on your dick. And if you could withstand the urgent pain, you’d suggest that I dumb myself down to please you.

In my mid-30s, I’ve finally come to a truth that I believe and one that sits quite right with me – I just haven’t met him yet.  Every so often, I download dating apps: Tinder, Bumble, the one for lovers of the chub. I feel guilty and shallow for swiping over certain people. I’ve even tried the dating websites. It’s for lack of trying as it is lip service, a performance where I show that I’m trying to find someone. But I inevitably delete the apps, what will be will be.  

I’ve stopped buying into the idea that this is my fault or that there’s something wrong with being single. Take it from someone going through her fallow decades, being single isn’t as bad as people make out. It’s what you make of it.

Meeting the right person has no time limit. You could meet them in the twilight of your years (and lose them) or meet them on the first date you ever had.

Vibe or not.