2007-04-11

Desperately SINGLE!


It may be fun being single. But when loneliness lurks beneath the surface, that fun could easily be misery in disguise. Can singlehood destroy you?

When Jane decided to hook up with Kenneth, it was not love that was on her mind. It wasn't money, either. Nor fame, nor sympathy, nor babies.

No. Jane's motive was a lot more primal: Fear. What made up her mind was the numbing terror spending another night alone, even if it was in someone's else bed with his sweet, tuneless snoring for a lullaby. She has come to dread loneliness so much that she has agreed to move in with Kenneth in spite of his alcoholic tendencies.. and because he'd said "yes" when she proposed the idea a couple nights ago.

"What Kenneth and I have is special, but I don't think it's love," elaborates Jane, who is celebrating her third week as Kenneth's girlfriend in the usual way: Binge drinking. I'd say it's an understanding." She winks confidentially at me, then turns to do Macarena with her new boyfriend. Later, she may talk more. But now, she simply says, she want to forget. Forget love, forget life, forget singlehod.

Unhappy singlehood.
Jane's life before Kenneth was not all different from what it is now, typical of the lives of any number of other single women on the planet Venus: Work Mondays to Fridays, party, wake up with a stranger on Saturday morning, go to a movie on Sunday and start all over again on Monday.

She has a regular job, she dates, she has sex, and she has a social life and family. Every now and then, she disappears for a couple of weeks on vacation - sometimes alone sometimes with friends and returns refresh and tanned. Her normalcy can be defined by her Sunday laundry: Sensible cotton underwear, decent blouses and skirts, loose T-shirts and, occasionally, a racy mini-dress. Independent, aggressive and feminine, she embodies the woman of the 21st century.

And Jane wants love. She has a formula for it, too - the same she used on Kenneth - which she was happy to share for this interview: "The easiest way to get a man interested in you is to lock heels with him," she claims. "Until then, he's about as interested in you as a baby is in pureed spinach.. unless you are Angelina Jolie, of course."

Jane is no looker, it must be admitted, but she's no hunchback of Notre Dame. With her slim hips, her formula is probably infallible at getting her sex. But I have reservations about whether it actually finds her "love". Kenneth is living proof of that.

What is it that drives women and men to take such desperate measures to get hitched? It seems that the stakes are higher these days, and the asking price for decent dates has gone up. Competition is stiff. To attract even a mediocre representative of the opposite sex, you have got to be above average yourself.

That is the only way to stand out in a crowded marketplace full of single Asian women asking - begging! - for Mr. Right. And with so many of the men looking for theirs Ms Rights at the same time, it's no wonder that formula like Jane's work so well: in this chaotic match-market, love, no matter how fleeting (and in the bedroom it always is), comes a welcome relief from the stresses of looking, of finding and of disappointment. There is little time and opportunity to waste on uncomfortable "get to know you" phones call and lunches punctuated with periods of silence. For late-20something desperados like Jane, the acid test of compatibility is "Do we come together?"

Men, of course, figure differently. "Locking heels" would probably earn them a police arrest rather than a litmus test in bed, so they earn the approbation of women by buying them flowers, expensive chocolates and, in the worst cases, jewelery. What is sad about this practice is that it can go on for long time - at no expense to the woman, of course - and still mean e sleeps alone again with nothing but his right hand for company.

Tony, a 33-years-old entrepreneur, has an on-going relationship with an air stewardess. He estimates that he has already spent about RM80,000 on gift, clothes and holidays on her. His presents so far have included Gucci handbags, Lazare diamond jewelery and a trip to Disneyland. But he knows the score better than anyone: "As long as I gave her what she wants, she will love me. If the money runs out, so will her lov."

Will she marry him? Maybe.. If she tires soon of her life flying around the world and serving coffee to grumpy old men. If another man comes along who can offer more than Tony - the life of the truly rich and fabulous, say - maybe not. But for Tony, money-purchased love is better than the haunting loneliness he used to be familiar with.

"I used to hire prostitutes to ease my loneliness," says Tony grimly. "Two at a time, if I felt like it. Do I want to do that again? No way. No matter how artificial, Michelle is at least a partner to me." Of love, Tony has precious little to offer. "Love is unpredictable," he says. With Michelle, at least I know what I need to do to make her stay. Better that than being alone."

Of happiness..
Jane, sweaty but happy, orders another drink. I ask her about love. And about happiness. "Happiness is temporary, but can be easily acquired," says Jane after a long draught from her Pilsner. "True love is probably permanent, but you cannot find it."

Lonely people need the presence of others in their lives to make themselves feel "whole". Their life are typified by their need for constant contact people: Needing someone to launch with everyday, needing housemates to return home to, needing colleagues to bitch to, needing someone to call when they're driving home. As they grow olders, their circle of acquaintances narrows - their friends get married, move away or die. Eventually, they face the possibility of being alone for the rest of theirs lives, and that's when the aloneness gets really terrifying.

At first, they may play by the rules: Keep your pants on but keep your mind open. Play the "respectable"circuits - networking events, clubs, blind dates. But as their fear of that loneliness grows, so does their desperation. Eventually, they take reckless risk with their lives in an effort to win companionship. For the desperate singleton, communal happiness is only drink, a puff or a shag away. And, for as long as its effects last, they are lonely no more.

They have a relationship based on alcohol or drugs or sex that last a few hours, may be even a few weeks. And during that time, they are happy, they are whole. When the nagging pre monition that the other person will leave turns out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, they are lonely again. But that's okay, because it only take a drink, a puff or a shag to hook up with someone new.

That, in a nutshell, sums it all up. Jane, with sass in her eyes and mischief on her mind, leans on the arm of an expatriate at the bar, her boyfriend forgotten for the moment. Perhaps Kenneth has his own story to tell. Perhaps he too, like Jane, is terrified being alone, and just now found his joyful respite in a bottle whisky on the floor of the men's room. Perhaps the American man whose attention she now commands has a story about loneliness too. May be we all have a story about loneliness, and how it come to "get" us one night. Maybe while most of us manage to find a cure for that loneliness before it overwhelms our lives and our senses. Desperate singletons are robbed of their reason and would rather have temporary happiness at many cost then be faced with their loneliness again.

.... and of love
"Am I not loveable?" Jane slur to me. I don't know how to answer. At the moment, certainly not: but maybe if she were sober, I'd have a better idea. "See? It's just like I said: Love does not come easy.. especially to me," says Jane, taking me hesitancy as my answer. ( As I write this the next day, I realise the truly sad part about this moment: I don't think she was far from the truth - she isn't loveable at all.) Yet for now, Jane is happy. As is her boyfriend - wherever he is - and the raucous American who is currently enjoying her company. To judge from this examples, it'd seem that Jane is right: Happiness may be temporary... but at lease it's easy to come by.

But if love were most readily available, would it be easier for someone to love Jane? Kenneth? Tony? A hundred million other singletons around the world who will go to sleep tonight feeling unlove, lonely and incomplete? The picture as Jane paints is for this story it is decidedly gloomy. But it must be said that if love did come looking for her, she'd not be ready for it. In the face of her bleak wisdom, love would flee.

It may be patient and it may be kind, but love is not foolish! It will go to people who are ready to appreciate love for what it is: Passionate, capricious, joyous and beautiful. And because there are no guarantee love will last, the same people must prepared for the possibility of being alone again if it does not work out - and to deal with that loneliness constructively. Yet for every Unloveable Jane who leads a miserable single life, they are at least a hundred other loveable women who are satisfied with singlehood, and who are ready for love should it come knocking. Question is, are you of them?


Thanks My Lord for what I have. God's love is forever!

7 comments:

Ladydin said...

Love the post on Desperately Single.
There's also a joy in being single, it isnt always bad. :-)

Qumang said...

Will try to finish the typing A.S.A.P.

Stay tune. Thanks!

Desmond said...

The story will end when they get married...muhahaha

Miss Vicki said...

geesh what a story, you have a nice blog, from a grrl who lives in cincinnati

Henry Leong said...

As a single I used to be very lonely and I am staying on my own. I alway want to call friends out for a chitchat. Finally I am happily married.

http://henryleongblog.blogspot.com/

Qumang said...

Hey guys, thanks for the comments.
God bless!

Cheers!

Colourful World said...

a very interesting story. i guess you voice out the pain of those singles out there. =)

will stay tuned for more of your post. =)