On Being the Odd One Out

Dinner parties. Gotta love them. The fuss, the prep, and the invites. The frantic thoughts of “will they come??” the shuffling and rework of the table when there is a last minute no show. I’m glad I’ve yet to host one. As an attendee, the anticipation, the pondering of what to bring, what to wear are my only worry. As an attendee, all one needs to bring is oneself and a little hostess gift, oh and don’t forget that “good company” attitude!

All these thoughts slip like flour through a sieve as I remember, I’m bring one more parlour trick to the party- my singledom. Don’t roll your eyes just yet, my soap box has been tucked away for the night. I won’t bemoan you with sad tales of being singe , merely a brief comment on my observations and their usefulness as a writer.

I walk up the steps to the front door to the house, a puff of air expelling from my lips, like mini clouds in the crisp afternoon air; I brace for what is to come next. You see, I am the only single goer in this smattering of couples. I knew what would be on the menu: PDA, wine, beer, questions and laughs. A strange but common mix of groupings I’ve experienced of late. The PDA I must disclose is rarely sent my way. This dining cycle of parlay is one  that I’ve come to expect with this particular group of acquaintances. It always makes for a dinning adventure.
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What started as an office food tour group of co-works spread to include one “significant other” after another until it became an “everyone’s coupled but me” situation.  Where suddenly I became hyper aware of all the affection littering our table and the tumbleweeds gathering in my corner. Although I enjoy each and everyone of their company, the disconnect comes when the couples gather. Once together they become a superorganism or a hive if you will: they forget to be individual people, thoughts and experiences echo each other, laughter a chorus. This isn’t always the case mind you, there are always exceptions to every rule- I know a few of them actually- but this condition does exist and  happens often enough to draw notice. We singles tend to pool our stories, between a glass or two. Others have witnessed this action during their dealings when around coupled friends, this has only steeled my previous conclusions as correct.

So what happens in these situations you ask? Well I’ll tell you:
Girl sits at table, couples laugh and banter about couple-y things that couples do. They turn to me- target locked- realization hits- girl is alone. Focus sharpens, thought: she hasn’t been talking, how to save…how to save (insert mental reel of the coupled mind or the fixer friend- got it!) Ask girl about her solitary ways, why said girl is “single girl” not “coupled girl”.

Let’s all turn our focus shall we, surely we can fix this tonight. Saucer eyes tick-tock side to side seeking out exit- Girl.Is.Trapped.

I jest, but it can often feel that way.
I’m sure they mean well- in fact I know they do- but some people, of all sexes like the single life at times, some dare I say, haven’t found the right one. Others are really not in that much of a rush to join with another. Whatever the reason, the reason is theirs alone.

The dinner party draws to a close. I walk out into the quiet street blanketed from an unexpected storm. I stare out before me and see a tiny house, small and untouched while all around big houses surround covered in snow and modernization. To me that house stands strong against the elements, not caring if it’s dwarfed by the facades around. Its environment works to its advantage. I think that tiny house  and I shared a moment. I realized that much like the house, I will make the best of the moments- interesting or dull- that make up the everyday. I’d like to think those experiences help make great characters and stories: The good, bad or hilarious tossed in your way make good kindling for the writer’s imagination.

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