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Solo Signs Off

Singular thinking

Is it smart to still be single? Fashion writer and guest columnist Annmarie O’Connor poses the burning question

My friend James has been hassling me lately to marry him. As has my friend Leigh, and my friend Emanuel. None of them is remotely attracted to me, nor do any of them harbour an aching desire to love me ‘til death us do part. This may of course have something to do with the fact that all three are gay. Confused? Wait – it gets better.
It all started with a little blue book – one bearing a dodgy photo of me circa 1998 before the discovery of GHDs and the GI diet. Once all three of them clocked it with their beady eyes, it was a race to see who could get me up the aisle the quickest. You see the common denominator in this bizarre sexless triumvirate is all down to my American passport: a much ignored asset which sits somewhere between some comfortable underwear and a few old receipts in my sock drawer.
Many proposals are made out of love, some because of money, others due to connections. For me – it was a one way ticket to Greenwich Village.
Dashed romantic hopes aside, I began to understand that being a Yank can pack more punches than Coleen Mc Loughlin with a black Amex. With still no George Clooney sightings to speak of (damn!), I thought I’d at least shake up a bidding war and see what kind of dowry I could squeeze from the pink posse. Interior decorating advice on tap, Kylie’s entire back collection, access to secret Dolce and Gabbana sample sales – as appealing as this all did seem, there just wasn’t enough of a trade off to suffer the whole Will and Grace thing (and besides, we all know Jack and Karen are the stars of the show). That was until now…
Last summer alone I managed to clock up four weddings on my social calendar: a society wedding in Berkshire, a week long ‘hoolie’ in Greece, a three day wedding in Co Clare and a humanist ceremony up the road. (Thank God! Or can you say that?) The only thing missing now is the funeral, which should follow shortly in the form of my credit card bill.
With my personal debt reaching new dizzy heights as a result of said nuptials, I began to wonder if I was being cosmically smited for being single. Engagement present – tick, hen night – tick, wedding present – tick, housewarming – tick. Another list in Brown Thomas…hurrah. As I had just moved back to Dublin after five years in London, I thought I’d try setting up a list of my own to celebrate this new chapter in my life but apparently you can only ask people for free swag if you’re getting hitched.
Perverse social Darwinism aside, I began to take stock of what was really happening here. If you want to get onto Noah’s Ark these days, you’ve got to work it 2 x 2. End of. As Tina Turner rightly mused – ‘What’s love got to do with it?’. With absolutely no capital or equity to my name, and no chance of buying a house on my own at 34, should I seriously look at taking the plunge? I mean, is it smart to still be single?
Let’s face it – a mortgage shared is a mortgage halved and these days there seems to be no economic incentive to fly solo. Apart from the cost of living, there’s also a huge psychic pressure placed on people to couple up. Want to still keep in with your married friends? Gotta couple up. Otherwise you’re looking at being art in situ at many a painful dinner party. Not to mention being lumped with babysitting duties.
As the old saying goes, there’s always a trade off. My only question was whether I was willing to forsake a sketchy future in Dublin for a guaranteed romance-free partnership in a Soho loft.
So as I rummaged through my sock drawer en route to some comfy pants, I spied my little blue book once more. Opening it up, I issued a beleaguered sigh and thought to myself once more – what the hell was I thinking of with that hair?


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