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Solo Features

The only singleton in the family

If the ‘only gay in the village’ thought he had problems in Little Britain, he should try being the only single member of a family obsessed with domestic bliss and my singleton status, writes Eda Grey.

I am effectively being punished for my way of life, with everything from babysitting demands to IKEA trips. You see since I am minus an ‘other half’ it is automatically assumed that I have all this spare time to spend with my siblings, all of course during their precious free moments.
Obviously once you hook up and start spitting out children, there is no time to take needless phone calls from those not in the SUV gang or indeed single sisters – if you want a rant about the latest beau, or holiday, you have to ring once the children are tucked up in bed or any other appointed times outside of domestic duties. However when they want to talk about the annoying mother in laws or the head lice plague ravaging the schools, you are expected to drop all and stand to attention. Sure what else would you be doing on a Saturday evening at 9pm?
Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoy the EastEnders-type drama of the family, however, of late, my singleton status has become an almost ‘me versus them’ type issue. First there were the jibes about my many failed romances, which were fine when I was on the good side of 25, but now it is just tiresome, especially as they have become a tad smug about their own domestic situation.
So, my litany of disastrous relationships is a source of amusement to them, and even the fact that they have never met a majority of the exs, they always manage to source enough information to form character assassinations.
My latest relationship break up was very hard for them, as unlike the other ones, they knew I was somewhat interested so they assumed he was ‘the one’. With the break up news came the sympathy and then the smart remarks about how another one of my exs was moving to a far off country (a trend that I think is past funny at this stage). And then there was the concern that I may be gay since I cant hold on to any man!
There is also the small matter that every man I meet is compared to the now perfect in laws, who seem to excel at inane things like garden weeding and changing nappies – apparently these are the ultimate qualities I should be seeking in a man.
And of course there is now the army of nieces and nephews who are cute and all that, but all seem to think that I am some form of banklink as obviously being single and having a healthy social life automatically means that you can fork out on High School Musical attire every time you visit. With every occasion, which seems to be almost weekly, comes the added expense that obviously cant be shared with the non-existent other half and so you have to spend hours trawling asylums, sorry toy shops, in search of a present that will be given one scan and thrown to the corner of other thankless gifts.
Being the only single person in a family does, however, has its perks as you gain a realistic insight into what being married with children is really like, from the endless horror stories of late night feeding to not having time to say hello to their partner, let alone anything else. In fact, spending a weekend with the family is the cheapest and most painless form of contraception ever, and is a stark reminder that being shacked up is not what it all appears to be. And it’s great being the only one who has the ability to book last minute holidays and spend €150 on a pair of shoes without worrying that the kids might starve if you spend all that cash.
Of course there is the constant comments like ‘when I was your age I was married with my second’, but there is a firm satisfaction in knowing that they are looking at you with a sort of envious glare as you appear to be the ultimate social butterfly with those fabulous shoes that they had to sacrifice for Gaeltacht fees! Hell, I’ll put up with those pitiful sighs for the time being, and if I remain single, well at least I’ll be the glamorous one of the family!


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  1. I am in the same position….but I love 2 things you highlighted……the madness of a house with kids and to have to funds to do what I like…i,e, last minute holidays etc….

    Posted by gomet | September 23, 2008, 11:35 pm