It’s that time again: 14th February, Valentine’s Day, or All Hearts’ Day as we say in Swedish. I’m not going to rant about commercialisation, why should we celebrate it, it’s so stupid, bla bla bla… It’s a nice idea, and it’s just one day, after all. I received a lovely card from my amazing mum. It’s just not a romantic day for me. In fact, I’ve never been with someone on Valentine’s Day. “I’m in my 30s, and I’ve never been in a long-term relationship? Oh, my God! What’s wrong with me?” Am I a freak? Do I need to make up an ex-boyfriend named Vikram? [That’s a reference from FRIENDS. But if you didn’t know that, you have no business here. Please go away.]
“How can that be?!” I hear you cry. My entire body is not covered in scales [that one’s from Bridget Jones]. I certainly didn’t plan for this, but then how can you ever plan when you’re going to meet or not meet the man of your dreams? If I had to try to explain it to you, or to myself, I suppose part of it is that I’m shy. I didn’t have a childhood sweetheart so missed out on the opportunity for a practice run, and then I went to an all-girls school in my formative years (we would giggle and point when we saw boys on the train). I also don’t fall for someone very easily, it’s not often I get that butterfly feeling that’s so important in the early days of a relationship. And as several of my friends have recently pointed out, I’m completely oblivious to when someone is interested in me. Another reason these days is that I’m always busy: I tend to fill every minute of my life with some activity, whether it’s theatre, writing courses, language classes, travelling, etc. There are not a lot of opportunities to meet someone, and if I did, I wouldn’t have many free slots in my calendar to go on a date!
Alas, no one told me in my youth that men would not always be lining up to woo me. (Did I say woo? Who says woo?) Having now reached the dreaded age of 30, it’s not exactly easier to meet someone who you’re attracted to and who’s single. Even the bad boys of yesteryear are now settling down with extravagant weddings and chubby little mini-mes. I’m currently rehearsing for the musical Chicago with my theatre group, in which I play a woman jailed for poisoning her boyfriend with arsenic. She’s romantic and idealistic, so the directors tell me, and thought she was going to live happily ever after with this lovely man from Utah. Then she finds out: “Single he told me? Single my ass! Not only was he married, oh no, he had SIX wives. One of those Mormons you know…” Can you blame her for slipping a little something in his drink?
We had a presentation about Russian consumers yesterday in which we were told that the manly men of this great nation are the breadwinners, while the women compete for the chance to marry one of these Casanovas in a country where women far outnumber men. Being unmarried when you’re 30 is surely a sign that you’re damaged goods. In my world, at least, I don’t need to get married just to be looked after. I can support myself financially, and I like to think I’m not completely vilified because I’m ‘still single’. As in Russia, though, most people in Geneva are in agreement that the number of attractive single women far outweighs the number of handsome single men. What’s definitely true is that Geneva is a very transient place – people are here on temporary assignments and, I think, rather looking to have fun while they’re here than settling down in a long-term relationship.
And I’m having a lot of fun! I’m certainly not sitting at home staring wistfully out of my window singing “Goodnight my someone”. And maybe that’s part of the ‘problem’. I’m living an amazing life. I’m in that ideal phase when I have money and freedom to do what I like, without children and mortgages to tie me down. I have wonderful friends and family, a gorgeous nephew, a stimulating job, plenty of interests to keep me busy in my spare time. I’m not giving that up for a smelly boy who leaves his dirty socks on the floor, doesn’t do the dishes, watches football all the time and brings a bossy mother-in-law with opinions on how we should live our lives… (Stereotyping? Me?)
I still believe I’m going to meet someone who will love me, respect me, challenge me, make me laugh, and grow old with me. But I suppose I’ve also realised that if I don’t, I’m going to be okay. More than okay. I’m going to be fabulous.