Of course there are times I wish I had an amazing man in my life. However I feel less pressure here to be “coupled up”.
There are no commercials for Match.com, E’Harmony, etc. You walk into a bookstore and there isn’t an entire aisle of relationship books with titles like, “How To Find A Man,” “How To Keep A Man”, “How To Get Married after 35,” etc. etc.
In the States we move so much and many of us live far from our families. Is this one reason why being part of a couple is so important? Too many people think something is really wrong with you if you’re over 35 and never married. It’s better for a woman that age to be divorced. I'm tired of explaining that for my demographic, college educated, professional, black woman, my situation is the norm so stop bugging me about my single status.
My Italian single girlfriends are not sitting at home wallowing over Cathy cartoons (is there an Italian version?). They travel, have dinner parties and while they would like to date don’t seem to be having meltdowns about being 30,40, or 50 and single. They are part of something bigger, their families. They’re not alone. And while they have to deal with some concern from their moms, being single is not the number one topic of conversation when we get together.
One year in L.A. my core “posse” all had boyfriends at the same time. I never saw them. I met one of my closest friend’s boyfriends only once during the year they went out. They hung out with other couples or just the two of them.
I notice here couples and singles mix more. I get invited to dinner parties and aperitvi all the time by my married, or in a serious relationship, friends.
I don’t obsess about being single in Rome like I did in the States….probably because now I actually have a life. I’ve been more social in the past year and a half than the previous 10 years.
Men flirt here even though nothing will come of it. I’m not talking about crass remarks or anything like that. I’m talking funny, witty comments. In Los Angeles I was completely invisible. I’m not exaggerating. Thank god I had to go to NYC once in a while for work or I would have felt like Jabba the Hut 24/7. Los Angeles is truly no country for old ladies. In all the years I lived there I can count on one hand the times someone flirted with me. One guy was British and the other person was a lesbian film exec who was trying to convince me to go out with her despite me telling her several times I was straight.
I’m not saying I need outside validation to feel good about myself. But when you live in a culture where how you look is, to be blunt, considered ugly it’s tough. Add the age thing and it’s no wonder so many of my peers are getting Botox, hair extensions, eye lifts, brow lifts, tummy tucks, etc.
I’m appreciate living in a place where men from the ridiculously good looking, to the geriatric (gramps you gotta be kidding me. No, you are not trying to mack), to the butcher who calls me Ms. Hollywood, flirt.
Before move to Rome I felt as sexy as a cardboard box. Although I haven’t gone to the other side and started dressing like Cleopatra Jones meets Sophia Loren I notice I don’t leave my house looking sloppy anymore. I will put on lipstick just to run to the bakery.
So yes, I’m still single but at least now I don’t feel like this:
One of the best opening credits ever. "You have NO messages." Ha.