The Singleton’s Guide to getting advice and getting on with it

Advice is cheap. And by god, you only have to be a singleton to know it. No matter how you choose to live your life, there’s always some ‘good samaritan’ round the corner who’s got a word of advice for you. When I was younger, I found reason to fret over it. But now, I find it endearing at times, amusing at others. And dealing with it can sometimes be a great way to alleviate depression.

The Marriage advisors: Parents, friends, peers, colleagues, friends of friends, acquaintances, bosses – they all are pouring over with advice on the one thing that’s eluded you for a while –Marriage! Especially if you’re over 30 and have a career that pays you a modicum of decent money. “Don’t set your standards so high ya. You have to compromise a little, all the eligible singles are taken…there is no perfect guy or girl” or esoteric stuff like “Start loving yourself, believe in destiny, the best will happen at the right time.”

All of this is great, but what do I do on New Year’s Eve, when everyone is canoodling with their better halves and I am dancing like a loser with nothing but the wall? The deal is, some of us do realise we’ve missed the boat, the bus or whatever else there is to miss. Just don’t keep reminding us again and again.Especially when you team it up with that quintessential winner of a line “I was really lucky ya, to have found my partner at the right time. I just wish you would too”. Over the years, I have learnt to invent imaginative stuff like “I’m single because in my mind I am married to Lord Shiva and that’s all the love I desire” or if you’re not all that imaginative you could go with“My horoscope sucks! No one will touch me with a bargepole, not even the bargepole” Guaranteed laughs, at least in your head.

The Party-hard advisors: “Hey you’re single, attractive, ready to mingle, earn good money…life is a party!” If only, is my retort. Any single person knows that coming home to a dark house, switching on the lights, cooking up dinner and watching TV alone, only to repeat the action the next day for years, is not a party. And while I agree we can order pizza everyday, drink gallons of beer without interruption and watch the TV channel of our choice day in and day out, it’s plain humdrum too. So quit doling out advice like “If I were you, I’d be having fun everyday with someone new” or “Just live it up ya, you have nothing to worry about.” Should we remind you of the rents, the EMIs, the safety concerns and the zillion bills we have to look after, with no second income? But instead, what I recommend saying is “Great, I will. I’ll probably have an ice cream after dinner.Maybe two. In fact, I’ll do a threesome, how about that?”

The Money advisors: Of course, if you have a dreary salary like mine, this is literally not true. But if you’re one of those lucky singles who live like Hugh Grant in About A Boy, there’s a fistful of advice awaiting you on how to invest, where to invest and how to plan for the lonesome, wintry years ahead. “Buy property now, otherwise you’ll just be a homeless wreck in ten years” or “Invest in FDs and Mutual Funds, better late than never”or “No point saving up, just travel…you’re single ya, why wait”. All of these glamorous imageries of singles having suitcases full of cash waiting to be blown up on sex, drugs and travel is so enviable, but so untrue. And knowing us types, we haven’t saved up wisely, which is why the advice hurts! My defense: Lie with a straight face. “I’m on top of the savings thing..totally covered” or something hippie-ish like “You’re sweet, but money is transitory, everything is. I live for the now, in the now” Perplexed, your advisors will leave you alone, hopefully.

The Eat-Healthy advisors: This is the bane of those singles who go veggie shopping once a month, stock up on coffee and wine before anything else and vehemently swears on crisps and noodles. Its rather endearing to see your married friends examine your fridge and see nothing but bread, eggs and a rotting apple in it. But there’s wine, yes sir. And coke, yes sir. And chocolate, maybe. So I really don’t blame them for worrying about us when they say ‘Stock up your fridge with meats, vegetables, fruits, milk..you have to eat healthy” I understand I do. Fact is, I’d rather spend my evening watching a movie or having a drink with friends, than go grocery shopping. I know I know, this sounds despicable. But hey, to each his own. And singletons need vices to survive (that’s a poor quality excuse, but I’ll take it). So the next time someone advises me on eating healthy, I feel really touched but like all good things in life, I ignore the advice and counter it with “Want a cup of coffee…with those macaroons?’

The New-Age Advisors: This is a new breed that’s creeping up on us. The kind who’ve all sorted thanks to technology. The latest apps, the latest phone,the latest gizmos, the latest roti maker…just when you’re figuring out how to make sense of your morning, you have a Facebook friend talking about how some smart little app sorted out her grocery shopping or her newly acquired electric plate.

And just because you don’t want to appear like this Neanderthal bimbo, you try and catch up. But just when you have, they’ve raced ahead with something new. “Who reads books these days? You should just the Kindle.” Or “Why bother standing in a queue darling, just book online, everyone does that” or “You’ve got to be kidding me if you’ve not heard of this app that measures how many steps you’ve walked a day. It actually keeps count of the fat you’re burning” Point taken, smartie techno dudes. But we retro dudes need a place in the sun as well. Which is why, my defense is to play it honestly and go “Works for you I guess, but not for me.I’m just an old-fashioned girl in a new-fashioned world. Like a dodo, I’ll soon get extinct and die. Like a cockroach, you’ll evolve and emerge triumphant.” Or else, just pray hard that Charles Darwin is proved wrong.

Clothes advice, exercise advice, relationship advice, drinking advice….we get it all. The point is, if it’s unsolicited (which in most cases, it is) then you’re well advised to ignore it or selectively absorb it or laugh it off without making a big deal about it. Fretting over it, now that’s what will make you all grumpy and frumpy. And who wants to be that, right? There, that’s my advice. So feel free to ignore it!

Savita

Savita Nair is an advertising copywriter who lives and works in Mumbai. When she is not travelling, she is writing about all things seemingly superficial and inconsequential. She is also the author of 45 ml – a collection of irreverent poems on love, longing and living a life not-quite-so-ordinary.
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