1. You get to sleep alone.
I advocate for cuddling in bed, because it’s fun, intimate and a better way to watch a movie than with your hand down your own shorts. But as a light sleeper used to my engineered bedroom surroundings (cold temperature, feet sticking out the end of the covers, fan on high along with manufactured rain sounds for noise, three comforters and five pillows to generate a sort of nest), I sometimes find it difficult to sleep with another person. The transition from cuddling into slumber is a tough one. And I always feel badly breaking out of it and rolling over, even though the person lying next to me probably breathes a sigh of relief or doesn’t wake up at all.
I don’t want to wake you up a bunch of times by kicking you while I’m unconsciously stretching out, or for my arm to fall asleep, or for your warm body to settle against mine and make me sweat the night away all over both of us. Sometimes I feel like the old-timers had it right when they slept in separate beds. We could bang, spoon for a while, then go our respective ways. Kind of like those sexual encounters you sometimes have as a single person where you don’t sleep over at their place. Man, those are the best.
2. You make your own schedule.
When you can do basically whatever you want, you don’t have to plan the way you spend your free time around someone else’s desires and interests. And if you’re working hard and a lot, you won’t get needy text messages or calls, and you won’t ever have to have that argument about whether your work is more important to you than your relationship. You get to wake up when you want, go to sleep when you want, travel where and when you want, eat when you want.
3. Going out can be more carefree and fun.
It’s been years since someone has said “Don’t get too drunk tonight” and I’ve felt like I should listen. I usually just laugh dismissively and go back to wondering if bouncers will let me into bars with 12 flasks attached to my body as long as I tell them I’m Booze Traveler.
There’s nothing wrong with going out with some arm candy and knowing you will both be leaving together at the end of the night. But sometimes I like to go out and get really, really drunk, like I’m trying to win some sort of public humiliation contest. Then I wake up at 3:38 a.m. on a subway station bench. You can’t always do things like that when you have a significant other.
Sometimes you have to make sure she comes home with you, and other times you have to quit binging early because your plus-one needs her hair held back because she drank two shots of Firewater in rapid succession and is out of commission as a functioning human being for the next 15 hours, during which she will take up all the space in your bed and complain about how she is, like, totally hungover.
4. You wear what you want.
I’m not saying that in every relationship a woman tries to get a man to change his style or vice-versa, but it happens a lot. I know that my mom often buys my dad his clothing, at least, and my last girlfriend hated the calculator watch I wore so much that she actually bought me a watch (made by Diesel). And she bought me an Ed Hardy T-shirt. (Her allegedly cheating on me with a guy from Miami Ink while she was on spring break suddenly makes more sense, in a terrible way.) When something like this happens, you can either grit your teeth and wear it, or get into an argument over why you don’t want to. Which leads me to my next Single Perk…
5. No fighting.
Fighting with someone you like or love is the worst. I don’t care how much people in serious relationships try to glorify it. (“She sure is a pain in my ass, and sometimes I suspect that she really hates me deep down, but that’s one of the things I love about her!”) I hate doing it and am happy to pass through life for months at a time without someone so much as scolding me for something.
6. No awkward, sad breakups.
God, the series of feelings you experience while breaking up and during the aftermath all the way through your recovery (however the fuck long that takes) are the worst. Then everybody keeps asking about your well-being, asking you shit like “Does your heart hurt?” And you’re like, “Of course my fucking heart hurts!” Then you listen to Bright Eyes and otter-eat an entire pizza in bed. (Actually that last part is kind of decent, but you can do that if you’re single, too. I’m going to tonight, in fact.)
7. No couple-fueled indecisiveness.
One of the worst games couples play is when they try to decide what they want to do with their time. It’s always a back-and-forth where someone says the other person should choose where they eat, what movie they’ll see or what activity they should engage in. Then the person tasked with making the choice throws out an option and the other person is like “Ugh but I don’t want Chinese! Pick anything else! Ah, I’m the worst—I don’t want Mexican either!”
8. No awkward family functions.
I’ve pretty much always gotten along with a girlfriend’s parents, but it’s never fun to meet them for the first time. Because behind the handshakes and pleasantries you know there is always something being thought like “This is the guy who is fucking my daughter.” Then as things progress you have to start hanging out with the entire family, which can be draining. I enjoy just going to see my family, so I can hang out with my niece and binge eat for hours on end.
9. You learn to be alone.
I have friends who go from one relationship straight into the other and never take the time to understand that being single isn’t the end of the world, that masturbation is fine and you don’t always have to have a mate. When you’re single, you learn to be happy on your own, and you do things to make yourself a better person so that when you do find someone, you’re poised to be an amazing partner.
10. You don’t feel guilty about watching porn.
Porn is pretty dope. But it can be a little weird to watch it when you’re in a serious relationship (even though everyone still does). You might feel kind of guilty or weird. Sometimes people are like “I don’t care if you masturbate to porn,” but I don’t believe them. One time I was dating a girl and I saw a woman who looked exactly like her in a porn I was watching. It was weird. Part of me wanted to turn it off but the other part of me was like “This is pretty fucking awesome.” Guess which part of me won? I felt kind of ashamed after that.
11. You can slack on self-maintenance.
I can grow my pubes long enough to braid them and nobody can chastise me for it because a) not just anybody gains access to Scott’s Downstairs Erect-a-Set and b) if they do, they don’t have any say in whether I should manscape my junk or not. And, if I’m bushed out and I do luck out with a girl, it’s testament to them that a) I wasn’t banking on getting laid that night and b) I probably haven’t been sleeping with anybody for a depressively extensive period of time.
12. You can eat what you want whenever you want.
You don’t have to account for someone else’s preferences or gluten intolerance. If I dated somebody who didn’t like Chinese food or having breakfast for dinner I would probably wither away to nothing. HOW COULD ANYONE NOT LIKE BRINNER?
13. You make life decisions based on what’s best for you, not best for you and someone else.
Millions of relationships have died because people have followed their life’s dreams, and vice-versa. Especially when it involves relocation, because logistics are the enemy of love. If I was offered a great job opportunity in Australia tomorrow, I could sublet my apartment and, within a month, be hanging out in the outback eating vegemite, and nobody except for my family would even care that I’d relocated to another continent. It’s comforting to know I can uproot myself without feeling guilty about going long-distance or trying to get my girlfriend to come with me.
14. You save money.
I haven’t had to buy a girlfriend a birthday present this year, and unless something really crazy happens I’ll avoid doing the same for Christmas or Hanukkah. I can use this money along with the rest of the funds I’ve saved to acquire and care for a puppy, who will never leave me for another owner.
15. You always have that hope that you’ll find someone amazing.
It’s great, of course, to have found your lobster, but it’s also awesome to live (at least for a while) in anticipation of finding someone out there in the world of singledom. Every time you go on your morning commute, there’s a chance you could meet a woman you may spend the rest of your life with. And no matter how long you’ve been single, you can still hold onto that hope and anticipation.