I’m 51 and single. If someone had told me this was in store for me when I was 16, I’d have felt very, very afraid. In fact, I’d have regarded future Callum as a weirdo and a failure. The kind of man who works as a janitor at a train station and has an unwholesome interest in used postage. However, I’m here to explain to young Callum that it isn’t that bad and being single in your 50s, is the ‘new single’ for the 21st Century.
When I was a kid, single people in their 50s tended to be cat ladies, janitors, and closeted gay people who had ‘special friends’. The latter category tended to be met, by the adults, with a sense of confused wonder, garnished with unresolved sexual issues and a sprinkle of sympathy. I remember one woman in particular who terrified the other adults with her single status and lesbian den of iniquity in a place called Burrelton.
Anyway, these single people were a kind of a social anomaly and not what you aspired to be. I remember having a teacher in secondary school who must have been around mid to late 30s and, rumour had it, liked entertaining the young men from the local pub in her spinster flat. It was complete bullshit, but being over 25 and single was a fucking minefield of misinformation and myth-making. In the absence of a relationship, people’s imaginations ran wild and we all know where that can lead to.
It’s now 2021 and I’m single, and I’m not a janitor or a stamp collector. I live alone because I like it that way. I’m not going to validate this because I don’t have to. I just do. Well, to be honest, living with me isn’t much fun. I do strange things in the middle of the night, like sleep eating and… but I’ve embraced being single because it’s actually not that bad.
For instance, in your 50s, you know where you’ve been and you know where you’re going, which is reassuring. This comes with an increase in confidence and the ability to navigate through life with greater success. Also, I don’t think young people are idiots, so I don’t feel middle-aged and alienated. This is the biggest mistake people over 35 make in life and it’s pointless and stupid. Be nice to the people coming up because they’re the ones you’ll see when you’re coming down.
When it comes to the dating scene, so many 50-year-olds lie about their age. Suddenly, on Tinder, they’re 38 instead of 51. Stop being a fuckwit! People will find out and you’ll look like a massive dickhead! If people aren’t comfortable with your age, then fuck it; find another app or go out and actually meet people in the flesh. It can be done. Tinder is not the only fruit.
Now, I’m not against dating apps. They seem to be the modern arena for meeting new people and that’s fine by me. However, I’m old-fashioned like that and it’s not for me. Plus my profile would make me look like Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver. Interests: Drinking Coke Zero while doing chin-ups, watching violent films and spending every day trying not to drink whisky because I’m a recovering alcoholic. I’m also not 6’ 3” with toned abs and painfully white teeth.
I’m a stocky middle-aged man with some bad habits and I’m going to the dentist this week to get a molar extracted. How would that look in a profile pic? Well, I couldn’t give a flying fuck because I’m 51 and I don’t aspire to the impossible heights of perfection. In fact, I laugh in the face of perfection because it’s a cruel joke told by other middle-aged men and women who look like used condoms that have been tarted up to look like a Barbie doll’s arsehole.
The ‘new single’ for people in their 50s should be about dispensing with the fictional pretense and getting on with the reality of the situation. We’re not 25 anymore and that’s not a crime. There’s nothing wrong with a few wrinkles and a receding hairline, and there’s certainly nothing worse than pretending to be somebody that you’re not. I’m an intolerant prick and the idea of being ‘positive’ and ‘up beat’ or interested in arts and crafts fills me with unparalleled dread. It’s been a long and winding road, and I’m not prepared to go backward for the sake of people with impossible dreams. Plus, I’ll be retiring in 20 years, so I don’t have time for all that crap.
The ‘new single’ for people in their 50s should embrace the wrinkle and the missing molar, and shun the celluloid lies spun by creepy charlatans who think it’s okay to drench the world with their PR-driven advice. They should be marched out and stripped of their plastic surgery and made to work in aged care facilities.
I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life and I’m single. And this isn’t a blog about justifying being single like so many single people do these days. This is a blog about knowing where you’ve been and knowing where you’re going and embracing it. Yes, there are times when I wake up and think it would be nice to have somebody here with me, and sometimes that does get me down. However, most of the time, I wake up, make myself a coffee and go out to my roof terrace (weather permitting) feeling very contented.
That’s life. Highs and lows and all the bits in between. So, If you’re in your 50s, single, and reading this blog, cut yourself some slack – there are great things in store for people who embrace a situation and turn it to their advantage. Being 50 and single is empowering, as long as you own it and are not insecure about it all.
One of the sexiest characteristics in the world is the ability to be bold, to assert yourself and attain greatness through success, and to love yourself, regardless of age or missing teeth.
This one’s for you, Claire.