Now, a night out with the boys ends before midnight–I'm just hitting my stride as they're winding down. And one thing I do not want to get in the habit of is hanging out solo at bars, throwing back drinks, talking to strangers, and trying to pick up women. Sure, it's fun for a little bit, but after a while, you begin to think, "Do I really want to become this guy, The Regular, at a semi-seedy tavern, spending entirely too much time and money boozing it up with people I don't know?"
And there is arguably a new social paradigm to which people adhere once they marry. Often that paradigm does not include singles, merely like-minded married couples, which seems to be the natural order of things. I don't necessarily fit in at the merlot and gouda parties where young married couples are forced together to feign niceties about their common interests and desires. I imagine most of the conversation would be banal ("This smoked gouda, it really does tastes like meat, George. Seriously, if you were to blindfold me and give me gouda inside two slices of pumpernickel, I just might mistake it for a turkey sandwich!"). And yet there are more and more of these get-togethers where my presence seems to be requested.
Somewhere over the last decade, societal mores shifted where nuptials and babies are concerned. It's not uncommon now for people to throw co-ed celebrations heralding an engagement or a forthcoming baby. I've been to a number, and I inevitably end up running lines from Radiohead's "Creep" through my head ("…What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here…") To be clear, these are my friends, and I love them dearly. But I have no business taking part in these events, especially when I'm the only single guy there–no girlfriend, no date, just me in my Gingham-patterned dress shirt and pressed khakis, a type of pant I also feel I have no business wearing. Are You The “Single Friend”?
After each couple expounds on their goings-on (remodeled kitchens, pre-school searches, cozy restaurant finds, vacation spots), the Lazy Susan of Cocktail Conversation comes around to me; it's invariably a moment of awkwardness and askance glances, complete with its own soundtrack of crickets ("So, Dikenta… uh, what's uh, what's… uh, more wine?").