Girls who are women, Who like girls to be women, Who do boys to get more boys or girls, Who are all these boys and girls? Always should be someone you really love

I very rarely comment on my relationship status (whether single or coupled-up), because with each boyfriend (some pre Facebook), the energy has gone into the relationship rather than the public profile. Since I’m a sensitive soul, I’m prone to speculate on speculation, which never leads to anywhere interesting. In the event of wobbly knees, butterflies, honeymoon phases and some heartache, when it comes to public updates it’s pretty much business as usual.

But tonight, I was prompted to make a statement….(sitting comfortably?)

I’m just home from having dinner with a friend (and her charming boyfriend (CB)). This friend, prior to presenting a delicious lasagne, had sent me a text saying that she staying with the CB.

When we caught up, I joked…. “why couldn’t you just say you’d moved in together? Staying with someone is like moving out of an abusive household or even visiting your auntie, but you don’t permanently stay with someone.” My friend replied “I was worried you’d be offended. I was nervous about telling my single female friends.”

And there it was, in black and white. I had become a SFF.

How many of my loved-up thirty-something friends had me on their reserve guest lists, either because I didn’t fit as a solo participant or because they were waiting to pair me up with their “really nice” SMF? How did it come to this? Naturally there are times when I do have to breathe in deeply if I find I am the only person in a party of very established couples (VECs), but I also love my “couple-friends” (CFs). Most (but not quite all) are huge amounts of fun. Some CFs I’ve known for the entire length of their relationship and hope to continue these friendships through (and even past) their sixtieth and seventieth anniversaries.

It’s true I’ve stopped inviting pregnant friends out and possibly those with young children too, but it was never about drawing a line. It reminds me horribly of my teenage years waving at friends who’d lost their virginity before I had….. First we were girls and then we were girls and women and then were all women and now we’re women and girls again. I’m not anti-sprogging; it’s just that whilst some women have a burning desire for babies, I have a burning desire to emigrate…. or even set up an online, interactive graphic novel where you can buy the costumes and the accessories of the characters. In short, I’m just not done with the world.

Since at least two female friends (FFs) haven’t responded to any communication since giving birth, I had started to become a little cynical that this is the way all friendships go once children are on the scene; a concern confirmed by another SFF who’d said that her xSFF and WI-VES (women in very established couples) had started to bond with other WI-VES. I was saved from such cynicism by a fabulous, long weekend visiting a FF (also VEC) who not only has a two-year old, but is pregnant too! We communicate regularly on Facebook and even with the tornado of chaos in the room, we can still hold a conversation. He screams, he throws food, but he does not derail the train of conversation.

What’s bizarre is that most of my female friends, if not all, have seen Sex and the City and Bridget Jones. They know the stereotypes, they’ve seen the humour and still the experiences separate us. I also live in hope that one day, as a woman in my thirties, I might be allowed to develop a three-dimensional character and not be weighed up on the hours I spend at work, my biological clock or even my ageing body as I sprint out of bed in the morning to count wrinkles and grey hairs.

For the record…. and I may as well say it now, I do…. on occasion…. get lonely. It’s not trendy, it’s not cool, I hope it’s not media death, but it’s true. Yet even at the rock-bottoms, at the burn-outs… I never, ever want to settle for someone for the sake of it. I have divorced parents… life’s too short. None of this however, stops me rejoicing in other people’s happiness and loved-up-ness; these things should be celebrated.