Dying alone: Agony Aunt answers

This is you. Dying alone.

This is you. Dying alone.

Dear Slightly Slutty Barren Spinster,

I too am terminally single and offspring free, have sex as I please, and am committed to this lifestyle. Clearly I’m an expert at putting my own needs first, however there are certain occasions (weddings, funerals, family Christmases) – when I think selfishly, “Who the fuck is going to look after me when I’m old and decrepit?”

Do you ever wonder the same? I expect I’ll just get servants as the years progress.

Oh, and in parting, I have this weird dichotomy whereby I hate myself but still think I’m better than everyone else. Thoughts?

Yours,

Princess in Parnell.

Dear Princess,

I have so been there. What is it about weddings, funerals and Christmas that brings on thoughts of mortality and unwarranted despair about the state of being single? I have been to weddings while single, and been the only single person at the entire wedding (OK, possibly not, but it certainly felt like it at the time), and I have also been to weddings with a partner. The thing is, even though I had way more fun at the weddings when single, I still spent the first 15 minutes feeling sorry for myself amidst the couples until I could catch the eye of the waiter with the bubbly.

Here’s what I like to do in such occasions: imagine how much worse life could be with a partner. Imagine if you had to drag a sulking partner to the wedding of someone he or she despised. Imagine he or she became spectacularly inebriated and tried to hit on a member of the wedding party in front of you. Imagine he or she insisted on wearing something hideous and then demanded to be photographed with you. I don’t know what your family Christmases are like, but the thought of subjecting a partner to some of my relatives does not fill me with glee. And imagine if you had to spend Christmas with your partner’s family? Even if said partner was lovely, they could still be the black sheep in a family a bunch of bigoted cunts, you just never know.

When we’re single and start fantasising about a long term partner, the fantasies are usually rose-tinted. I like to balance that shit out by imagining myself wiping the arse of a terminally ill partner or having to be stoic at their funeral. Morbid, maybe; but I think it’s a necessary reminder that having a partner doesn’t guarantee you won’t die alone. It also doesn’t guarantee you won’t end up nursing them at the same time as having to bail out your feckless children who are still financially dependent on you even in their 30s.

Doesn’t your plan with the servants look far more attractive, especially assuming that the servants are young, hot and attentive to your every need? I think it is far more sensible to save some of the discretionary income that you would otherwise have to spend on your own kids and make sure that you can have the lavish retirement that you deserve. My plans involve a luxury retirement village that is OK with cats, lots of drinking, recreational drugs, smoking and fattening food. In other words, I’m planning to hold on until 70 or so and then totally let myself go in the knowledge that my cats will still pretend to love me as long as I’m the one feeding them.

As for your parting question, I think it’s all about fear of vulnerability. I think you and I might be similar souls, a little bit obsessed with being in control. When you have high standards for yourself and for others, it’s easy to become a perfectionist. I’m sure that you are your own harshest critic and that what scares you about other people is that they might agree with that criticism. Letting your guard down around other people means making yourself vulnerable to criticism. Unfortunately, it’s also the only way to develop an intimate relationship with another person. It’s perfectly possible to hate yourself and think that you’re better than everyone else because that’s the result of constantly judging people, including yourself. Letting go of that inner bitch will help but, if you’re like me, you’re masochistically rather fond of her and would miss her if she left. I like to compromise by silencing her with gin every once in a while.

Good luck for the festive season, my lovely. Just remember, it could be so much worse.

Yours,

SSBH

 

 

 

 

 

 

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