We aren’t sure who the first person was that said, “I LOVE being single,” but we’re pretty sure they were a goddamn liar. Most people hate being single. What’s to love? Low life expectancy. Sure, that sounds great! And maybe you’re one of the rare people that are actually #singleandlovingit—and that’s great, but we doubt it—then this guide won’t apply to you. Most likely, you are one of the many Toledoans who are #singleandtoleratingit. To that, we say: Welcome. You aren’t alone.
A | ASK
Ask your friends if they know anyone you might like. Then please, for the love of God, ignore their suggestion. They don’t know. You really think they could identify your soulmate? If they did, they would have hooked you up already. If not, they aren’t your friend. Instead, ask yourself: “What is wrong with me?” Then…
B | BE YOURSELF
Just kidding. This is the worst advice ever. Being yourself is the problem. Obviously, we aren’t suggesting that you should take on a new personality—this isn’t Fight Club, this is just dating—but we are saying you should reflect on what you need to improve. Have a bad temper? Are you impatient? Do you love the sound of your own voice? Me too. Email me. Let’s date.
C | CARDS
Lay them on the table. Then combine them. Maybe you and your new date have enough Biggby points to get a free drink? Who knows. But the best way to anyone’s heart is an open wallet.
D | DENIAL
Be honest with yourself. You’re single, a lot of people are, it’s no big deal. Just as you don’t need to justify why you love who you love, you also don’t need to justify your complete lack of love—or the fact that you hate it. You don’t need to tell people you “LOVE being single.” (You don’t.) You don’t need to tell yourself that “men are intimidated by you.” (They aren’t.) You also don’t need to say “they will grow on me.” (They won’t.) You are who you are. Own it.
E | EXERCISE
We aren’t telling you to lose weight. If that’s what you assume, well, sorry for holding the mirror up. We are, however, telling you to exercise. As a single person, you might be missing out on what you typically get in a relationship: that rewarding rush of blood and endorphins. You can still keep your body warm, your blood pumping, and endorphins flooding by hitting the gym. Plus, you’ll get the kind of self-confidence that actually lasts.
F | FORGET
Remember? You had this thing you had to go to later tonight… Right? Whatever “that thing” is, just make sure to always know what that thing actually is and to have an informative backstory ready in case your date goes sour.
G | GO
Go online. In a lot of ways, dating apps like Tinder are like party drugs—everyone denies touching them, but you still find plenty of people compulsively using on the weekend. Just bite the bullet, accept that you’ll never meet some perfect cutie reading your favorite book at the bookstore, and make a profile. Everyone else has.
H | HELP
Help yourself to whatever is in their fridge and/or medicine cabinet. One of three things is going on here, so let’s just expedite the process. 1) You will never see this person again, so nothing actually matters. Pick through whatever, in the most existential way possible. 2) This person’s studio apartment (Chelsea Place or the Old West End… pick your poison) is going to be your new hangout spot, so you might as well be comfortable while they get comfortable with you being comfortable. 3) You are not the only other date who often finds themselves comfortable here. If so, chances are the other dates are smart-ish by now and remember which way the olives were facing when they last left. Might as well have some fun with it. It’s like your own personal Sherlock/Moriarty standoff. We recommend a spyglass.
I | INDULGENCE
Every negative has a positive. Maybe you don’t have a charming beau on your side, but you are probably saving a lot of money and have a ton of free time. Indulge in it. Buy an expensive cocktail and feel casually elegant at Registry Bistro, treat yourself to a massage, or do whatever it is you want to do. You only have three people to make happy: “me, myself and I.”
J | JOKES
Whether “LOL” is your favorite defense mechanism or medicine, you might as well take advantage of it. Home Slice Pizza (28 S. St. Clair St.) hosts a free open mic comedy night every Thursday at 8pm. It might sound cheesy (yes, kill us), but perhaps you will meet someone who will break down your steel-armored sarcasm and tickle your, uh, funny bone.
K | KISSING
Been a while since you got hot and heavy in a makeout session? Here’s a fact that will give you the mystical ascetic powers perfect for ignoring your loneliness: Even a peck on the mouth can transmit STDs, including herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 and 2 and syphilis. Even scarier, people can spread herpes without knowing they have it, since the virus often remains dormant for years. Horrified? Awesome. I bet you don’t even want to kiss anyone now.
L | LONELINESS
Everyone finds themselves drunk, alone at 3am, shoving shredded cheese into their mouth and checking their phone to see if they finally got the text back. I think? God, I hope so. Either way, smelling like mildew and watching every episode of My Strange Addiction isn’t attractive to anybody. Including yourself. Take a shower. Make your bed. Go outside. Call a friend. Seriously, if you’re feeling really down, the only place to go is up.
M | MANNERS
If you didn’t learn them as a kid, there’s your problem. If you did, use them. You’d be surprised what happens when you employ a bit of common courtesy. We heard that a proper “please” and “thank you” can turn a 2 into a 10. We think that’s wrong, but we’re often wrong. Just take hope where you can find it.
N | NO
No means no. Yes, usually, means yes. Say what you mean and mean what you say, and say it whenever you want. But remember: not everyone else does this. It’s up to you to make sure your date’s “yes” is really a “yes.” Sound awkward? It isn’t. Communicating consent doesn’t “ruin the mood,” it ensures both partners feel safe and comfortable.
O | OPEN
Whether it be your heart, your mind, eyes, or your pants, opening up is the key to moving on. Bitter is never better, and a cold, sardonic personality is a hard one for anyone to cozy up to. Do what you need to do to expand your mind, but just make sure you do it. Change is coming—will you be its leader, or its follower?
P | POLITICS
People say that you aren’t supposed to discuss politics early on in a relationship. But, it’s likely the people who say this are divorced. If you think that Trump is the literal human manifestation of a vomited Cheeto, and the person you met on Tinder wears a MAGA hat, it’s best to either hash things out early, or run—very, very fast—in the opposite direction.
Q | QUIET
You don’t have to speak as much as you think. Statistically, an adult averages about 48 thoughts per minute. Now, we know you don’t get to converse with other humans as often as you’d like, but there is no way anyone else cares about ALL of that. Pick and choose, share the most interesting things you think about. Sound hard? Take a chill pill. They don’t drug test for those.
R | RASHES
Maybe you’re celibate. Maybe you’re in a series of no-strings-attached-super-casual-and-totally-sincere-friends-with-benefits-relationships (stop kidding yourself). Either way, it’s never a bad time to get an HIV/STD test. Considering you have tons of free time, and plenty of public facilities provide free or low-cost tests (see stdtestexpress.com/free-std-testing-toledo-oh for locations), you have no excuse.
S | STRANGE
Get some. Seriously. But not how you might think. We aren’t telling you to find the freakiest freak you can freaking find and take them home. But, we are saying you need to get out of your comfort zone. Try out a new hobby. Attend a class. Talk to someone you think seems weird. Two things happen when you encounter strange: you will feel a lot more normal, and you find out something new about yourself.
T | THIRST
Woah there. Sex is great, but it isn’t life and death. No need to treat your feverish desire for a warm body like you’re literally going to die. Don’t comment “Nice” on your would-be beau’s vacation photos. Don’t text “u up?” to anyone, ever. Don’t make jokes about “beer goggles” so you can give yourself the “courage” to take home someone you know you shouldn’t. Calm your moronic urges with a productive activity, like masturbating.
U | UNCOMFORTABLE
For every great date, there is a completely awful one. It’s no big deal. Babe Ruth didn’t have a perfect batting average either. At the very least, uncomfortable dates are fantastic opportunities to learn what, and who, you want. Plus, if it makes you feel better, your date is almost definitely having just as bad of a time as you.
V | VICTORY
For every awful date is a great one, and for every great date is a perfect one. Just dial back the excitement before you congratulate yourself on a victory. Humans have a habit of putting their blinders on. We aren’t saying you should look for the worst in your newfound crush, but we are suggesting you be realistic and take your time. Love is a battlefield, not a war.
W | WHY???
We don’t know. You are perfect. You are beautiful. You do no wrong. You deserve the best, and it’s not fair that you aren’t in love. Ok? Is that seriously what you wanted to hear? Next time you need a pat on the back call your dad. Jeez.
X | XXX
I don’t know. Watch porn? The alphabet has a lot of letters. God damn.
Y | YOU
Forget about significant others. The relationship you have with yourself is the most significant relationship you will ever have. You are either your worst enemy or your best friend, and this is (almost) entirely up to you. Use your time flying solo to get a handle on the most important person to know—you.
Z | ZOMBIE
Maybe you’re trying to navigate dangerous terrain, fearful of all the happy couples walking around brain dead, intoxicated by lust. Maybe you’re feeling a little undead yourself, stuck in a limbo between life and death. Either way, we have two pieces of good news: 1) You’re being really dramatic. Being single is not the apocalypse. 2) You are not alone, so stop feeling lonely and sorry for yourself. Go find your tribe.