By Muthoni Njoki
I have been single all the twenty-something years I’ve been living on this rock. This isn’t to mean that I haven’t dated people. After all, I am a parent to an amazing eight-year-old. But if you ask me, I have been single, I am single, and I will forever be single. I identified and still identify as single.
The running joke among my friends is that they can’t name one person I have been in a relationship with. I have dated plenty of people. I love love. I love dating; the excitement, the shyness, the desire to be the best version of yourself, the newness of everything.
But, I never get to the ‘serious’ part of dating and romantic relationships – by choice.
The one time I almost lost my singlehood status was when I finally told my family I was pregnant. I was five, almost six months along. One of the topics that immediately came up was marriage to my child’s dad. A child needs to live in a two-parent household and other short stories.
I shot down this suggestion faster than the Nairobi expressway flowers die.
When I gave birth, getting married was brought up once again. I shot it down, again. I wasn’t going to get tied to someone just cause our baby shared our DNA. We weren’t dating when the child was conceived. We weren’t going to date/get married now that the child existed in our multiverse.
One of the last plays I acted in was Getting Married by George Bernard Shaw. In the play, the characters discuss the merits and demerits of marriage and divorce laws.
My most favorite character was this spinster who was hell-bent on never getting married because she didn’t want to deal with boots and clothes strewn all over the house. One ‘small’ mistake made her cancel the marriage and choose to be single.
I enjoy being single. Single affords me the opportunity to live my best life. Being answerable to myself only. Living by my rules.
Here’s my guide on how to stay single amidst a world that is hell-bent on making everyone partnered.
Have Daddy Issues
The easiest way to stay single is to have daddy issues. Ghost people. Develop avoidant attachment issues. Be an asshole. Blame it on your non-existent father.
Bring up your daddy issues as soon as you can. Package them as a “by the way” thing. Not too many daddy issues though. Just enough to make you interesting. Sure your father wasn’t in your life. But, look at you. You are thriving. You trust men, but not enough. You can commit, but only so much. You could also be unhinged, who knows.
Date men who are older than you. Way older. As scandalous as you can. Ten years, that’s reasonable, twenty years, apply for pesa ya wazee. If their kids retain a succession lawyer even better. You’ve made it to the news cycle.
Chances are they were once married or partnered and they’re now single and determined to stay that way for a while. They probably have a couple of kids. It doesn’t matter. You make it a point to never meet them.
They will still get partnered, eventually. For now, all they want to do is enjoy the ‘freedom’ they missed out on when partnered. You are their newest, shiniest toy. Their story to tell. Just not the forever.
Age is just a number for you. Date younger. Cradle snatch. After all, men do it and no one bats an eye. In the words of P Square, what a man can do, a woman can do.
Heads turn and tongues waggle when the man is younger than the woman. It’s like there’s an unwritten rule on not dating younger men. If you break that rule, keep it to yourself, you cougar.
Younger men won’t want to get tied into a long-term relationship. They still want to enjoy their ‘freedom’. You get to enjoy relationship benefits without the pressure to get into a long-term relationship.
Keep it Short
As short as you can. Three to six months. As Sauti Sol says, “Imma keep it short and sweet Dj play this song on repeat.”
Make it clear early enough that you are there for a good time and not a long time. You will leave at the slightest inconvenience and won’t look back. Stay dangerous.
Learn their favorite colors and special days, but not about their deepest traumas and long-term plans. Suggest therapy and their other friends for that. Anything more than this leads to attachment and you don’t want to deal with attachment issues.
Look for excuses for why you can’t meet up. Your cat died. You’ve been transferred to the remotest area in Kenya. Hakuna network. An excuse will always roll off your tongue. This isn’t your first rodeo.
Don’t Respond to Messages
“True love is unconditional, but to truly flourish it requires an ongoing commitment to constructive struggle and change,” Bell Hooks.
Be aloof. Stay mysterious. Stay dangerous. Act erratic when it comes to staying in touch. Being in a relationship calls for constant communication. Don’t respond to messages. Take three business days to get back to them.
The next time you talk to them you’ll have a reason as to why you never texted back. They are busy with other people. You convince yourself. After all, you aren’t really dating. You don’t owe them prompt responses.
When you eventually talk you can’t tell whether it’s genuine excitement or boredom.
Be a Single Mom who Co-parents
This one is easy. Be a single mom and see how fast you’ll stay single. Even the president shares his opinions on single mothers during National celebrations. No one wants to be openly associated with a pariah.
Men will feel some type of way about dating you if your child’s father is involved in their life. They want to be with you, but they don’t want to be with you cause the child’s father is also around. In their eyes they will always come second and they don’t want that.
Perks of this, you get all the love you need without wearing the relationship apron and doing all the work of being in one.
Be a Feminist
Proudly wear your feminism badge. From the get-go, make it clear that you don’t live life the traditional way. Get into feminist, liberal conversations as soon as you can. Make your stand known.
Your need for independence and equality will make it difficult for you to commit to long-term romantic relationships.
Those are my 7 commandments on staying single. What are yours?
2 comments On How To Stay Single
Or you could just decide to be ‘forever single’ or ‘single for now’ and embrace that decision and aim to thrive and be content in all aspects of your life regardless of relationship status, without adopting toxic behaviours?
Sorry OP I just don’t agree with this way of thinking. I’m a single Kenyan gal myself and understand the pressures and stigma associated with being single, female and a parent in our society. What I don’t understand, or prescribe to, is this growing culture among Kenyan women and men to act hard and unaffected where relationships are concerned, and to try and prove to the world that they’re ‘bad bitches’ and ‘real men’.
Aiii, life is too short my friend and personally I intend to spend it being authentic and seeking joy, which for me includes very good sex and fulfilling relationships, whether I’m single or not.
This is probably the funniest piece I have read all year. I understand the instinct to judge but, honestly, I think being a true feminist is being true to yourself and your experiences. If being single this way brings you genuine joy, I don’t see why not. Love, love, love the level of commitment to being single. Get it?