Paul Bittick

When I transferred to Cal Poly last September, not only did I enter a new era in my college life, but my relationship status changed as well.

Having been 21 for less than a year, the only bar scene I knew was that of a “taken” girl. When guys would ask me to dance or ask for my number, I would tell them that I had a boyfriend and that was that.

But, “that” was then and for the past six months I have been experiencing the bar scene in a completely different “single” light.

For more than two years I was in a solid relationship and nothing seemed to change when I turned 21. I was finally allowed to go to the bars on the weekends instead of “hump night,” and even though my boyfriend at the time rarely went with me, I was content to just dance and hang out with my group of friends and stay out of the single crowd; single meaning no commitment to anyone but myself.

In my group of relationship-struck friends I became “that single girl,” the one friend everyone has. It seemed almost automatic the first time I went out after the relationship ended. I noticed guys standing around everywhere waiting to swarm in on their female prey, buy them a drink, talk, get their number and if they were lucky, a date for the night. I know not all men are there for this purpose, but I noticed it happening to a lot of people and I wasn’t ready or prepared for it to happen to me.

Once, a guy that had been hitting on some of us was escorted out of the bar by the police 15 minutes later for harassing some other girls.

There must have been a sign on me somewhere that said “I’m single, buy me a drink and I’ll give you my number,” because I definitely got more than one offer in my newly single state.

While few men were lucky enough to get my number, I will admit that the free drinks were nice, but I didn’t want to be in that crowd, at least not yet.

The last place I wanted to meet a guy was at the bars and I hated feeling obligated to talk to them or give them my phone number when I hadn’t completely conformed to my single status quite yet. I would leave the bars upset because I missed being in a relationship and I hated that I had just talked to guys or given out my phone number when I had no intentions of ever talking to them again. I knew I was not being fair to them or to myself.

When a random number would call my cell phone I blamed myself for not wanting to answer it. I didn’t know if it would be someone from the weekend or even better if it was someone my intoxicated friends decided to give my number to. So, we devised a plan.

While I could still be single at the bars if I wanted to, other times my phone number, and sometimes my name, became confidential. It was like a game for us – who do we want to be tonight? Jessica, Kayla, Mandy? Sure, confusion happens and we’ve been found out on more than one occasion when an accidental real name or the wrong fake name slips out, but it works. I finally began to realize that even though I was single I didn’t always have to play the single role.

I still go out sometimes on the weekends and get wild and crazy and make a complete fool out of myself, but that is my role amongst my friends since I am “that single girl.” I don’t have to worry about the men unless I want to, although I am sure the majority of them are nice guys.

It can be difficult to fall back into the groove of single life after being away from it for so long, but it is exciting to know that I can meet people and be single or I can say I’m in a relationship and still have a good time on the weekends without the stress of wondering if I’m leading someone on.

It’s OK to be single and pretend you’re in a relationship but it’s not OK to be in a relationship and pretend you’re single. I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to realize that being single didn’t mean I had to act upon or admit to my singleness, at least not all the time.

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