Singleness, Downton Abbey, Fears, and Flirting

If I used Twitter, I would file this under #confession. But I don’t tweet because #imissedthebandwagon and #athispointwhybother. Nevertheless, this is a confessional of sorts on singleness, Downton Abbey, and one of my greatest fears.

Being single, female, and twenty-seven is a strange thing. It’s not bad nor good; just strange. Having spent twenty-six and half of those years not “in a relationship,” I’m more or less used to it. It’s what I know, but definitely not what I desire. And certainly not how I anticipated my life unfolding. Sometimes I’m grateful because not being attached to a significant other has allowed me be the me I want to be without having to factor in someone’s expectations. There’s a freedom to it at times. And there’s a quite hope that someday, in the nearish future, I’ll get swept off my feet.

That being said, singleness is different when you’re no longer in your teens or early-twenties. When I was in that phase of life, there were still a lot of options and there was plenty of time. Of course, then your friends start getting married and an increasing number of the single guys you knew are no longer single. It becomes harder to meet people and the single guys you do know are either launching their careers, clearly not ready to settle down anytime soon, or clearly not for you. And that’s okay, most days. More time goes by and those wedding invitations from girls years behind you in school begin to arrive. Holiday seasons usher in loads of Facebook announcements of engagements and serve as a reminder that you’re nowhere close to tying the knot. And your no-longer-newlywed friends are now talking about babies and buying homes, which is so exciting (because who doesn’t love a newborn?) but it is a rather blatant reminder that you are falling further behind.

I know it’s not a competition. I know if I give it time it will happen- at least I pray this is the case. Some days I’m so busy I barely notice I’m alone. Other days it’s a constant struggle, like walking around in only one high-heel; that’s how off-balanced I feel. Surely, it can’t be that hard to find my other shoes. But honestly, I’ve been looking and I haven’t found the other one yet. It can be pretty crummy being solo. It gets old turning up to parties, weddings, and any social function with no plus one. I just want someone to curl up with and watch my latest Netflix binge.

I worry, though, that as time continues to pass, and I hear the ticking of that very real biological clock grow ever louder, I will resemble Lady Edith on Downton Abbey.

I love Downton Abbey. I have a strong affinity for British television and this is one of my favorite series. (At this point I feel it’s fair to warn you that this may contain spoilers through season 3. Reader, you’ve been warned.) Here’s the thing, in the real world, I’m not the girl with the title of “Lady.” I’m far more likely to be Anna, the lady’s maid. Or Daisy, cooking and scrubbing an endless amount of dishes in the kitchen. But I stumbled across this series of shirts from Signal,

Daughters Of Downton Abbey Tee - Mary

And I think, okay, Lady Mary; that would be okay. True, she can be kind of awful at times. She’s got quite the vindictive streak. And yet, in some ways I can relate to her sense of duty. There’s a strength and gumption to her that I admire. She’s got a string of suitors lined up, which is completely foreign to me. But Matthew, that I’d quite like. I’m a sucker for a war-romance, train station goodbyes, and I love how he pulls out the best in her which can be seen in this scene:

Then there’s this shirt:
Daughters Of Downton Abbey Tee - Sybil

Oh, I’d love to be a Sybil. There’s such a goodness to Sybil, such a spirit of courage and adventure. She’s the first to wear pants, get involved in the war effort as a nurse, and she boldly runs off with the chauffeur. Plus she’s just gorgeous:

And while I love her, she seems too lovely to imagine that I could ever be “a Sybil.”

But this t-shirt, oh no. I would not buy it. Nor would I ever wear it:

Daughters Of Downton Abbey Tee - Edith

 Now, to give credit where it’s due, Edith’s done some noteworthy things. Like the time she served the men convalescing at Downton or when she decided to write for the paper. But when it comes to Edith’s love life, I want to be as unlike her as possible.

There’s a lot of different ways of flirting that aren’t suave, yet I still find endearing.

Like Jim and Pam’s silly way of flirting:

Or Jessica Day’s cute but complete awkwardness:

But when Edith attempts to flirt, I find myself cringing nine point nine times out of ten. I know I’m not alone in this because there’s this whole website devoted to Poor Edith. I cringed when she attempted to flirt with Matthew, when he’s clearly into Mary and invites his mother to their next outing. I wince when she competes with Mary for a gentleman’s attention. I want to bury my head in the sand on her behalf just about anytime she talks to a member of the opposite sex. And as the seasons progress, she gets connected to a wide array of increasingly unsuitable suitors.Her attempts to find happiness are laced with a growing desperation that she will wind up a spinster. Essentially her desperation is so present she starts to look like this:

"That’s more like it!"

Oh, Poor Edith. Doesn’t she know what she looks like to everyone else, including the guy she’s attempting to hook?

And that’s what I’m afraid of: that in my prolonged singleness, I too will be christened with a similar title “Poor Kim.” That my attempts at flirting will be so overt or so poorly directed that those observing will shake their heads in dismay.

Of course, in an attempt to not appear desperate, I’ve also found myself swinging too far on the opposite side of the pendulum, much how Charlotte describes Jane’s behavior in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

“[…] it is sometimes a disadvantage to be so very guarded. If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; and it will then be but poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark. There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself. We can all begin freely — a slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement. In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels. Bingley likes your sister undoubtedly; but he may never do more than like her, if she does not help him on.”

Oh, what’s a gal to do? Especially a gal, whose flirting skills peaked at the third grade teasing level. I’m not sure I really know. And that’s okay, right now there’s really no need. See the dating pool is kind of like this:

Cousin Collage

But someday, I’ll find my Jim Halpert, my Gilbert Blythe, and when I do, if you call yourself my friend and I’m acting like an Edith, please be a dear and knock those googly-eyes back into my head because:HN4102

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