The 33 toughest things about being single in New York

Forward this to your smug married friends to show them why it ain’t easy being a single guy or gal in NYC

Photograph: Shutterstock

RECOMMENDED: The New York guide to life

1. Couples picnicking in Central Park. You do it and you're just a strange person sitting alone in the mud eating a frankfurter. 

2. The walk of shame out of a doorman building. Good morning to you, too, sir… 

3. When you order in Seamless and they automatically give you three sets of chopsticks. "No, it's just me, all by my lonely self. And yes, I do need that much sushi. Fuck off." 

4. You don’t have the excuse of living in a small town and having a smaller dating pool: Over 8 million people live in NYC. That's 8 million people you have failed to impress. 

5. Summer. Everyone's relaxed, happy, maybe feeling frisky. People are wearing a little less. Unless you can get un-single pretty damn quick, you're in hell. 

6. One late-night phone call that involves crying and SUDDENLY you're Glenn Close inFatal Attraction

7. There's always the chance that the person you get set up with is a blogger/personal essayist/xoJane contributor. Get ready for your terrible attempt at oral sex to end up in their sassy dating memoir. (If your rep is truly terrible, you may end up in Time Out's Undateables section.) 

8. Hearing about other people's blissed-out romantic vacations. How nice for you. I took a vacation this weekend too: from going outdoors, cooking, speaking or showering. 

9. Knowing your couple friends can afford to live in a much nicer apartment, because they’re splitting the mortgage. 

10. Witnessing other couples’ slow crotch-grinding at sad indie gigs.

11. That vicious circle of thinking you should lose weight to improve your odds, then eating your feelings because it fucking sucks being single. Hi, is this Lucky Burger for delivery? 

12. Running into people you've had bad one-night stands with around the city. Why does New York suddenly seem to shrink to a tenth its regular size when you’re trying to avoid someone? 

13. Showing up at a dinner party when you are the ONLY single person there. I know those smiles are pity smiles and I hope you choke on this beautiful seafood risotto that you and your partner prepared together

14. Dogs. Only couples get dogs. 

15. The omnipresent "we." Clueless couple friends no longer have identities of their own—there is no more "I," only "we." And when you get bitter and angry about it, you’re the crazy one. 

16. The vomit-inducing sham of Valentine's Day. What the hell, New York? You're meant to be cooler than that. 

17. Even when you’re enjoying being single, you can’t talk about it, because it sounds like you’re protesting too much. 

18. When people you're not into hit on you, then dislike you for saying no. Even worse, when you hit on people who are not into you and then dislike them for saying no. 

19. Making the mistake of confusing reality for what's just going on inside your head, because you have no one around to tell you otherwise. 

20. Long train rides home, alone, after a night out. Or the morning after.

21. Trying to seem interested, but not too interested. That already describes our entire lives as New Yorkers, does it have to be a part of our dating lives, too? 

22. It's like being at one long audition for a part you're not even sure you want. 

23. Ice cream shops. Nowhere makes you feel lonelier. NO, I DON'T WANT FUCKING SPRINKLES, OKAY? 

24. Watching romantic comedies about dating in New York. Dating in New York is neither romantic nor comedic: It’s more like Gladiator, where every potential date is the emperor, giving you the thumbs down and feeding you to the lions. 

25. Cooking for one. Not only less fun, but God, groceries are expensive in Manhattan. 

26. Anyone who lives more than ten stops away on the subway might as well live in Narnia. 

27. Shopping alone at the couple central that is Bed Bath & Beyond. Why yes, I am buying SodaStream canister replacements in bulk, and I will drink it all by myself, thanks.

28. There’s no one to save you if a murderer climbs up your fire escape. 

29. Dates who seem normal, then introduce you to their three blind/deaf/dumb/incontinent cats. 

30. The takeout delivery person noticing the frequency of your orders (and no one else in your apartment), and thinking you must be attracted to them.

31. Having no one to pay your cabdriver when you inevitably (and drunkenly) lose your ATM card. 

32. Absolutely NOBODY believes you when you say you actually prefer being on your own.

33. One word: Tinder. Anyone that's spent more than five minutes on this app knows that it was most likely designed by extraterrestrials to break the spirit of the human race in advance of an oncoming invasion.


Gary Seven

This article explains why there are so many hot women having coffee with their non-straight male friends in the west village. More to the point, is the chip on this author's shoulder because of nature or nurture?

Tony G.

Ehh I'm kind of indifferent about this. There are times I enjoy being single but not having a girlfriend/significant other can be a total bummer at times. Do you really want to be single at 34 or even older? It kind of sucks when you don't have someone to go out with, travel with or even discover things locally. I do consider the divorce rate and those out-of-control kids screaming and kicking sometimes but I try to block it out because people get through it; they survive. I don't maybe I'm just a sad, sappy, sucker, lol! Here's to the motto, "To each their own!" Just be happy and love each other, whether you're single or not!

lisa e

Well clearly SOMEONE at TONY doesn't like being single!  It's as bad as you make it out to bad as you LET it bad as you LET others make you believe your reality MUST be....etc.

It's lame articles like this, that feed into this notion that being single 'sucks'.  Tell people that it sucks enough times, and unfortunately they will buy into it.  I however (a long-term single) am wise enough to understand that 'society' as a whole is plain dumb.

Do I feel lonely at times?  Sure.  Do I sometimes wish I had a romantic partner that I could lean on for emotional support, spooning, sex, a walk, etc?  Sure.  BUT.  I like my own company.  I like my independence.  I have great friends and family.  A very full social life.  I can watch whatever the hell I please on Netflix, etc., WHEN I want.  No having to compromise on anything.  No drama with in-laws.  I can pick up and travel where i want, when I want.  I can decide what to do with my social life, and not have to glance over at someone and say 'honey, do WE have plans for next weekend? or 'Honey, do you MIND if I go out with the gals tomorrow?'  No having to watch some lame 'action flick' or football game to be 'supportive' or because 'that's what couples just do...they pretend they like this activity or that, this movie or that, so they can be glued to their partner's hip 24/7.'   Mind you, I'm not saying that relationships and all the trade-offs and compromises you must make, can't in turn provide lots of benefits to each individual in the relationship.

But I really tire of 'society' and 'coupled people' constantly throwing around this notion of how much it must 'suck' to be alone.  We all know marriage ain't no picnic, but yet why is it ok for society and folks to say things like 'oh, we need to fix you up with a nice man' or 'oh, you are still not married?' etc., but yet we singles can never say 'oh, you're still married?....I'm must feel so trapped being in a relationship and always having to compromise on things and always having someone 'in your head'...that must be so stifling...poor thing you....'  Awwww....

In the year 2017, with all the progress society has supposedly made in 'live and let live', why are singles still so marginalized?  And why do so many singles still buy into this and allow it? Thirty-Three things suck about being single? could 'only' come up with Thirty-Three??!  ;-)

Where's the list of Thirty-Three things that suck about being part of a couple??

But hey, I guess I'm just a bitter lonely hag, right?  Wrong.  I just think society is so utterly stupid, and sheep-like, in so many ways.


Gary Seven

Very well said. Just don't overemphasize the parts about how your needs are being met, or risk being labeled a narcissist.

Carlo F

You can't find a man because you have something against men with blind cats. Who would want you?

ginger A

This is why women need to leave the city asap. There are no men left on the east coast who want to be in a relationship with a woman. Accept a simpler, obviously zero/nil glamorous life and go mid west, duh.

Elle M

@Liz Z  I agree with Liz.  NYC absolutely sucks, always has and always will - for dating...and as for lifestyle caliber.

It's rushed, impersonal, impatient NYers, in your face attitude...with the "grass is always greener" mentality in terms of their social lives and dating.  Nobody TALKS to anyone anymore...all they make time for is Tinder and that dreadful texting.  "How is ur day"?  Midwest or the South perhaps is a better geographical choice. 

Holy P

This article is for women, no? Cause single guys dont give a flying F. Guys love our single life. Look at what's happening in divorce court? I would be a sucker to marry again..I even tell my son not to invite me to his wedding .Prostitutes are cheaper these days, you don't have to see them again and you get to keep your house.. They don't steal your savings, your house nor bug you for outrageous child support.. Which kid needs $50,000 a year? Toast to the new independent movement...I just tossed my wife to the side and I'm heading straight to the Philippines to cure my yellow fever. Let her new sucker marry her and think he is lucky.. Im gone ASAP abroad where all the divorced middle age guys are headed. I'm just mad I waited this long. No more fat money grubbing monsters ..I'm freeeee!!.die slow bitches, you all priced yourselves out of the market..

lisa e

@Holy P Enjoy the Philippines.  You sound like a real 'gem'.

Zivko G

Good stuff brother!!!

Zivko G

Umm he's kinda right