Before I met my now husband, I lived alone. I’m grateful I met him, but I was free to be me. Living with your significant other can have you on high alert sometimes. I definitely don’t want to wear makeup most of the time I’m home, and I would live in Old Navy pajama pants if I could.
But that’s just the start. Sometimes I miss my lonely days. Not that I want them back, but when my husband takes a trip somewhere, I get so excited my head could explode. Why? As Sex and the City called it, “secret single behavior,” those habits that one indulges in only when alone. Carrie ate stacks of saltine crackers with with grape jelly while standing at her counter reading Vogue. Seems classy next to my SSB.
Husband sweetly says goodbye while the inside of my head is going “get out, get out, get out, get out, get out.” He rolls his suitcase to the elevator and before he even hits the button, I’m in the bathroom. I take a hot shower, and wash my hair, which I hate blowdrying, but I’m not planning on doing that for a few days now. Blowdrying or showering.
When I get out, I put ugly old pajama pants, and leave my hair in a wet bun on top of my head. I will then go through a variety of face masks—clay, sheets, peeling. I do these in my robe and slippers while visiting the kitchen as they dry to eat salted peanut butter filled pretzels in a bowl with hot sauce on them. Try it, it’s delicious.
When mask time is over, it’s on to picking and popping my face for a good 20 minutes. Then layers and layers of serums and creams until I’m good and greased up. Now, the TV and the couch are mine. All mine. First up, usually Something Borrowed, or anything with Kate Hudson works. I’ll eat macaroni and cheese from a box and will cry a little when Ginnifer Goodwin just won’t pipe up and tell Darcy she loves Dex.
Later, it’s time for a good ol’ one man dance party—while the cat watches from the couch. This usually happens in front of the window. I sing and cry and laugh. Then I’ll blast a Howard Stern repeat throughout the whole apartment and order disgusting food. Then I’ll order more food, maybe a pizza. Then I’ll microwave some more food and eat a block of cheese. I won’t shower and will eat and eat and laugh in my pajama pants then clean all of it up, including myself, before he gets back.
I asked other couples what they do when their other half is away. Here is what they said:
Kate, from New York, says, “When i lived with my ex, I would blast Beyonce music and dance like crazy when he wasn't home because he didn't like that kind of music/dancing...Reason number 50962 why I left him. HA! I also just ate wine and cheese for dinner.”
Another woman from California, who would like to remain anonymous, says she likes to rearrange furniture.“But in like, an OCD way where I will move a few pieces and rehang some frames and then stand back and stare to see how I feel about it. Or sit on the couch and see how it looks from the corner of my eye. And then change it again or move it back,” she says.
Jeff, from New York, says, “I clean the apartment.”
Joseph, from upstate New York, said he couldn’t even bring himself to tell. “No comment,” he said.
Matthew, from Connecticut, says he once got a tattoo when his wife was out of town. “If it's my wife AND kids, I usually eat super expensive meals I couldn't get away with if they were around. One time I got a tattoo. But mostly my secret life away from my wife entails hunting down and eating food in the state of Connecticut that was on TV like Krispy Kreme donut hamburgers or something like that,” he says.
Marie says she gets way involved with her cat. “I chase my cat Marzipan all around the house, three stories up and under the bed and we play hide and seek. When I finally get him I give a hundred kisses. OK, there it is I'm the crazy cat lady when a man isn't around,” she says.
Dave, from Westchester, says the pants come off. “No pants and five scoop Reeses Pieces sundae with chocolate ice cream and extra peanut butter from Friendly’s…although I may do no pants when she’s there as well,” he says. “This one time, I watched the server layer ice cream, peanut butter and pieces, and then repeat the process. I complimented her on it and she said, ‘Um, that way you get pieces and peanut butter in each bite! It was the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me.”
Comedian Kenny Ryan, from New York, says “I say ‘hello?’ over and over again till someone answers. It's exhausting.”
Sara, from New Jersey, battles her mother-in-law after the fact. “I have conversations in which I say what I ACTUALLY should have said to the person (i.e. my mother-in-law.)”
Mandy, a writer from New York, organizes everything. “From felt pens to loose sticks of gum to fishnet stockings—into small plastic bags and I binge watch a very dated soap opera from the '90s or '00s like The O.C. or Ally McBeal, that I never had time to watch when it actually aired while I do. Also that one face mask that smells like apple cider vinegar that he hates. I wear that.”
Elizabeth from Colorado cleans the house, then eats. “[I] eat butter noodles which I never do when everyone is around. I usually eat super healthy! Also I binge watch old Grey's Anatomy episodes.”
Nicole eats noodles, too. “I eat as much macaroni and cheese as I can cram into my mouth, I watch movies about vampires or teen romance. I can only let my freak flag fly at night since I have kids, so no real alone time during the day. I probably wouldn’t shower for a few days if I was left to my own devices.”
Jamie, from New York, says, “OMG I literally turn into an animal. I leave every light on, even when i'm sleeping. I eat directly out of the cupboard or I simply eat frozen yogurt with sprinkles for dinner. It's pathological. Clearly I need adult supervision.”
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