So…you’re single?

Well, yes. I Am. Not that I haven’t had some pretty wonderful men in my life. They just didn’t become husbands…well, my husband. And once you’re pushing 50, you have pretty much heard every question that can be asked in folks attempt to figure out why. Funny, as they are conducting their investigation I’m always left to wonder ‘why’ too…as in “why do you have to figure it out?” It just is, you know? No I haven’t ruled marriage out, in fact, I hope it happens. Hell, I’m only 49. According to statistics, half of the inquisitive are, have been, or will be ‘not married’ by the time they get to be my age. I just skipped the first marriage, that’s all. I really didn’t need the china, crystal and Tupperware. And speaking of Tupperware, I’ve noticed that you can instantly tell if a woman has been married by what I like to call the ‘Tupperware factor’. Never marrieds (NMs) don’t have Tupperware. Chinese food containers work just fine. Lost a lid? Just order in some wonton soup — you get the replacement and a meal, and you don’t have to sit through a sales pitch with crudite and punch.

But about those questions. By the time you reach middle age, NMs (nuns, priests, monks, and hermits excepted), have accumulated a reserve of handy responses to call on when the curious come along. One of my favorites goes something like this. The questioner asks the obvious “So, you married?” “No, I’m not.” “Ever been?” “Nope, not yet.” “Really???” It’s at this point NM knows she’s got an explorer here, who just won’t quit until he’s gotten to the bottom of this. This Ponce de Leon just knows if he keeps on it he’ll find the key to this NM sphinx. (PdL) “I don’t get it…how can that be? You’ve got a lot going from what I can see.” Could be a compliment, NM thinks. Or maybe not… Depends on the next question. And that can go a few ways. PdL could: 1) leave it (rarely happens); 2) call all of single mankind idiots for not discovering what a gem the NM sparkler actually is (nice, happened, once…); or, 3) ask the next question…”Why not?” NM is almost hoping for this one. And depending upon her mood/hormone level/blood alcohol content could: 1) bite off a chunk of Poncie’s head (thus answering that question quite sufficiently); smile like the Mona Lisa keeping her secret; or, my all time favorite (and I really DID say this)…”Well, I haven’t always been this fabulous.” Works every time.

I’ve always tried to be of the mind that that life begins when you want it to, not when some ‘milestone’ happens, like graduation, marriage, childbirth, etc. And so I try to enjoy what’s going on right now as much as I can. Some days are hard, and that’s not to say I don’t have hopes that I’ll have someone to share my life with — I do. But until it happens I have no problem making a fuss over myself and preparing a nice dinner for just me, wine and candles included (and if the Yankees are on too, it’s the perfect date!) Here’s one of my favorite ‘dinners for one’. (And what do you know… it doubles quite nicely for a dinner for two!)

Steak with ginger butter sauce, for 1

  • One 4-6 oz boneless top blade, sirloin or rib-eye steak (about ¾” thick or less)
  • 1/2 TBSP butter
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp soy sauce

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Take a paper towel and dry the steak on both sides, then lightly salt & pepper both sides of the steak (the soy is salty so go easy.) Add the streak and cook until nicely browned, 1 or 2 minutes. Turn, and brown the second side, another minute or two. Remove the skillet from the heat and the steak to a plate.

When the skillet has cooled enough so that no smoke is rising, return it to medium heat. Add butter, and when it melts, add ginger. About 30 seconds later, add soy sauce and stir to blend. Return steak to the skillet, along with any accumulated juices. Turn heat to medium, and cook the steaks a total of 3-4 minutes, turning 3 or 4 times. (If pan juices dry out, add a couple of tablespoons of water). At this point, they will be medium-rare; cook a little longer if you like, and serve, with pan juices spooned over. Calories: 450 for 6oz., 300 for 4oz. steak.

For a nice side dish, steam green beans or snow peas until crisp tender. When the steak is ready, remove it from the pan and let it rest a few minutes on your dinner plate. Lower the heat in the pan, add in the veggies, and toss a few times until they are coated. Put the veggies on the plate, and pour the juices over the steak.

I also like to add a simple salad of cut up tomatoes drizzled with a little good olive oil, balsamic and a pinch of salt and pepper, and a piece of crusty bread to sop up the juices. Pour yourself a glass of something red and grapey, and enjoy!

Article first published as So, you’re single? on Blogcritics.

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