As barflies scheme to snare Mr Right - or Mr Right Now - serial monogamist Wendy Nissen ponders her own fate.

In recent weeks I've become increasingly panicked about the prospect of being single. I walk past Ponsonby Rd bars on a Friday night and shudder at the thought of having to stand around consuming wine after wine for hours on end in the hope that something resembling a man might take a shine to me.

I see women at the few parties I go to scanning the room for available men, or even not available men who might be tiring of their life partners. Red lasers shoot from their eyes and hover over each man, analysing their potential before moving on to the next unsuspecting target.

I have single friends who tell me that the available male population out there is just dire. They're either young and stupid, or our age and so vile there's a reason they're single.

No longer is there the remotest prospect of a Mr Right turning up, you're more likely to find a Mr Will Do or a Mr See How It Goes.


"You're so lucky to be married," they say.

Last time I looked, marriage had nothing to do with luck. Even the most contented and well-matched couples still have to work hard to keep some basic forms of communication, and learn the meaning of patience, forgiveness and understanding.

I would have been single long ago if I hadn't learned that when things get a bit tough you dig in and do the work rather than strop off to singledom.

My fear of being single is completely at odds with my feminist leanings, which tell me that women don't need men because, unlike other generations of women, we are quite capable of looking after our own needs. This is all true, but somewhere deep down I think the human race is hardwired to have companionship and we are much better off with it rather than without.

And then I found out that there are almost 49,000 more women than men aged 25 to 49 in this country and I started hyperventilating.

"I don't want to sound desperate or anything, but it would be really awkward for me if you died," I murmured to my husband that night while we were celebrating day 4843 of our marriage by sitting on the couch and watching TV.

"Sorry?" he said, dragging his eyes away from the screen.

"You know if you fell over dead one day and suddenly I had to be single. It would be a disaster, especially for me, at my age."


"Right. So your main concern about the fact that I might die is that you would find it hard to find my replacement. You're moving on rather quickly, aren't you? Surely your grief would be so great that you would simply put yourself off the market for at least a decade."

"Well, of course," I replied hastily. "Maybe not a decade."

I do have form. The longest time I have been single since I started having boyfriends in my late teens is about four weeks. I'm a serial monogamist with serious issues around being in my own company for too long. I should really deal with those issues but, for me, it's like going to the dentist. Best wait until you are in a great deal of pain, or your husband dies.

"You'll be all right," my husband said. "Just don't be too picky, like the Catholics are advising single women in Australia."

"So you're suggesting I just settle for any old guy who happens along?" I said.

"Well, you might not have any choice," he said, turning his gaze back to the TV and rewinding the two minutes of TV he had missed. "Especially at your age," he smirked.


I glared at him for a moment.

"What would you do if you were suddenly single?" I asked him cautiously.

"Oh I'd never have another relationship," he said. "They're far too hard."