What could Life on a Unicycle possibly mean, you might ask?
No, I’m not a circus clown (although that’s probably a recession-proof industry, hmm…)
The Unicycle stems from a Leinenkugel-laden gossip fest between some girlfriends and I, wherein I recounted the horror of an upcoming engagement where I would be the sole accompaniment to a sickly sweet “we’re so cute and attached at the hip” couple. In short: a gare-ohn-TEED third wheel. Amid the horrified groans and chuckles aimed squarely at my predicament, it struck me how much I hated the expression “the third wheel.”
As a perpetually single but extremely gregarious gal, being around paired-off people is unavoidable, unless I want to sit on my couch and watch Chelsea Handler by myself on Friday nights. While everyone else shuffles around Noah’s Ark style (two by two, making a beeline for the exit door after 30 minutes so they can leave the party/bar to go home and do gross couple things like wearing matching sweatpants and playing Wii together) I am holding hands with MY plus-1 (whatever was on tap) and chatting up everyone I don’t know, making a new friend in the process (or drinking buddy, same diff.) or at the very least, wheedling another plus-1 out of some poor sap at the bar. In short, I have a pretty good time, AND I’m always there with a kind word or an eye-roll when one of my couple-y friends gets in a fight with her bf, and needs someone to chat (vent) with.
So why then, is being the “third wheel” synonymous with only things that I resent?
Extraneous. Unnecessary. Present, but not important. A useless appendage. Along for the ride.
A unicycle. Not a third wheel, thoughtlessly attached to a working pair of wheels. I go where I want to, when I want to, and on my own dime and time. Undoubtedly, I get a few stares along the way because, like anyone riding a unicycle, a woman that goes confidently into the world attracts attention.
Don’t confuse my unicycle with a desperate ploy to rationalize my state of singledom (attn: Carrie Bradshaw’s and Bridget Jones’ of the world) or a fist-pumping, bra-burning “we don’t need no stinkin’ man movement (what up Ms. Steinem.)
To ride a unicycle, one needs
Balance, to maintain a smooth ride even when your baggage weighs you down
Confidence, to know where you want to go and how to get there (and to look good doing it)
Patience, because sometimes the ride will take longer than you want or have unexpected curves and hills
and above all,
Humility, because eventually you are going hit a pothole, fall off your high perch, and land flat on your face.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have wonderful friends and family like mine to help scrape you off the pavement and put you back together again.