“Wait, who is that again? I can never keep up with all your guys.”
This obviously made me laugh out loud. Not only am I not cool enough to juggle multiple men at once, but I am also very, very, VERY single.
On further thought, her comment started making more sense. When you’re in a relationship, you have one boyfriend, and he plays the dominant role of “man in my life, whom I love.” When you’re single, you don’t just have one man in your life. You have several.
Off the top of our heads, my coworkers and I were able to come up with 29 men that single women constantly have in their lives. Sure, there’s some overlap here and there (your best friend can also be the one you have a marriage pact with, or your lingering ex might also be the one you idealize etc.), but the fact of the matter remains: No single girl is ever really and truly single.
1. The lingering exYou guys have been broken up for almost five years now, but that doesn’t stop him from popping back into your life at the LEAST opportune moments to make sure you never fully move on or, you know, find happiness ever again.
2. The f*ck buddyNo strings attached. You have no feelings for this guy.
3. The dating app soulmateYou both swipe right, and you really think he might be “the one” — that is, until four lines down, when he kindly asks you to sit on his face.
4. The one who likes all of your Instagram postsSure, you and HawksFan222 haven’t seen or really heard from each other outside of that one night of heavy flirting in Chicago two years ago, but you have grown accustomed to his consistent social media support that somehow still gives you butterflies.
5. The ex you idealizeHe wasn’t that great. And somewhere deep down inside, you know that. But that doesn’t stop you from obsessively dwelling on all of the things he did right, until you build him up to be the best thing that ever happened to you.
6. The bouncer who makes you feel like a trillion bucksEven if you enter the club with what feels like an invisibility cloak, nothing will shake the confidence boost you get when Country greets you with a hug at the door and lets your friends cut the line.
7. The one with the if-we’re-single-by-3o pactNothing like a nice, formal confirmation that you’re each other’s Plan B.
8. The long-distance crush you project your fantasies onOf course it won’t actually work out with you and “Sean from St. Louis,” but WHAT IF you guys lived in the same city? Would that change everything?!
9. The gay husbandWell, he’s not interested in women, so there’s that minor setback. But for all intents and purposes, this man is your significant other.
10. The one who thought you were in a relationship after one dateSorry, Lucas. ONE mediocre date does not merit your jealous fit when you see me with another guy.
11. The semi-consistent hookup that’s been going on for awkwardly too longYou know that guy you’ve been “casually” meeting up with at the end of the night for almost seven months now? Yeah, him.
12. The guy who ghosted you but decides to pop in from time to timeOh, Justin. So SWEET of you to grace me with a “Hey, what’s up?” after three months of absolute silence!
13. The douche who makes you feel like sh*t everytime you go backUnfortunately, this sh*tty feeling does not quite keep you from the whole “going back” part of the process.
14. The friend you know is in love with youYou KNOW it’s wrong to lead him on. But is it so wrong to appreciate the attention every once in a while?!
15. The barista who occasionally gives you free lattesThis obviously means that he loves you…right?!
16. The one who takes you out every once in a whileAs if you’re some old matronly spinster who needs someone’s charity for a night on the town.
17. The personal trainer/spin instructor you can’t afford but continue to spend money on because you low-key love him$400 a month is NOTHING to watch Sergio’s perfectly sculpted body flex as he screams words of encouragement at your weak, frail one.
18. The ex who’s still a fresh woundThis guy may be dead to you, but he still hasn’t quite made it to the grave. And by that, I mean you guys are still f*cking.
19. The one you have off-the-charts texting chemistry withIf you guys actually hung out in real life, it would almost be like you two lovebirds were in a — get this — RELATIONSHIP. But then you remember you don’t, and you’re not. So there’s that.
20. The one you always have on the back burnerYou turn to each other for attention when things aren’t working with the people around you.
21. The first love you find yourself drunk texting every now and thenSure, he has a serious girlfriend now, and sure, it’s been about 10 years since you shared your first kiss together. But that doesn’t stop you from texting him “Hi <3” at three in the morning.
22. The therapist/doctor/dentist you’re inappropriately in love withSuddenly, discussions about flossing become hot and s*xy dirty talk.
23. The unidentified male (?) who texts you from time to time“Hey this is Jeremy from McTeague’s… what’s up?!”
“Who the F are you?”
24. The family friend you’ve had a longtime crush onThe fact that he saw you pick your nose and eat the boogers and then get those boogers stuck to your “clear” braces isn’t a TOTAL deal breaker, is it!?
25. The friend of your ex’s who you’ve always been sort of intoIt makes sense, right? You were into your ex for a reason and, odds are, his friends have a lot in common with him. The only difference is you didn’t break up with his friend. His friend didn’t cheat on you, and you never had to meet his friend’s crazy mother. So, basically, his friend is just left as an idealized version of him.
26. The one you take as your plus-one to every eventHe has proved his ability to not be a total awkward freak around your friends, and he’s even made a case for his chops on the dance floor. When all else fails and you need a date to your sister’s wedding, you know this guy will come, and, better yet, he won’t read too much into the invite.
27. The one who’s your go-to wingmanThis guy is your go-to for the male perspective on EVERYTHING. He also often acts as #30 (your straight male best friend). Not sure what that text from last night’s booty call meant? Shoot it over to your wingman, and he’ll give you the best play.
28. The one you unleash your crazy onIt could be anyone: a bonafide ex, a close friend or even maybe a guy you used to hook up with forever. The bottom line is that this guy has already seen you at your worst.
From time to time, you find yourself drunkenly crying in hysterics to him on the phone for three hours. But it’s kind of ideal, since you literally give ZERO f*cks about what he thinks of you.
29. The out-of-town hookupYou guys don’t text regularly or even really know very much about each other at all, but it is understood that anytime you’re in DC or he’s in New York, you will be porking.
30. The straight (male) best friendYou guys are a different kind of “friends with benefits.” While you turn to other people for the s*xy stuff, you look to each other for the snuggles and the hour-long phone calls.