The best thing about living alone is that I can do anything I damn well please. No one to judge my mess (yes, that is a dress on the floor, and yes those are dishes in the sink, and yes they have been there for more than a day, so shut up), no one to judge my eating habits (so what if I eat only avocadoes and popcorn for dinner?), and especially, no one to witness my SSB.
What’s SSB, you ask? If you ever watched “Sex and the City,” you know that SSB stands for “Secret Single Behavior.” It is what women do when no one else is around and they’re in the privacy of their own homes. On “Sex and the City,” SSB ranged from examining pores for an hour to eating an entire bag of oreos. These are rituals in which a woman could never, never participate in front of her partner or anyone else for that matter. And she would never confess it, unless she were to confess it to her closest friends.
I am convinced that no matter how put-together a woman appears to be on the outside, her SSB reveals way more about who she is than any resume or photograph ever could.
While I will not confess all of my SSBs, I will give light to two SSBs in particular, in which I participated just this quiet Friday evening.
The first of my SSBs began when I was in high school. I usually came home to an empty house because my mom still worked. So for at least two hours after school, I could do what I wanted. One of those things was to watch Oprah. I had two favorite kinds of episodes: the victim episodes and the reunion episodes. They were my favorite because I could get easily wrapped up in the guests’ stories. And once I reached a point where I was so wrapped up in their stories, sometimes even brought to tears (’cause you know it happens, ladies) I would mute the TV and pretend to be on Oprah in place of the guest. I would invent the rest of her story, pretend that I was on stage and being interviewed. I would set up the piano bench facing away from the TV screen so I wouldn’t be distracted by commercials, and carry on out loud alone in my living room. And then, if I got myself really worked up, I would run to the bathroom and carry on in front of the mirror so I could see my facial expressions, often repeating phrases over and over for more accuracy.
This early SSB developed into intense mirror-talking. To this day, I practice in advance the things I want to say to people, say the things I wished I’d said, or create new dramas with my reflection. Here in Brazil, I use mirrors to help me with my Portuguese. Maybe that sounds weird, but I want to know what I look like when I’m speaking a new language. So I invent encounters that force me to use a range of emotions, so I can see (literally) how quickly I can think of words and how fluently I can say the phrases.
SSB. Some may call it some kind of self-absorbed sociopathic behavior…but for the time being, let’s just stick with SSB, ok?
And SSB #2, in full force right now: reliving childhood. Yes, folks, I have pushed together my two pink couches, and filled them with pillows and blankets so it appears I am in a couch boat. I am 27 years old, people. And my SS behavior tonight is to indulge in making myself feel like I am small again. And I have got to tell you, it feels fantastic.
I think you know you’ve got an SSB if you would be absolutley mortified if someone caught you in the middle of it. Like right now, if one of my friends walked in and saw me sitting in this pink couch pillow boat, I might turn pink myself. And certainly if anyone saw me talk to myself in the mirror, I would crawl into a hole. But I don’t care if anyone sees my messy apartment or watches me when I eat dinner. That’s the difference between Lifestyle (regardless of how quirky) and SSB.
It’s delicious being able to indulge in my SSB anytime I want, but on the other hand, what if I ever have to live with someone again? Will I feel stifled? suppressed? Will I grow out of my SSB?
Ah, well, enough for tonight. It’s late and I can’t decide if I want to sleep in my boat or my bed. I’ll see what myself says in the mirror and get back to you.