Dear People Who Judge My Single, Post-College Lifestyle -

I am 27 years old, and on occasion I still drink until I throw up. In the case I do not throw up, I usually eat twice the calories I normally do the following day. Sometimes I even get drunk during the week. This past autumn I fell down the stairs at a college football game and kissed someone’s boss in front of clients while bleeding from the knees.

I realize these actions may appear destructive to you. However, I believe daily Facebook updates from former high school classmates featuring their children dressed up in a variety of holiday outfits to be just as disturbing. So too are those updates from alums that haven’t yet conceived America’s next happiest baby, and instead post five sentences about how sleepy their dogs are. I’m supposed to care that their dogs are tired?

Why can I no longer have conversations with people in relationships that don’t involve being interrupted by an inanimate object, like a pair of their boyfriend’s underwear or a barking mammal? Why is it a crime that I don’t want a house of Value City Furniture 35 minutes away from a metropolitan area with access only to strip malls? Not everyone enjoys driving in four lanes of traffic on their way to Red Lobster. Why is it that for years we tried to drink close to the city, but now we want to venture off to “El Rancho” for cheap tequila and barstools we don’t have to fight for?

Why does everyone think singles are chock full of single-person stories? Us singles also have the ability to go home alone and, on occasion, make rational decisions. We also have the ability to choose a sexual partner at random and at will. This does not necessarily make us sluttier. Is coupledom paired with selective memory? Do couples suddenly forget about the bad sexual choices they made on a belly full of cheese fries or illegal drugs? When we go out together, am I no longer allowed to go home with some random guy? Does you giving up your sexual choices mean that I need to abandon my own?

Yet still more questions for you, judgers: Does Bed, Bath and Beyond really require a 16-month pre-registration? Do people actually like shiny vests under rented jackets? Why do committed friends of committed friends not know how to talk to me since there isn’t a relationship to ask about? Are chocolate fountains real? Why do women in long-term relationships stop wearing high heels and start dressing like my fourth grade music teacher? Why do I have to make plans with you four weeks in advance? Why are you so tired all the time?

Listen, I take care of myself. I am in better shape than when I was bonging kegs in college and eating Penn Station for lunch. Sometimes I even cook. My refrigerator usually has more than hot sauce, celery and a NuvaRing in it. With that said, there is no shame in standing naked in your kitchen dipping french bread into mug full of olive oil.

I have a full-time grown-up job. I have coworkers and friends at work. I make money. I pay my bills. Some weeks my bar tab is more than my grocery tab, but I am not saving for a fancy new dresser or a light switch cover. This does not make me irresponsible; it makes me 27 and single and happy.

— Cleo