“Single forever” is a hashtag. I’m not sure if this has been the case for a long period of time, or if this is a new trend, but I saw it for the first time this week and my mind was truly blown. #singleforever.

The mind-blowing nature of this particular hashtag doesn’t lie in it’s sheer genius, and the fact that I began immediately applying it to my own life and social media status, but in the joy with which it was used.

In the context in which I first saw this little gem, it was not used by some sad, tragic character who was bemoaning their lone Friday date night with a bottle of wine and the company of their regularly photographed cat (something we are all guilty of). No, the context of “single forever,” when we first met, was in comedy and joy.

I got blown off on Friday night for what might be the first time in forever.  A second date of sorts, for which he had tickets to some show that we were supposed to attend.  A show which, for the record, I had absolutely no interest in attending, but was willing to endure for the possible story.

He’s a couple years younger, still in college, lives with his mom, and the columnist in me thought this would be a perfect opportunity to take a foray into how college students are spending their weekends in fair Brooklyn.

The men I usually date are older, employed, and not living with their parents, which tends to make for lackluster stories of tedious, samey dates that don’t supply with much in the way of anecdotal material. This backward-cap wearing college student with an annoyingly endearing Cheshire cat smile seemed PERFECT, and a predictably heinous night at a venue that I loathe where similarly underdeveloped humans would be dancing for hours to the mindless drone of an equally loathsome DJ would have made for a suitably hilarious story.

Alas, my seniority (by a mere two years) must have been bumped for the company of some younger, more lithe creature who could get involved and commit to the phenomenon that is house music with genuine enthusiasm. Perhaps it was more glaringly obvious that I would rather spend the night alone photographing my cat (not even my cat, my roommate’s cat).

I got a text at an inappropriately late point in the evening -- already dressed, made up, on my first warm-up drink -- to say that he had been struck down by some illness pervading his class/entire friend group.  If it hadn’t been for the fact that several of my friends and colleagues were similarly consigned to bathroom proximity, I might not have been so foolishly quick to believe him.

Either way, part of me was relieved, and I kicked off my ridiculous, poorly chosen high heels and had the Friday night with friends that I had been dreaming of.

He insisted that he did want to see me again, that he NEVER does things like this, felt awful and so on and so forth.  So I checked back in a few days later to organize the rain check, per se, and to assume a feigned Florence Nightingale level of concern for the fallen soldier. After dropping into conversation that he’d managed to magically muster enough energy to go out the following night, my suspicions peaked.

In two clicks I had found the necessary social media platform with which to trip him up on his own story. There he was, at the show I was supposed to attend with him, checked in, tagged, and evidently having the time of his life. And there, tucked into a corner, next to some video footage of said enjoyment lay the hashtag “single forever.”

After a few torturous messages, leading him into the rabbit hole in which he would eventually contradict himself and reveal his own error, he finally realized I was playing him and gave in with a simple “I messed up.”

But I wonder if he really did. In fact, besides the obvious faux pas of claiming he was sick, I don’t think this counts as messing up at all.

In this vapid world of dating, we owe each other nothing -- not even an honest explanation for our actions. Would I have been more likely to reschedule with him if he had said, “Hey, I actually want to go to this concert with my friends and not some girl I’ve known for five minutes,” or if he had feigned illness and then got caught out in an extremely entertaining series of blunders? Is the innocence of hoping to get away with it, and of (seemingly) genuinely wanting to reschedule more adorable than the brutalism of honesty?

Or was it that hashtag that completely changed the game?

In seeing it there, in all it’s glory, I felt that I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments attached. Dating is, for the most part, about being single -- maybe not forever, but at least for now. It’s about testing the waters, playing the field, changing plans last-minute and occasional ghosting because that’s how fast the pace of life is.

The reality is that we don’t owe each other anything beyond basic human decency, and even that can feel like a lot to ask for in the current climate. Just yesterday, I received a message from an old ex back in Ireland to inform me that he has a new girlfriend, so nothing can happen between us over the holidays. The assumption that I would care made me want to suffocate him.

I’m flying 3,000 miles to see my beloved family and friends who I miss desperately -- what on earth could make this human feel like his relationship status would bear any impact on my life? But instead I replied with nothing more than “lol” and in the back of my mind, in giant shining neon disco lights was the glorious hashtag: SINGLEFOREVER. Long it may it last.

The mind-blowing nature of this particular hashtag doesn’t lie in it’s sheer genius, and the fact that I began immediately applying it to my own life and social media status, but in the joy with which it was used.iStock