Twenty-five seems awfully young to have an existential crisis, doesn’t it? Imagine being so painfully aware of everything that’s wrong with the world-with your life-that you’ve resorted to tossing back a cocktail of illegally obtained muscle relaxers and sleep aids just to forget about your problems for eight short hours. Imagine clinging to that sleep with the pathetic desperation of a young woman sick of replaying every wrong decision and wrong turn over and over again, every failed relationship and attempt to find true love, every awful job that kept you coming back day in and day out because it kept the lights on.
Twenty-five doesn’t seem so young after all.
Any young woman in the city of Boston can tell you how hard it is to date, and any single young woman with a smartphone can tell you how over they are of dating apps (let’s be honest, hook-up apps) like Tinder and Bumble, Clover and Zoosk, and how no one is ready to start shelling out for the websites like Match.com and Eharmony.com. The idea that living in a city chock full of single men and women means there’s someone out there for all of us has proven to be a myth. Yes, Boston is full of single young adults and therein lies the problem. We’re all young, not ready to be tied down and the unicorn in this myth is that everyone will find someone else at closing time because we don’t have to go home but we can’t stay here. You get it, I get it, everyone on my Twitter feed gets it; we’re all sick of being alone.
At least, that’s what I’m telling myself after being ghosted by yet another Tinder Prince. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, to ghost means to disappear, and in my case, it happens all too often. I’d like to think I’m not the only one here who’s tired of giving out her number to what appears to be a promising young fellow, only to sit around and wait for a response that’s never going to come. After lengthy and thoughtful discourse with other single gals like me, it’s become clear that the type of men who frequent sites like Tinder and Bumble aren’t looking to meet their soulmates (shocking, I know). So, is it me? Am I the factor in all these failed attempts to find Prince Charming, the controlled variable affecting a negative outcome? Am I asking for too much, are my standards too high? It’s the same recurring cycle of doubt; fueled in part by my own personal need to prove that I’m whole enough to share myself with another person, and in part fueled by an intense desire to show anyone who ever told me I wasn’t enough or that I’m too much that I am neither. One thing’s for sure, I’m not the only one stumbling home in heels on a Friday night after yet another terrible date with a self-proclaimed entrepreneur wearing J-Crew wondering the same thing.
It’s been a year since the demise of my last relationship, and after (exactly) sixteen first dates that never became a second, I’ve decided this: the problem may be us, but what’s more to blame is the environment we live in. Sure, the city is great and it’s filled to the brim with vibrant wonderful people, but it’s also the place we come to achieve success, and all too often we forget that success isn’t measured only by the money we make, the deals we close, or the number of people we can boast we’ve hooked up with. In five years, our success will be measured by the mark we leave on this city and the people we encounter, whether those people are with us continuing this journey or following a different path. Sometimes it’s the late nights when we stay for one more beer even though work will suck in the morning or the unity that comes from catching the last train home with strangers. We’ve all been to the worst places this city is home to, whether that’s the crowded bathroom at the back of a bar or a made-up place in our head that exists only when it’s late and I’m riding the subway with my head between my knees trying not to throw up that last shot of Fireball and wishing I hadn’t texted my ex.
Maybe date number seventeen will be worth brushing my hair. Maybe I’ll decide to skip it because I don’t want to put pants on. I guess what I’m saying is that there’s an importance to trying- and failing at love. Don’t waste your time kissing all the frogs in Boston looking for Prince Charming, but don’t be afraid of every amphibian puckering up. I’ve come to see that the fun is in the journey, and you should too. So, ladies and gentlemen, get off Tinder if you’re looking for love. Don’t start that free trial of Eharmony if you’re looking for love. Commit to walking outside and experiencing what this place has to offer you whether that’s love or a taco truck (though I’ve come to believe they’re one in the same) and when the time is right, Mr. or Mrs. Right will find you reaching for the Sriracha at Whole Foods (even though there are cheaper places to buy it) or tapping your foot impatiently in line at Starbucks. It will happen. After all, in a city of millions how could it not?