Singledom: It’s Normal, So Relax
Being a single woman is tiring. Add onto that graduate school, work, bills, and an empty apartment to come home to. It’s not that others will judge our singledom, because our society has moved past the point where a woman should be married at 22 and pop out a baby by 23. It’s more that we judge ourselves…and each other. When men are single, we brush it off as playing the field, but for us, for women, it’s different. We look back on the last time we had a significant relationship (high school) and count the years it’s been since then (5). We analyze what’s happened since (random hookups in college) and if we’ve grown less attractive/sprouted unsightly blemishes/developed personality flaws since then (probably not). We contemplate our friends’ relationships in petty ways. We go out after work with our single friends when we feel slightly needy (even when you girls call it girls’ night, I’m weirdly hoping I’ll find Mr. Right even though I know I won’t—no love story starts with Lil Wayne and strobe lights). We put on tight little black dresses and the most uncomfortable stilettos we could find, all in hopes of getting attention from Mr. Right. And if we’re not hit on that night, if guys don’t notice us, if we don’t find a fairytale romance at the bar between bass beats, if we end up dancing with our girls in a little circle in the middle of the dancefloor (if, if, if, if)—we consider that night a failure. We lose sight of the good time we were having with our friends and grow depressed for a while, in the middle of that pulsing house music, looking at the grinding couples around us and wondering what if and what’s wrong with me?
We judge our friends in relationships and grow irritated with them on particularly sensitive days. We have that friend who always talks about her boyfriend, reminding us daily of how long they’ve been together and when she thinks he’ll propose. Then there’s the girl who doesn’t talk about him very much but only because you don’t see her—she’s attached to him at the hip, and trying to contact her is like fighting through a very private, very awkward bubble. We all know that one long distance relationship that consists of Skype dates, phone sex and weekly chats about whether it’s worth it or not. Of course, there’s also the normal non-irksome relationships all around us but we tend to forget about those in the heat of the moment. Heads up, relationship girls: for us single girls, you can be exhausting. It’s not always a bother, it’s just that we’re aggravated when you put us in these situations every day. We go home afterwards and lay in bed wondering where we went wrong and why you deserve a loving guy more than we do. Occasionally we reenact a dramatic movie scene in which we sit by the windowsill at midnight and look over the glowing city lights, crying teenage tears of anguish to a depressing soundtrack playing in our heads. Sometimes we call our mothers and wail to them, because we know how pathetic we’re being and we’re too proud to wail to our single friends (relationship friends can’t listen to our wailing, because they either get uncomfortable or unknowingly condescending).
Why do we worry so much about being alone when we’re still young? The truth is that we compare our lives to those around us. In some cases our friends are in committed relationships, leaving us to analyze ourselves to death. Instead of embracing our alone time, we shun it, choosing to think that there’s something wrong with us because we don’t live romantic comedy lives containing serendipitous coffee-shop meeting after coffee-shop meeting. For a short time we lose our minds, forgetting that being single is totally normal as we cry into our Ben and Jerry’s just like stereotypical romantic comedy leading women.
I’m not bitter about my single status—in fact, just the opposite. I’ve met many wonderful men who just weren’t right for me, and I’ll probably meet a few more before I find my Mr. Right. I have simply realized that it’s much better to be confident and enjoy my life without dwelling on what I don’t have yet. I don’t need to update my Facebook statuses with desperation because, simply put, I am not desperate. Men are not everything and we shouldn’t depend on them for our happiness or self-esteem. Soon enough we’ll have our own romantic comedy moment…which is really nothing like a romantic comedy because those aren’t real. We have careers and friendships to nurture in the meantime, because personally I’d like to have my life put together before I involve someone else in it. I get tired of reassuring my single friends along with myself that we’re fine, we’re normal, and we’re okay. So once and for all, let’s settle this argument in our heads: we’re fine, normal, and okay. So let’s just relax.
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I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”
To begin, I got totally screwed over in the dental genes department. I was born with a pretty severe overbite and a mouth that was too small.