“10 Things People Who Don’t Really Have Any Exes Understand”
I’ve been sitting on this headline for three weeks now. It’s relatable. It hasn’t really been done before. It has the potential to be really funny.
But it’s a lie.
It’s my way of reaching out to the “Eternally Single” audience without actually admitting how eternally single I am. Later, I can write fun pieces about casual relationships or dating, and no one will think anything of it.
But the thing is, it’s not that I don’t really have any exes; I just don’t have any. There aren’t any shades of grey to the matter. I’ve never been on a date, and the number of people I’ve flirted with is very safely in the low single digits.
I haven’t gone on a date with anyone partially because no one’s ever asked, and partially because the idea of dating someone with a “normal” dating history is terrifying when I’m a 22-year-old with as many romantic experiences as my 10-year-old niece. I feel like I need to walk into any Tinder match with a giant asterisk: *BEWARE. THIS ONE HAS NO IDEA WHAT SHE’S DOING. APPROACH WITH CAUTION.*
So each time I sat down to write my “fun, lighthearted” article, it always started out the same, with me extolling the virtues of being blissfully single:
1. You get to occupy every corner of the bed!
2. The only people that will break your heart are George RR Martin, Shonda Rhimes, and a particularly good Bon Iver track.
3. You never have to worry about drunk-texting an ex! LOLOL life’s great.
But soon enough, I start spiraling down into the rabbit-hole of singleness. The article doesn’t feel honest unless it includes the not-so-great things about residing in Singletown, Population: 1.
4. Friends who’ve dated or been in relationships will never TRULY understand what it feels like to be a romantic leper.
5. No one takes your relationship advice seriously.
6. You’ll lie awake at night wondering what’s so wrong with you that romance in any form seems to disapparate as soon as you enter the room.
It’s right around this point that I always abandon the article, because it was forcing me to analyze a part of myself that I avoid at all costs.
I like to read books and watch Doctor Who and pretty much ignore any personal soliloquies that my brain runs on repeat like a Law and Order: SVU episode starring a now-famous actor.
Nothing good comes from wondering why I’m single and always have been, but that seems to be the only thing anyone wonders when they hear that the closest I ever got to a relationship was in sixth grade when a fellow 11-year-old LIKE-liked me for a month.
What? But you’re such a nice girl! Any guy would be lucky to date you. Someone will come. Don’t worry, you’re just a late bloomer. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Fuck late bloomers. I’m not a “late bloomer” because it implies that there’s something wrong. That I fucked up and didn’t fall into the same schedule as everyone else, and I’m the one running behind. That I haven’t yet “bloomed,” and only once other people start noticing how great I am will I finally “blossom” into the person I am supposed to be.
So here’s my article:
3 Things People Who’ve Never Been In A Relationship Need To Know
1. There’s nothing inherently wrong with you.
2. Your lack of a dating history doesn’t define you.
3. Just because everyone else is doing things one way, doesn’t mean you need to follow suit. Life isn’t a straight line, and no one’s path is going to look the same. Blaze your own trail.
This article isn’t meant to be some feminist anthem or “Woe is Me” prose. It’s just me finally being honest:
I’m single. I’m happy sometimes and I’m lonely other times. I don’t think that makes me any different from anyone else.