Most days, I don’t mind being single. It’s pretty great actually. There’s a wonderful freedom that comes from being completely and utterly unattached. However, some days, I do mind. It gets lonely. And today is one of those days, so I’m going to talk about it.
*Here’s a cue for those who are going to say that I need to stop ‘complaining’ and do something if singlehood bothers me so much – go ahead and make your comment and move on with your day.
Finding a partner and building a life is such a staple expectation that everyone has about growing old, and I think that’s why we can feel so empty when we don’t have that. We’re conditioned to believe that everything else in life is secondary. Building a career, having hobbies, finding fulfillment. All of it comes after getting married and having kids. And maybe that’s how it should be. I don’t know. What I do know is that that puts a hell of a lot of pressure on dating. And that’s terrifying for people like me who just cannot, for whatever reason, get a handle on this whole dating thing.
A summary of my romantic history:
10-years-old: A boy LIKE-liked me for two months. He was popular (on the basketball team *swoon*). For about a week, classmates in my reading class hotly debated whether or not he was going to hold my hand in between social studies and band. (Spoiler alert: he didn’t.)
21-years-old: A very drunk man invited me to a birthday party he was having the following day. He called me beautiful. That was both the first and last time that ever happened to me.
Are we all caught up? Fantastic.
The way I see it, there are two possible reasons as to why I’m single and always have been.
I’m a hideous troll monster and the very sight of me physically repulses men.
My personality is capital T, capital W The Worst and men cannot stand to be in my presence for longer than 5 minutes before they want to gouge their eardrums out with a dull spork.
Of the two options, I would much prefer that I’m single because I’m a hideous troll monster. I can change that. I can go jogging (*weeps into the void at the thought*), forgo brownies and ravioli (*screams in vain as all sound is carried away by the wind*), and actually attempt to master the art of make-up (*shrugs, yeah that’s do-able*).
But why? Let’s say that I get in shape and wear make-up, and I’m swarmed by all those mythical male beings that I’ve heard might actually exist. Am I to live in fear that the moment I gain a few pounds or lay off the make-up routine that I’ll suddenly become unlovable again?
I never like to explore the second option. That it’s just me. People don’t like me.
There’s a unique kind of blow that your confidence takes when you’ve been virtually invisible to the opposite sex for your entire life. When the bouncer at the bar grins and tells your friend that her ID photo doesn’t do her justice and then barely gives you a first glance as he waves you through a moment later. When guys come to you for advice on how to ask out your friend. When the only people that ask for your phone number are CVS cashiers trying to apply your membership discount. (On the bright side, I’m fairly certain that I could commit any crime and get away with it.)
As each year passes and nothing changes, you get more and more used to it. You joke about getting cats and saving tons of money on Valentines and anniversary presents, while simultaneously grieving. Grieving because you didn’t get that young love. There weren’t any sleepless nights spent texting that person that gave you butterflies with each letter sent. You didn’t get to sneak out of your parents’ house and meet them in “your spot.” You didn’t get to hold someone’s hand for the first time and be the first person to hold their hand, and feel excitement and terror bubble up in your stomach from being in such uncharted territory.
You didn’t get any of that and now you’re at an age where hooking up is commonplace and you’re still hoping that maybe someone wants to hold your hand sometime.
On the best days, it’s a nagging worry in the back of your mind, like that squash in your fridge that you keep forgetting to cook. On the worst days, it’s overwhelming.
You get to the point where all those milestones that other people look fondly back upon are burdens for you. You have to either bury the idea that your first kiss will be “special” and just “get it over with” so you’re a little less different than all your friends, or you can keep holding out hope that someday someone will come around and they’ll be okay with taking everything as fast or as slow as you need.
And maybe I’m just stubborn. Maybe I’m making everything much more complicated than it needs to be. That’s very possible. I’ve had ample time to over think absolutely everything.
I don’t want some fairy tale, but I want someone to like me for who I am. I’m not going to change myself to fit some mold that feels inauthentic and foreign and leaves a shell of a person that even I cannot recognize in the mirror. This is who I am. Hideous troll monster warts and all. If that means I’ll be on my own until my cats and I revert to star dust, then so be it. I am who I am, and most days that’s enough.