1. How long you’ve been single. Three months is okay. Three years is okay. I’m currently coming up on five years of singledom — having completely redacted one relationship from the record. (I was feeling desperate.) If it keeps up, I’m just looking forward to my ten year reunion of singledom, where I can get drunk, wear a nametag with a fake name on it (Stinky Weaselteats, at your service), find out everyone I dated has ugly babies or got ugly and throw someone in a pool. I will be king of the singles.
2. The number of bad dates that you’ve had. Being bad at dating doesn’t make you a bad person, and sometimes it’s genuinely not your fault. Recently on OKCupid, my “Match” referred to the website’s dating algorithm as the “OKCupid fag hag” and an old beau told me that bisexuality was a “hippie new age affectation.” My ex-girlfriends will be so pleased. It’s not you. It’s them.
3. Why you don’t want to have kids. I do — and I’ve already got them named — but I know a lot of people that don’t. That doesn’t make them devil-worshippers, and I think I’m the weird one for wanting kids. You’ve got three years of no sleeping and then two years of wild toddler years. Then you will be forced to drive them everywhere for the next decade, until they use their license as an excuse to do a bunch of shit you’d never approve of — like going to a Nickelback concert. You’ll finally have your life back, but those baby-free folks are 18 years ahead, out partying and getting to read books uninterrupted. Tell me: Who has got the right idea here?
4. How often you date. You don’t need to “start putting yourself out there” more. Unless you live in a bunker or the Fortress of Solitude, you have tons of chances to meet people every day, and sometimes, you don’t have to take them. Just being open to the possibility of newness is enough.
5. Whether or not you’ve had sex recently. I haven’t had sex in almost a year, and I’m fine with that. The last time I had sex was with my sort-of ex (long, complicated story), and I haven’t felt like dipping my toes back into those waters recently. Dating is like Jaws. Once you’ve seen what’s in there, you can’t help but proceed with caution. Do I feel ashamed of not being friskier? No. I only have sex with people I’m dating — because I’m terrified of STDs. Besides, I’m picky about my shoes, and they only go on my feet.
6. Having sex a lot. Is it your body? Then you can do with it what you want, as long as “what you want” doesn’t involve things that are crimes in all of the 48 continental states.
7. Not being as far along as you thought you would be. When I was younger, I always pictured 25 as my “settle down” year — when I would be partnered up and shit with like babies and whatever. (Clearly all of this was very well planned out.) Now? I can’t imagine having a kid at 25. What do you 25 year old parents do with them? Do you have some magic parent powers I don’t possess? Either way, kudos. I couldn’t do it. I like my life as is.
8. Being the only single friend. Just because all of your friends are in relationships doesn’t mean you have to be. If we only did everyone around us was doing, we would all (by extension) be listening to dubstep and have the Skrillex haircut.
9. Whether you or not you dress ‘sexy’ enough. Never ask your friends why they think you are single, because you will get stupid answers like this. There’s no reason you are single, and whether you are wearing a two-inch or a six-inch makes zero difference. If you are a lady and reading this, trust me: Women think about this stuff way more than men do. Men find very weird things sexy (things you shouldn’t even bother trying to understand, because it’s useless), so don’t worry about impressing them. Feel sexy for yourself.
10. Staying home on a Friday night. Listen: You’re not in an Evelyn Waugh novel. You don’t have to be out all the time, and your relationship with yourself is just as important as the one you have with everyone else.
11. How your body is shaped. It’s not just our big bodied folks that get it. It’s the skinnies, too. Last year I was followed down the street by two guys who had an open dialogue about my body, referring to my arms as “chicken wings.” We all have our preferences, but that doesn’t give you the right to be a dick about yours. Skinny or curvy, every body is equally real and equally worthy of love.
12. Needing time to move on from your ex. Sometimes it’s not as simple as “Girl, move on!” You need to take time to foster emotional wellness, and blatantly diving before you are ready helps no one. Do you really want to be the person who cries on a date?
13. Stalking your ex’s Facebook. Even if they say they don’t, everyone does it. I’m doing it right now. I’m not, but I could be. It’s just a click away. I have such power.
14. How many times you’ve watched the same sappy movie. I know this is Dirty Dancing or The Notebook for most people, but for me, this will always be Once. That scene where she tells him she loves him but it’s in Czech and he doesn’t understand?? DEAD. Every fucking time.
15. Being on a dating website. It’s 2013. It’s not that weird anymore, and you meet some genuinely interesting people. You also connect with some creepers who message to ask whether you have “short or long toes.” OKCupid is like the rest of the dating world: It’s beautiful and terrible, but mostly just hilarious.
16. Not wanting to see them again. Sometimes it just doesn’t click. That’s why God invented Nutella. I just hope my soulmate isn’t made out of Nutella, because that would be a conflict of interest. “I know we’re supposed to grow old together, but I may have to eat you.” The eternal conundrum.
17. Never wanting to get married. I’ve seen The War of the Roses. Marriage clearly isn’t for everyone. Choose the relationship that’s right for you.
18. How many cats you have. You’re not a cat lady, you just have a lot of love to give. Cats are awesome, unless they are Siamese. I don’t trust those little fuckers. They always look like they’re up to no good.
19. Wanting to look frumpy every once in awhile and not try — at all. Sometimes you just need to let yourself go a little, have a night without making or shaving and give absolutely no fucks. Hello, sweatpants. I want to be inside you.
20. Needing to take time off from dating.Maybe you need to date yourself or hang out with your boyfriends, binge eating and Fringe, for a while. We’re often told that time is ticking and if we don’t act now, all the good ones will be taken by the time we get back. We survived the Mayan apocalypse, The New Normal and Whitney. We can survive anything. The dating world will be here waiting when you’re ready.