By age five, I’d seen already seen Cinderella hundreds of times and was wondering when my Prince Charming, my one true love would come. Twirling around my house in a pink, handmade tutu, singing “Bippity Boppity Boo,” I decided that sixteen sounded reasonable to my naive and impressionable young mind. By sixteen, surely, I would transform into a beautiful young lady and have dashing suitors lining up outside my door to win my heart. Throughout the years, weathering the treacherous social climate of middle and high school, I kept my eye on the prize and waited for sixteen.
Well, sixteen came and went, and there were no handsome suitors in sight. It didn’t help that along the way, I’d become something of a tomboy, sporting sneakers, jeans, and a t-shirt every single day. There was no doubt that I was a nerd, as I was ranked first in my class. And since I was so good at school, I choose to focus on academics, postponing expectations for valentines, periodic gifts of jewelry and flowers, and all that lovey-dovey crap that comes with being in a relationship to college.
College was where there’d be a ton of cute and smart boys to meet, date, fall in love with, and later marry. But…it just never happened. And now, at 24, when my love life is a mix of Never Been Kissed en route to becoming a 40-Year-Old Virgin, facing the prospects of blind setups by my family and friends at every turn despite my protests, and avoiding at all costs the online dating scene, I’ve quit trying to plan out the great love of my life. I have a vague desire to be married by 30, but for the most part, I simply don’t care anymore.
It’s not like I’m asexual or suffering from closeted homosexuality, both of which I’ve been accused of on several occasions. Asexuality would almost be preferable at this point because my heart has been maimed and squashed and beat up so many times that I don’t even think it really exists anymore.
Quite a few times I’ve found myself on the awkward precipice of beginning a relationship, and I’ve had my fair share of embarrassing, heartbreaking, rip-your-soul-into-a-billion-pieces unrequited crushes. Once, I invited a group of friends to see Twilight. No one agreed besides this one kid I’d just met at lunch one day. For the explicit purpose of not going on a date with him, I searched my dorm for chaperones, two of whom agreed. But in spite of that, I somehow found myself on a double date, made agonizingly apparent when Undesirable No. 1 said, “We needed to talk” the next day. Even without personal experience, I’d watched enough romantic comedies to know what that meant. Chalk it up to one of my many non-date dates.
Twice more I’d asked boys on whom I’d entertained crushes to semi-formals in college. With the first guy, I had fun, but it didn’t pan out. He’s now married to someone else, and they’re perfect together. The second guy, one of the only people to ever tell me I was beautiful, broke my heart after I told him how I felt the summer after our graduation. It’s more complicated than that, but the gist of it is that we were really good friends, maybe even the best of friends, but after my confession, he never gave me a straight answer, moved across the country, and altogether stopped talking to me. It pains me every day, even now, when I know retaining any ounce of feeling for him is totally irrational. Perhaps that cognitive dissonance only makes it worse.
Given the circumstances and knowing how much I used to dream about falling in love, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had my share of heartbreak without ever having the benefit of being loved romantically. (Friends and family, you don’t count in this one instance, but I feel you and I thank you for your support. Except when you try to set me up. For real, quit it.)
So what if I’ve never had a boyfriend? I’ve been busy getting stuff done, getting stellar grades, running a newspaper, kicking butt at my job.
But what is it exactly that’s holding me back from diving head first into the singles scene now? Aside from unresolved feelings for a class-act douche bag, I mean. Some of it boils down to unreasonable expectations of love. Books, movies, TV shows have all indoctrinated me to expect courtship, chance encounters, and that dizzying, all-encompassing feeling of love at first sight. Part of it I attribute to pickiness. I have extremely high expectations, and rightly so. Is it so much to ask that an educated, motivated, fit, decently attractive woman meet someone of equal education, motivation, fitness, and attractiveness? I’m a card-carrying member of Mensa, for crying out loud. We geniuses don’t settle for anything less than the top two percent of the population. I’m jesting, mostly.
I might also be a tad crazy.
But maybe the real reason that I’m alone is that I’d really just prefer to be single. With my unrealistic expectations and pickiness, it’s no wonder that I’d really just rather hang out with myself. I’m awesome and usually hilarious. I can keep myself entertained all day. Don’t be gross; I’m talking about my vast list of hobbies, from working out, constantly reading books, and building websites, to playing music, taking online classes, and writing. With such a packed schedule, I can’t imagine finding the time to do stuff and think about another human being. (That’ll change when you’ve met the one, you tell me. I’ll believe it when I see it.)
Truly, being single and carefree is best at this juncture in my life, and I’m no longer ashamed, even if the “bloom of youth” is starting to fade. So for now, I’m putting it on hold. If Cupid’s arrow strikes me unawares as I’ve been told it will, so be it, but until then, this is me coming out single.