“How are you single?” asked Random Dude once at a party. I didn’t answer — I was too busy eyeing down the guy of my dreams in the other room with the girlfriend that wasn’t me.
It didn’t dawn on me that I have been single for four years now until a few months ago. I was lying in bed, bingeing the reality show Married at First Sight. For those who don’t know (plebeians), the idea of Married at First Sight is incredibly reasonable. Several male and female volunteers are matched to be married by three supremely photogenic psychologists. They narrow it down to four couples, and these unlikely heroes have no idea who they’re about to marry until they walk down the aisle.
Oh yes, baby. I live for this. I love to judge fuck complete strangers based on the false versions of themselves they present to a national audience. Just me, my wine, and my complete disregard for the real emotions of strangers.
After they are married, we follow these couples for the next few months to find out whether or not they decide to stay married.
Keith was by far the sexiest and therefore obviously the most pleasant to look at. This is important to note.
Whenever they interview each volunteer, they caption with their name, age, and a brief bio of their defining characteristic.
Amber, 27 — The free spirit
Raven, 28 — Just figuring it out
Matt, 31 — Looking for the home game
Iris, 27 — Virgin
I truly relate to Iris. I felt that the first 18 years of my life were defined by the crushing weight of my virginity. I digress.
They follow around the contestants to get an idea of their day to day life. Amber is a school teacher, Matt is a regular dude who loves to ball with the boys, Raven is an operations manager, and the virgin likes to sew shit and contemplate her pure vagina.
My animal spirit (or some shit) was definitely 10 Years Single Deanna. Her being single for the past decade was surprisingly a huge topic of conversation on the show and was her defining characteristic. This deeply resonated with me as I started to wonder, Is it really that alarming to be single for an extended amount of time? Is this truth that I live a topic of conversation? Fodder for gossip? Do people, behind my back, use my relationship status to unconsciously project their insecurities onto me? Has four years single become my defining characteristic?? How am I perceived???
Suddenly, I felt the crushing weight of no one and nothing on my shoulders. Quickly, I made plans with a guy I had soft ghosted in the past. A soft ghost is when you don’t respond to their requests to hang out again but make sure to like their photos and watch their stories on instagram.
He said that he couldn’t wait to see me again, followed by a very decisive heart eye emoji. Suddenly, the weight was lifted off my shoulders. I had found exactly what I was looking for: validation. I proceeded to order some pizza, put on a western (because western movies were meant for the female gaze), and never made it out to see the guy. I’m not single because they don’t like me, I’m single because I don’t like them and most of the time I’d much rather be at home. But don’t misunderstand me, this is by no means a virtue. I walk a fine line between strong independent woman and straight up depression. But it’s always the same, I just could never belong to a club that would have someone like me for a member.
Eventually, after Random Dude (who I did eventually end up making out with later in the night) inquired about the state of my relationship status, I muttered something about the guys I like never liking me back. Perception is a funny thing. I still think about that question and I don’t know if I gave the right answer.
Do I push people away or is the pool of candidates simply underwhelming? Have I unconsciously put up walls that only the right hot guy can take down or am I just picky to a fault? Have westerns movies set me up for failure? Am I looking for a boyfriend or a young Clint Eastwood in cowboy garb?
I don’t know the answer to all of this. I genuinely don’t know if I’m finding a reason to not be with a specific person or if I’ve become this incredibly guarded person who has just gotten really good at reading the red flags and not having the energy to deal with that pain anymore. I don’t like bruises on my knees and scars on my heart. Heartbreak is exhausting, I’ve felt it twice before and I avoid it when I can.
I’m truly in awe of people who actively pursue love and deal with its consequences. I’m just a generally happy lady who collects hearts and excuses. When I predictably become 10 Years Single Valaniece, maybe I’ll reevaluate my approach.