“So, do you have a boyfriend?”
“Aw, well that’s okay!”
This conversation, repeated endlessly with nosy hairstylists, and well-meaning, over hair-sprayed country club mothers, is the constant battle of the perpetually single. Now, to preface what I’m about to say, you should all know that I don’t hate men. I don’t even dislike them and I’m not in the least bit bitter toward any of my previous boyfriends. I have healthy, albeit rather distant friendships with the majority of my exes and some very close (and very patient, I might add) guy friends. But, to the dismay of my mother, I have been single for the better part of two years…AND I’M FINE.
I know, it’s hard to believe, but I haven’t shriveled up and died and I’m not sad or desperate (yet).The truth is, I simply don’t need a boyfriend. I’m not one of those bra-burning over-sensitive feminist types that proclaims loudly (and often), how she “doesn’t need a penis to complete her,” because that particular breed of whiney bitch makes me want to hit them directly in the face with a shovel. But I do operate under the belief that you don’t need a significant other to have a full life. Our society indoctrinates girls from a young age that they NEED a man. You can’t be a Princess without Prince Charming. You can’t have Barbie’s Dream House without Ken right there beside her. In that obnoxious board game called “Life,” when your tiny plastic car exits the College portion of the board, the first thing it runs into is a Wedding Chapel. I go to a small private university in central Texas, and here we have a long-standing tradition called “Ring by Spring,” which is simply that if you haven’t been proposed to by the Spring semester of your senior year, you have essentially failed in some way. This attitude, perpetuated in every TV show and every Taylor Swift song EVER, is unbelievably damaging to the minds of women everywhere.
I am in no way saying that having a relationship is bad. In fact, both of my sisters and all of my best friends are in long-term, committed, happy relationships. I’m friends with all of their boyfriends, regularly hang out with all of them, and try to be the objective outsider when they need it. I will be the first to admit that I benefit from the insight that I gain into how a healthy relationship functions by watching them.
“But, girl,” you say, “don’t you get jealous or lonely?”
Well, you see, I don’t get jealous for a unique reason. I simply cannot relate. I’ve never been in a long-term relationship. Three months is my current record. This is not to say that I don’t have any dating experience, or have never gotten my heart broken, because it has, and badly. It’s just that no relationship ever stuck. I trace this back to me always liking to hang out with older kids and therefore always falling for guys way out of my age bracket and categorically ignored guys my own age. This changed a little bit when I got to college, but I continue to like older, more mature men, not simply the pastel-drenched, over-indulged manchildren I find myself surrounded by. If I’m going to dedicate my time and energy to someone, I don’t want to feel like strangling them half the time.
As for the lonely part, of course I have my lonely months moments. I spend my bi-weekly phone conversations with my mom justifying my singleness while eating Ben and Jerry’s in my pajamas. Every rom-com ever has the ability to reduce me to a sniveling mess. I suppress the urge to roll my eyes in an exaggerated fashion when I pass couples kissing. I unfollow ANYONE who retweets any account called anything like “Perfect Couples” or “Cute Couple Pics” (this includes immediate family and best friends). Though I chalk that last one up to simple annoyance.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t like being single. In fact, it’s rather freeing to be able to go about my day not worrying about anyone else. If I want to flirt with the cute barista, I can. When I go dancing with my best friends and their boyfriends, I can dance with more than one person and not feel guilty. I can spend whole Saturdays watching Law and Order: SVU without pants or makeup on and NOBODY CARES. In the past two years, I’ve found out more about myself than I ever have, and it is because I wasn’t constantly worried about someone else’s emotions.
So ladies, if you find yourself in a state of perpetual singleness, do yourself a favor and spend less of your time wondering what the hell must be wrong with you, and take some time for yourself. Be a little selfish — it’s okay. Eat as much ice cream as you want. Read a great book not written by Nicholas Sparks (who might as well be Satan, as far as I’m concerned), and really get to know yourself. What do you believe? What is your political stance? What kind of man do you eventually want to date and marry? Become the strong confident woman you always knew you were, because nothing is more awesome than a girl who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to be alone.
Image via The Collective