Relationship status: single.
If I am honest, this is more of a problem for other people than it is for me.
I can’t understand why these men don’t see how wonderful my daughter is.
I’ve been thinking about that sentence ever since my mother casually dropped it into our conversation a few weeks ago. In a way, I’m struck by the fact that television was right – at some point the parents that frowned every time a boy called the house become the people that hand over my phone number to every single, accomplished man in sight. It’s funny, in the most pathetic kind of way.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Mrs Bennet, ‘Pride & Prejudice’, Jane Austen 1813
Mothers have universal concerns that transcend time and space, apparently. Even the fictional ones.
Recently, a friend wrote a frustrated blog post bemoaning the nature of articles that list reasons why people are single, as though it is possible to distill the life experiences of entire populations of individuals into ten, single spaced, tweet-length points. Putting it simply, those lists are meaningless publicity stunts designed to sell magazines. Nobody can be an expert on everyone. I am, however, an expert on my own experience, and so behold -
Top Ten Reasons Why I Am Single:
I was told there was a shortage. That hasn’t been my experience. I meet men. A lot of them are interesting, but not funny. Or funny but not interesting. One of us is usually not interested, which happens to be the problem.
9. My Stereotype of African Men
I. Just. Can’t with the African men. It’s the culture thing, obviously, but there’s just so much more. I have seen too much. I can’t.
8. I Was Raised on Disney & Hollywood
Grand gestures, Prince Charming, glass slippers, Mr Darcy, white horses, “you complete me”, Ross and Rachel, Love Jones, Mr Big. Mostly Love Jones. Reality, beat that.
Independent Women. Bills, Bills, Bills. Single Ladies. Irreplaceable. Say My Name. Run The World (Girls). In my formative years, I owned most of those songs. And played them on repeat. I was so young. Now, I’m a Grown Woman.
Arundel was difficult. Academically elite and socially awkward, my high school experience was a five year emotional and intellectual obstacle course that helped turn me into an intellectual elitist, a careerist, opinionated and occasionally obnoxious person who loves fiercely and big, values kindness and people and is way too naive to be cynical. I am the quintessential Arundel girl. Most men I meet don’t know what to do with that. I’m not sure what I am expecting them to do, either.
5. I Grew Up in Church
In Church, my Arundel fierce met the book of Esther and gave birth to my emotional schizophrenia, otherwise taught as Proverbs 31. Described so eloquently in “Upgrade You” (another Beyonce fiction), the balancing act between feminista and Eve-to-his-Adam has been elusive thus far. And, at least for now, I’m rocking the feminist mantle & counting on God to be pro-me.
4. I Don’t Know How To Be A Girlfriend
The fear of being a “nagging” woman has silenced many an unhappy woman. The idea of being ‘that girl’ – whether it’s the girl that ‘stands between a man and his boys’ or the girl that is too demanding, too ‘female’, not sexy enough, too slutty…. the pitfalls of this girlfriend gig are confusing and infuriating to me. Men have done a fantastic job of telling us everything we shouldn’t be. The problem is, on any given day, I can be one or all of those things and feel (and possibly even be) justified. I have no idea how to be a great girlfriend, especially if a great girlfriend is basically a man with woman parts who loves to cook and iron. I don’t like ironing and I don’t like doing things that I’m not great at.
3. I Lived a Love That Died
2 years ago, I was in the midst of living love with the most wonderful of men. The story of my life, as I saw it at the time, could not be told if he wasn’t a major character. There were plans of marriage and babies and houses and dreams. We had outlined a future and were painting our way to a masterpiece of a life together. It has been 371 days since that relationship ended. I have lived a love that died. I no longer trust myself to know love when I meet him.
2. I May Have An Inflated Sense of Self Worth
I have an idea of how I want to be treated and how I want to feel about the man I’m with. So far it’s been one or the other. I’ve decided that isn’t good enough.
Mostly, I’m single because that is where I want to be. I am savouring the self centred lifestyle that I have created, I am scared to take the leap, I am afraid of being hurt, I am unwilling to change, I can have unrealistic expectations, I am somewhat jaded. Some, or all, or none of those things may be true. But they are all my decisions to make. I own that.