A few summers ago, I interned at Cosmopolitan Magazine. Those three months changed my life – I learned something new about myself everyday with each assignment and conversation. But before all of that happened, I had to get the internship first. I prepared for my phone interview with a top editor extensively. It wasn’t all that bad…but she asked me one question that admittedly had me stumped. I was telling her about this very column, about how I spill my weekly word vomit out and how fortunate I am to have readers who understand where I’m coming from.
“So what makes you undateable?” she asked.
Though I finessed my way through to the next question and ultimately to the gig, I know I didn’t give her a proper answer. Because I didn’t know it.
Ever since then, I’ve been wondering about what my former editor asked…about what makes me undateable. I mean, I’ve been writing about how I am for two and a half years…but what does it all mean, exactly? Does undateability boil down to looks? Lack of experience? Or is it simply a matter of dating the wrong guys – and screwing it all up?
I used to think that it was all of the above. I felt undesirable because everyone around me – no, literally everyone – had been flourishing romantically. And I had nothing. I felt invisible. I felt like I was captain of the losing team of the whole damn game. So I did the only thing I knew how to do…I wrote. I wrote it all out every week in search of an answer to a question that bothered me for as long as I could remember – what’s wrong with me?
Writing this column helped me grow confident with dating – and with myself – each week. I wasn’t just “telling all my business” like some of my friends thought, but I had a reason to try new things and talk to new people. I was motivated to figure out why I couldn’t crack the code that all of my friends and family had already figured out. Though CollegeCandy is obviously a public site, I took each post on as a personal challenge. This little column that I pitched after a brainstorming session at Starbucks became a vehicle for my maturation, in life and in love.
But back to the original question. What makes me undateable? The answer is that I’m not. I am not undateable. I am not undesireable. And even though I still don’t fully believe it sometimes, I know that I’ll find what I’m looking for one day. I can honestly admit that I’m guilty of comparing myself to other people – oh, I’m not thin enough or I’m not pretty enough or I’m not smart enough to be taken seriously by men. But one thing that’s proven to be true over the past few years is that self-assurance takes you far. Not even just in dating…but in life. If I don’t believe that I’m enough, then why would a guy pick up that slack?
I’m not undateable because I have, in fact, dated. They weren’t necessarily the best guys – in fact, most of them were downwright assholes – but every man that I’ve dealt with has taught me a lesson. Or 12. And you know, it happens. Love – or even general interest – isn’t a Disney movie or a John Legend ballad. It’s not going to be sunshine, flowers, rockets and waterfalls all of the time…especially in the beginning. But that’s life. You have to allow yourself to get pricked by the thorns before finding that perfectly-Instagrammable red rose.
Undateable. It’s a word that’s stigmatized, no doubt. It’s a term tossed towards the folks who feel overlooked, unwanted, unsuccessful, unloved. I’ll have my moments, like most of us will – but this column helped me realize that that’s not what I am. Most importantly, it helped me see that love is something I won’t give up on, ever, even when my crush won’t text back or if my friends make fun of my optimism. It’s okay to want to be wanted. We’re all made from love…and it’s perfectly natural to have that desire. I can admit that I have it. Yes, damn it, I want love. I want to be loved. I’ve seen love, heard about it, felt it around me. I know it’s something that I want for myself. I don’t mind searching until I find the real thing. I don’t mind being alone while doing so.
And I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading, commenting and ultimately helping me realize that I’m not alone in being alone.
When she’s not watching for Blue Ivy sightings or doing some serious Facebook creeping, Khalea, a recent Howard University graduate, moonlights as an editorial assistant in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @letsbeKHAlear, or feel free to Twatch. Whatever works for you.