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Boyfriendless in a Coupled World


Whenever I happen to look up from the piles and stacks of work on my desk, flip through (mostly) bad TV, or go out with friends to a bar where I usually can’t afford more than an ice cold Pabst, the same realization dawns on me time and time again. Everyone is pairing off! …or at least, trying to.

Today’s gimmie gimmie NOW society doesn’t have much patience when it comes to finding a significant other. Casual hook-ups are becoming more and more acceptable, and internet dating is allowing us to meet tons of people in insanely quick succession. With all the opportunities swarming around us, almost every movie or television show we watch featuring a love story, and bestsellers like He’s Just Not That Into You and 365 Proven Ways to Find Love in Less Than a Year giving any and all advice you could ever desire in the area of dating (though my girl Abigail rightly points out such “advice” isn’t always right…or even close to it), it’s hard to imagine a life that doesn’t include a partner.

And while I don’t want to go Dr. Phil on everyone (especially because I hate that man with the power of one hundred suns. What an egotistical geek), I’m willing to conjecture that one of the reasons we’re all so dating-focused is because we’re all so dating focused. Society has made those of us who aren’t in a relationship, and especially those of us who haven’t been in a relationship for a while, feel like a leper on a nudist beach; ostracized and weird and completely undesirable.

Because no one wants to feel like a leper, a lot of people turn to casual dating. Going out a few times with someone you’re just eh or okay about is better than being alone on Friday night, right? Chilling out with someone you have no intention of bringing home to the parents is a step above chilling out with bunny slippers and Detective Benson and Stabler, right?

For some people, sure. I have lots of friends who do the casual dating thing very well. They enjoy it. And I’ve done it. Sure I have. Even my mom recommended I get out there and “just date!”

But here’s my problem—I don’t like it. It doesn’t make sense to me. In my opinion, going out with someone I don’t really care about is wasting everyone’s time, and God forbid some dude who didn’t care that much decided to date me just because his mother told him he needed to get out more. I’m one of those girls who plays for keeps, or doesn’t play at all.

Because of this desired game plan, and a schedule that often keeps me on the run to the point where I see weekends as opportunities to sleep and eat something that isn’t a meal replacement bar, I have found myself without a relationship for some time. And while I’m pretty good at loving myself, I gotta say, sometimes even I have moments where I’m checking to see if my skin is falling off. (Get it? The leprosy analogy again.)

I’ve gone out with people and nothing has clicked. I’ve fallen in hardcore luv with dudes who didn’t really know I existed, had to say no to guys who felt something when I didn’t, and gone to bars where not one person has been interesting. What does that say about me?

At my lowest, in those half pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream by myself moments, I think it means I’m weird and not hot and destined to be alone forever. During my more lucid moments, I think it means I have standards, know what I want in a man, and am normal.

Just because Carrie Bradshaw dated a new man every night (She also lived in what looked like a 4 million dollar Manhattan apartment on a writer’s salary) doesn’t mean that you have to. Just because some of your friends date around a lot doesn’t mean you’re strange for opting to study or stay home.

No matter what our culture tries to throw at you, girlies, stick to your own standards and beliefs. And always remember that Society is just a smoke screen anyway, an elaborate Pay-No-Attention-To-The-Man-Behind-The-Curtain type of act. If you pulled away those curtains, looked at who was behind those movies and those shows and those books and those magazines, you know what you’d find?

Single, unattached people who feel just as weird about it as you.

…And hey, if you’re still feeling strange? You can always call Dr. EgoAlot. I’m sure he has a book or five that he’d like to sell you.