I know where you are right now, Little Miss Single. Because I used to be there, too. You’re sad you don’t have a boyfriend. Your friends are going on double and triple dates, and you’re still sitting by your phone waiting for your last ditch effort at romance to call. But why is a boyfriend so essential? For as progressive and liberal we like to think we are as a society, it seems our love for single people is limited to “Sex and the City.” Sure, it’s cool when fictional characters do it, but let’s call it for what it is; it seems like the single gal in the group is usually pitied or looked down upon.
I’ve had friends tell me things ranging from, “It’s okay…you’ll be happy one day” (because obviously the only way to be happy is to get a man) to “I’m sick of defending your slutty ways” (awww you’re such a sweet friend). Why does casual dating get such a bad rap? It’s not like I go out every Friday night in a hot pink tube dress and ride a mechanical bull until a group of frat boys takes me home for a gang bang. Well, not every Friday, anyways.
I’m freaking here to say it: dating is healthy! No matter what the larger part of society thinks, it is not pathetic and it is not slutty. I am 21, I am in college, I am a progressive and (please don’t read this part, dad) sexual woman. And yeah, sometimes it sucks. I don’t usually have guys to just stay in and watch movies with. I’m often the third or fifth or seventh wheel when I go out with groups of friends. I haven’t gotten close enough to a guy to tell him about my insane fear of getting close to a guy. But you know what? I ain’t going to push it. It’s either going to happen, or it’s not. I refuse to grab an anonymous twenty something male off the street because I’m tired of being lonely. I’ve seen too many of my friends settle for guys just because they wanted a date to a Christmas party, and then wind up with an unfulfilling boyfriend who is obsessed with Nickleback two years later. Yeah, talk about a dud.
I’d also like to point out that beyond it being healthy, dating is really, really freaking fun. Once you get over the obsession of turning every single guy who buys you a drink into the love of your life, you realize the non romantic benefits of the single life. You get to hone your flirting skills. You get to meet new people, and decide what you hate about them. You get hi-larious stories that your coupled friends are definitely jealous of (if they deny this, that just means they are BEYOND jealous). And most importantly, you get to discover an amazing range of things about who you are and what you want out of life (besides free drinks and a steamy make out session, I mean). I’ve always been the type of person with an insane lust for adventure and experience; the single life, for the time being, satiates that better than any relationship ever could!
I don’t care if I have a boyfriend anymore. You see, somewhere between finishing a 6 pack of fat free pudding and spending my last $200 dollars on shoes as a form of therapy, I realized something: I’m not good at relationships. And since my reproductive organs are not about to give way anytime soon, there’s no reason I have to force myself to be. Am I probably doing something completely wrong in my relationships with men? Yeeeeeah. But the best way to fix that is through actually learning about myself, what I want, and who I want. Not forcing myself to enter a conventional relationship because all the cool kids are doing it; that’s no way to really learn how to love. Relationships are hard work! They take all sorts of time, and energy, and minutes on your cell phone plan. And while I’d be willing to go over my monthly texts and then some for Mr. Right, I’m not going to go through that BS for Mr. Not That Into Me, Mr. IQ in The Double Digits, or Mr. Personality of a Rock.
Being the perpetual single friend has actually done quite a bit to shape my personality, my outlook on life, and my own personal growth. Why be so hasty to do away with something that makes me who I am? I don’t see it as a blessing or a curse; it’s simply a state of being. The Buddhists tell you that if you end desire, you will end suffering. I am willing to take this pearl of wisdom when it comes to dating…just not when it comes to lusting after Marc Jacobs’ new fall line.
So break the misconception! Instead of being “sad, mopey” single friend, embrace being the “awesome stories, awesome experiences, awesome outlook” single friend. Call it what you will, but it’s certainly a better survival mechanism.