Friday, September 23, 2011

Why they think you're single. And why they are probably wrong.

It's the most annoying question and they just can't help asking you.  
It's the question that has no good answer.  
It's the question that when people stop asking it, makes you feel even worse.  
Why are you single?  ~Liz Tuccillo

If you are like me (single and nearing 30) then by some standards, you are living an "alternative" lifestyle.  And I'm sure you've noticed that your nearest and dearest are not only perplexed by your singledom (You are soooo fun! Why hasn't someone snatched you up?), but they also have an opinion about it (Might you be tooo funny on dates? Hmm?), as well as advice on how to change it (You should talk less and whatever you do, don't tell any funny stories!)  Gotcha.  Thanks.  I'll just plan to sit there and imitate a cabbage.

Maybe it is your mum who just can't lock up her opinions on your dating life...or lack thereof.  Or perhaps it is your sister who thinks she knows exactly why you are such a loser-in-love.  Your grandmother might have a few choice words about "men today"  and "what they are really after..."  Or maybe the Starbucks barrista thinks you look lonely in the morning. Or the pizza delivery man. Your manicurist.  The doorman.  You get the idea.

The point is, you probably know someone who at one point or another, has inserted themselves into a conversation about your romantic shortcomings.  And unfortunately, some are more tactful than others.

Now, if you have been blessed by Cupid himself, and in effect have never needed such tidbits of amorous advice, have no fear. I've collected the top soul-mating "suggestions" that I have heard from friends and family...with my two cents wrapped in, of course.  Some are admittedly helpful and accurate, while others are so nonsensical they might as well be written in parseltongue.

In essence, this post is a de-bunking of the dating ratings that fly around and often torture us. So here we no particular order: Why they think you are single, and why they are probably wrong.

You are too intimidating.

What about us ladies is intimidating?  Take me for example.  I'm 5 foot 5 inches tall.  My nails are pink. I don't bite. I can't kill a spider without experiencing minor heart palpitations. I need help hanging pictures and lifting heavy objects.  I only walk around the city at night armed with the rape whistle my Dad gave me.

Puss n' Boots, aliens, the economy, fascism, the omnipresence of Ryan Seacrest, the near arrival of the Matrix--those are things that should scare you.  But me? Why should I intimidate you?  Because I have a college education?  A job?  A baller wolfpack?  Player, please. It is 2011.  Most of us have jobs and masters degrees and friends.

You are unique and awesome and wonderful and just haven't met someone worthy of you.'re sweet.  Really and truly.  But honestly:  I am no special snowflake.  There are plenty of smart, fun, kind, attractive women out there.  I am merely one of the masses.

You don't give guys a chance.
Tell me, wise people.  How many chances is appropriate?  How many times should we go out with someone when we already know, in our heart of hearts, that there is nothing there?  I have gone on 2, 3, even 6 dates with people that had zero appeal to me.

  • One guy peed 4-6 times on every date; awkwardly, I went out with him 3 times. It remains unclear if he had a small bladder, IBS, a coke habit, a fear of germs, or a fear of me. 
  • Another guy couldn't kiss a woman to save his life.  He raped my face every time he tried.  I put up with it for about 3 months.  And considered buying stock in Oil of Olay.
  • This same dude refused to acknowledge we were dating.  After 3 months, I introduced him at my birthday party as a "friend of the romantic nature."  He reprimanded me, in front of my friends, and suggested that I refer to him instead as my "colleague".  But wait, because here is the kicker: we did not work together.  
  • Another guy was a self declared manorexic.  We went out twice.  I went home hungry...twice...and friggin housed a bag of pop chips and a tub of Sabra hummus. 
How many dates is enough?  How many dates is fair?  How many dates is leading someone on?  How long until I've made my point?

You only like the ones you can't have.
This gem of advice, I actually buy.  Sometimes it does seem that we are only attracted to unavailable men.

And sometimes it seems that when we are interested in a fella, he doesn't want to give us the time of day.

And the fools we choose to ignore?  They. won't. stop. texting.

I have two theories about this:
a) Men might love unavailable, aloof women, almost as much as we girls love too-cool-for-school bad boys.

Consider this:  if you showed up at a man's house and presented him with a stuffed and preserved moose head, he would probably be confused and even repulsed by the gift.  However, if he went out into the woods himself, stealthily and cleverly hunted and shot the creature...he would be thrilled and proud to hang the ugly dead thing up in his man cave.

Lesson:  men like to hunt almost as much as we like to talk about our feelings. It is not an absolute need.  It should not be a driving force in your life. But it is there. And it is okay.

b) It only takes one time for the feeling to be mutual and requited and harmonious and right.  Until then, it is a bloody mess.

You aren't ready for love.
I didn't realize we had to be Siddhartha Gautama or a friggin Jedi in order to unlock the pearly gates of love.  Give me a break before I slice off your hand with my light saber.

You are gay. 
I don't know.  Are you?  I'm not. But sometimes I wish I were. Might add breadth to my wardrobe?  Double my shoe collection? But then I remember that many of the same constraints would still hold true.  And also I like boys.

There are no good men left.
This doesn't insult me.  But if you are a single man, it should insult you.

If you didn't have bad luck, you wouldn't have any luck at all.
This is my mom's take on my love life.  And I'm pretty sure its accurate.

You are too picky.

"Picky" insinuates that we are selective.  Is that a bad thing?

Riddle me this: what is the opposite of being selective?  Settling?  Hmm.  Do you want me to settle?  Did you settle?  I sincerely hope you didn't.

People say life is too short, but I say life is too long.  It is too long to be tied to people who don't make you happy and bring out the best in you.  So just give me some time to find the right one, instead of settling down with the wrong one.

You are trying too hard.  When you least expect it, you'll find love.
Everyone says this.  And I might be on board.  But not because fate is a bitch or the cosmos are effing with us.

Rather, when are we not looking for love around each and every corner, we actually have time to genuinely enjoy life!  We enjoy our family, friends, pets, and hobbies.

We take golf lessons, and learn to sew and master the art of changing a flat tire.  We start businesses and keep journals and ask about our mothers' childhoods.  We judge JWoww's latest plastic surgery and we praise Lady Gaga's latest fashion stunt. We experiment with new meatloaf recipes, and re-read a tattered and worn favorite novel.

And when we're surrounded by all the awesomeness of our lives, we become the happiest, bestest, purest, chillest version of ourselves, and that my friend, not only attracts, but also cultivates relationships and romance and love--in all forms.

And it is in that vein that brings to mind my best piece of advice:  do more of what makes you happy.

So there you go.

Tell me:  what did I miss?  Where am I wrong?  Did any of that ranting actually make sense?  What is your one ultimate piece of love advice?


  1. Um yeah. This needs to be on Huffington Post. Immediately, if not sooner. Dfest, this is *brilliant* you utterly and completely encapsulated what it is like to be a single girl! And your advice is spot on. We absolutely find someone when we are pursuing our own interests and leading rich, fulfilling lives. And I also believe, in that same vein, that when we lose sight of our single self in a couple-we're doomed. You get too comfortable, you don't know who you are anymore, and neither does your partner. Badness ensues. And don't get me started on stagnation and settling...

    I was single forever before my boyfriend and it always seemed to bother everyone...but me! I was too busy enjoying my life, my work, my friends, my books, my sanity and free time to notice. When we meet up we are so going to have a conversation about this over manis and coffee!

    In summary, your advice is awesome, this post is awesome, and YOU are awesome. Love it! I am going to send it to every girl I have ever met. Be back in a few!

  2. You are so wise and so funny and I love you so much!

  3. Hey, I like this a lot! Because it goes the same for men. "Settling down" is, in my opinion a cultural manifestation. I also think that too many people give into their fears, and if you read Irvin Yalom, he talks a lot about death anxiety. People don't want to be alone. But we grow so much from having our freedom to pursue our passions, and as we grow and pursue our life's work, we learn what it is that we want to share with others (friends, family, and ultimately, a partner). It's hard to dismiss the noise of our culture, and it's hard to forget about our friends' weddings, and everyone else's relationships. But I guarantee that more often than not, you'll find that when you talk to those couples, you'll immediately see endless chinks in their armors and see that one may hold back or "stifle" the other. (Now there definitely are exceptions - some people truly find people that they can grow along side with for the entire lifespan, and they compliment each other very well). But it is incredibly rare in my opinion, and the rest of the masses DO settle. And that, is very very sad. Because while they settle into their little comfort zones, others who are single and chose to pursue that vision of a suitable and complimentary partner continue to grow and flourish independently.

  4. love this post and offer this article as further confirmation:
    sometimes it's not you