I’m saving all my love. For me.
On Facebook, I described my blog post “This is Why I’m Single…Because I’m Black?“ as the one in which I “eschew the role of the pathetic single girl…and instead adopt the role of the empowered single girl with few options.” I was then asked to expand on this. I originally had it as an addendum at the end of the original post. This really needs to be in its own space though. I had a lot to say in post script.
In which I was the Pathetic Single Girl
You see, single women are usually characterized as “Loser Protagonists“- in all but the most exceptional of story lines, single women usually have their character development anchored on the acquisition of a romantic partner. Said target is usually a heterosexual, able-bodied, wealthy, white male. Single females anchored not on romance but on a career or *gasp* personal development, are usually written (off) as spinsters, who leave their jobs and go home to a cat and some cold pizza. You can be single as many characters/real people are, but you’re not allowed to enjoy it and single-ness is always depicted as problematic.
I bought into the role of Pathetic Single Girl for a very long time. PSG is an easy role to play as a woman, because as a woman, a lot of your perceived worth hinges on whether or not anyone (usually a man) sees you as worthy of wanting. PSG is not interesting enough to date, so she is not interesting period, and her character is often also repressed or depressed or just plain boring. Women are taught that they have little to no agency in being single, they are single because they are unwanted. The story normally says that no one wants her because she is not attractive enough, usually for whatever pursuit is distracting her from the man-hunt. Sometimes she gets to be quirky, and with enough quirks she can become a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but MPDG usually isn’t single. Your relationship status at any given moment is a referendum on your entire personhood.
I’m really over this. I cannot tell you the number of times I have sat scrolling through my Facebook friends list, wondering why none of those friendships ever turned into romance. I am serious. I would literally spend hours combing through my life, wondering where my storybook romance was, wondering why I never got a Lizzie/Gordo, best-friends-turn-into-lovers dénouement before my happy ending. My previous conclusion was that I was literally too fat and boring and had too few accomplishments for anyone I knew to ever find attractive.
In Which I Become Empowered But Have Few Options
I decided that I was spending too much time sitting around and waiting for life to happen to me. What I needed to do was pick the person I was attracted to, and then proactively become the kind of person they’d want to date. Foolproof! Until I went to go find my crush…
I spent even more hours trying to figure out who I was attracted to than I ever did wondering why no one liked me. It dawned on me, for the first time, that perhaps my relationship status was not due to flaws in my personality, but to the very practical reason of not wanting to date anyone I knew. Imagine! Perhaps I wasn’t good enough for anyone, but it seemed as though no one was good enough for me either. Or, they were good enough for me but not available, which is wonderful because I want the people I care about to have the kinds of relationships they find fulfilling. Or, they were in fact good enough for me, but I just didn’t particularly feel like dating them. For no good reason!
I assumed my vagina was broken, since it clearly couldn’t muster up the motivation to do anything about this “problem”. This was the time in my life when I thought I was asexual. (Long story short, I’m not.)
A friend once pointed out that I don’t give off any romantic vibes. This is true. I very rarely feel romantic when I’m talking to someone interesting. I am not thinking of dating them, I am thinking of inviting them out for coffee so I can pick their brain and maybe work on a project with them. I am someone who (at least now, I didn’t always!) really, really, really enjoys the way her life looks. I refuse to give up what I now have for just anyone. Or, as it seems from the evidence of this year’s adventures, anyone at all.
Can I be honest here? I am fickle and enjoy the excitement of being able to bounce from friend to friend and then go home once I’m tired. By being organised with my time, I have each one of my needs for intimacy met in one way or another. I love Star Trek, and have many friends I can share that with. But not all of my friend who love Star Trek also like watching Community. And I have friends who like Star Trek and Community but not comic books, or philosophy, or spending lots of time making elaborate meals on weeknights. And then of course, there are the friends with whom I share a strong physical attraction, and not much else. It works the other way around too- friends who like philosophy but not Community don’t want to hear me ramble on about it, so I save those conversations for those who care. And I’m sure the people with whom I share a physical connection and not much else are as excited to see me go as I am about having my whole bed to myself.
If a friend moves to the other side of the country to pursue a new career, you show up to their going away party, help them eat the food in their fridge, and then wave goodbye. When a partner wants to move to the other side of the country, you have to seriously consider a major lifestyle change. I really, really, really like my current lifestyle. My search for companionship is less of a search and more of a an option I’m open to if it would be genuinely better than what I’m up to right now. And so far, no one has presented me with that option.
What PSG lacks, and the reason I am no longer her, is a robust sense of self that is independent on her perceived romantic viability.
I am not lonely. I am not bored. I am not sad and unfulfilled. I am not single because no one wants me. And even if no one wants me right now, I don’t want anyone either, so we’re all on the same page.
My current options (see original blog post about Eligible Bachelor #1) don’t represent that step up right now, and I’m happy to wait. Of course, my presence on the online dating sphere seems to indicate otherwise. In truth, I only long on once a week or so, and poke around. It is an idle curiosity about what’s “out there”, a message to Lady Probability and Lady Chaos that I would enjoy partnered romance at some point, but I’m also really busy right now, so don’t rush things.
I’ll find my imzadi one day. But until cuddling on the couch is a true upgrade from being able to go come and go as I please, I’m just happy…being me.