I have this friend. He and I were texting the other evening when, for one reason or another, I decided to be brutally honest with him:
"I've always had feelings for you. I'm just not mature enough to deal with them. You know that." (Man, it felt good to say that).
"Of course," he said. "Who knows? Maybe that's why I like you."
"You're such a typical guy," I wrote back, laughing. I switched my phone to silent, threw it on my nightstand and spent the first half of the night lying awake, wondering about how different my life would've been if I'd taken him up on his multiple offers to be boyfriend/girlfriend.
I am perpetually single. I am the singlest of them all. I complain about not having someone, but then rejoice in my solitude. I try to give it a go with a guy who's been chasing me down for years, only to push him away when I feel him getting too close. I indulge in being treated the way I deserve to be treated, only to stop indulging myself because indulging myself just doesn't feel "exciting" enough.
It's my fault I'm single. But "fault" is the wrong word here. The right word is "choice."
What people don't understand about the girl who spends most of her life single is there is no shortage of men running after her. And she's never really sure whether they're running after her because she's as fabulous as they make her seem, or because she's always been unavailable in some way (usually, it's emotionally).
Maybe she's selfish -- I can be hella selfish, as I usually choose to sweat it out over going on a date -- or maybe it's the opposite. Or maybe she's too selfless, and out of fear of giving too much of herself to someone, she's afraid to fall in love.
No matter the reason for her singledom, she just wants to figure life out on her own -- that is, until she's swept up into a can't-breathe-can't-think sort of love with a man.
I have something to say on behalf of the perpetually single girl. Please don't pity her. If she really wanted to be with someone, she would be. Sure, it gets hard not having a support system to help her through the particularly rough times that could only be helped by a man's touch (though she settles for a friend's hug). But I suppose she just doesn't want a relationship bad enough, so she isn't single by chance. She's single by choice.
She's watched all her friends find people and fall in love. But she's also watched them fall out of love and move on from those people quickly, and she knows the only way anyone can move on that swiftly is if the thing in question didn't mean much to them at all.
It's at that point when the perpetually single girl realizes she'd be better off on her own than be part of a relationship whose demise doesn't leave her wounded. Because I don't want just any relationship; I want the kind of relationship that would leave me tangled and torn, heart pounding, hands bleeding, to the point of complete physical pain and mental suffocation. The blackest smoke comes out of the strongest fires.
I want the relationship I've always dreamt of with the man I know I deserve, and nothing less. We single gals have a harder time finding the man of our dreams because we prefer to dream about him rather than love anyone but him.
We just don't want to enjoy all of life's perks with the wrong person.
Fine. I may be on an endless quest for a mystical kind of man, but I'm not going to stop until I find him or, at the very least, can confirm he doesn't exist. And if I never find him, I suppose I'll be alone forever (well, at least that's how I feel now. Ask me how I feel in five years).
My guard is up, my expectations are high and my stubbornness is stagnant. So, no, I am not a good candidate for a relationship partner for 99.9% of the single male population.
I am also self-aware; perhaps a little too much. I can't speak for women everywhere, but there's a little piece of knowledge you would only know if you were among us perpetual singles: When we complain about being single, we're not complaining because we can't find someone who wants to be with us. We're complaining because society is still in favor of those who are coupled-up, even in a day and age where men and women are marrying later or not at all.
Rent, dinner, bottles of wine are all cheaper when they're split. Missing out on all that is a hefty price to pay for not compromising our standards for the sake of being with someone. We, too, want the discounts. We, too, want the "love sex." We, too, want our drinks to be paid for, and we want that generous person to cry to when those drinks turn us into sad, sloppy sobbers. We just don't want to enjoy all of life's perks with the wrong person.
What does the perpetually single girl need in place of pity? She just needs you to support her decision to fight life's toughest battles without a guy by her side. And she needs you to remember there's a method to her madness, even though it seems like she wound up alone by chance. She lives by the words of my wise big sister: "It's easy to find a boyfriend. It's not easy to find one that's perfect for you."
The perpetually single girl has a choice. And she chooses freedom.