He stood up from the table, ready to give me his acceptance speech and pack his suitcase to leave for his vacation to sunny Egypt.
‘‘But, Dad, I’m not a lesbian’’ I explained, making sure I pronounced every letter clearly for clarity and confirmation.
I thought he had invited me for dinner so I could say farewell before he left for the holidays, but he had other motives.
I sat with my dad, brother and stepmom around the dining table for the usual family dinner conversation: highlights of the day, what was on the TV and current affairs, etc. Then, my dad revealed the secret behind the invitation.
‘‘So, you still don’t have a boyfriend?’’ he asked before taking a sip of his bottled water.
‘‘No, dad I still don’t have a boyfriend,’’ I replied, eyes rolling.
It hadn’t occurred to me that my dad had been doing all my soon-to-be-crazy-cat-lady worrying on my behalf – until now. I put my fork down and gave him my full attention because I could tell where this was going.
My dad is old school, traditional and by my age, mid 20s, he had a very different life and lifestyle to the free-spirited one I live now.
I explained I was single because I hadn’t met anyone who made me feel like I wanted to change that status. I told him I was single because I didn’t want to get in a relationship with anyone just for the sake of getting in a relationship.
I told him getting in a relationship to calm the worries of other people’s busy minds and using the status as a reason to bring a plus-one to all of the weddings, gatherings and family events I have coming up, was not a cause for concern for me.
I explained and acknowledged that I was single, yes, but I am happy and I would never look to someone else to validate that.
I also told him, in some way to reassure him that I'm not anti-relationships, that, of course, if I were to meet someone I truly fell for, then I would be in a relationship, but until then, I will remain single.
Out of curiosity, I asked him what kind of partner he would like me to have. At this point, I wanted to show him the kind of apps and sites we single girls have to seek out other singles, but I think it would have all been too much for him.
‘‘Well, someone like Will Smith would be nice’’ he said, arms crossed and staring past me to a place where I believe he was envisioning me as married with children.
Laughing at his take on my relationship status, I decided to change the conversation to a more suitable dinner narrative a daughter has with her dad over dinner.
I know he had my best interests at heart, and I also know it came from a place of love. It’s just that we are from different generations and have a very different outlook on life.
After leaving full on both food and my dad’s input, I started to think about everything we had spoken about. I see so many people get into relationships for the wrong reasons.
I’ve watched the closest people to me enter relationships out of fear of being single, or through the overwhelming desire to fill something missing in their lives.
However, after a few months in a bad relationship, it comes to light that the only thing that needed to be filled was their own hearts through their own happiness.
Relationships are a big deal; they are investments in your life and future, and they take a lot of hard work to maintain in order to last a lifetime.
Getting into a relationship because your parents, friends or coworkers are worried for you or your future is like playing pretend. Like a plaster, eventually that cover will have to be removed, and the damage will already have been done.
Relationships can be life-changing, and they can give us the most unexplainable feeling of joy in our lives.
But, I believe, a relationship should blossom from a good place, and by a good place, I mean a place where deep down, it feels right for you.
Take your time because love is something that should be enjoyed in full with every passing minute.
Take your time because at the end of it all, and behind closed doors, you’re the person who truly knows if it feels right or not.
Do not worry about where anyone else thinks you should be in your life. The art of living life for ourselves and at our own pace is the one thing we know to be ours.
When we give that up through fear, or pressure of others, who are we living for?