Age is just a number, right? In the dating world, that's not really true. Or at least in my world it's not! Dating in your 20s is much different than dating in your mid to late 30s. Back in my 20s, dating was a little more fun and carefree. Did I care what he did for a living? Nope. Did I care whether or not he wanted children? Absolutely not. Did I need to know his last name? Well maybe… but not necessarily. Now it's all about: does he have a good job? Does he want children? Does he still live with roommates or <gasp> his parents?
Back in my 20s there was the false confidence of makeup, tight outfits, high heels, and alcohol. That's now been replaced with the true fears of getting older, thinking I'm no longer in my prime, my body no longer fitting into tight outfits, and no longer being able to hold my liquor. I don't even really know when all that changed. Actually, it probably changed around the time my friends started getting married. There were fewer and fewer trips to bars and clubs where all you did was exchange numbers with a hot guy and more and more of dating websites where you had to fill out a checklist of what you want. Not to mention all the birthdays that have passed since I was in the bar scene. It's "grown up" dating now. I feel like I have to know more about my potential date, more about the kids thing, and what job they have, and what their living situation is because at this age, I don't want to waste my time or someone else's. But when I see the profile of a cute guy that has similar interests but it also says "looking to settle down and start a family", I'm automatically swiping left. Then a little voice in my head scolds me because isn't that the whole point of dating? But why, exactly? Do I even want to get married? A wedding? Hell yes. A marriage? Hmmm…. maybe not. The thing with being a chronically single person is that you get used to your independence and being "selfish". Do I want to share half of my closet with someone? Not really. Do I want to share a bed with someone who moves around a lot, steals the blankets, and snores? Honestly? No. Do I want someone making noise when I want some quiet time? I'll fucking cut you. Do I want someone to have dinner ready for me when I get home after working 12-14 hours? Abso-fucking-lutely. So maybe I want a personal chef more than a husband. But then again… Do I want to have the fuzzy-butterflies in the stomach-can't stop smiling-true love? Sigh. Yeeeeaaaahhhh. I've read too many trashy romances and watched too many sappy romantic movies to not want it.
So I have a little voice in my mind telling me I shouldn't still be single. So what? Well there's also pressure from friends and family. Not totally on purpose pressure, but pressure nonetheless. When you're single in your 20s you're: having fun! Not ready to settle down! Playing the field! When you're single in your late 30s you are: dating a married man! Too picky! An old maid! A lesbian! THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WHOLE WORLD WHO IS STILL SINGLE! Some people might never have thought these things about me but others definitely have. I'm going to take a few minutes to address these:
- Dating a married man: just because you haven't heard me talking about a boyfriend or dating in general does not mean I'm dating a married man and thus cannot discuss it. There's either nothing to discuss or I just don't feel like discussing it.
- Too picky: it's possible. But I'm not giving up my independence for anything less than perfection and true love!!! (Audience groans). Ok, ok. How about imperfections I can live with and love that I think will last? Is that better?
- An old maid: I did have a whole Twitter thread with myself about how if we were in the olden days when an old maid was actually a thing, I'd be rocking it.
Truth be told, being an old maid and not having the right to vote and getting polio or the plague and being stuck in the 1800s is actually NOT better than going to a wedding sans date. The wedding in question was beautiful, the food was good, and the music was perfect. Oh, and my table totally won the dance off . Now where was I? Oh yes…
- A lesbian: seeing as how you are born gay, why is it that people only think I'm a lesbian when I'm getting a little long in the tooth but am still single? It's kind of insulting to the lesbians, don't you think? You're making it seem like only lesbians are old and unmarried. Seeing as how I know a bunch of lesbians and most of them are married, I think it's safe to say that "being single" doesn't equal "being gay". And I'd like to think that if I was gay, I'd be out and proud by now.
- THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WHOLE WORLD WHO IS SINGLE: Oh yeah. I feel this one a lot. Did you happen to catch the part in my Twitter old maid rant that my youngest cousin just got married? And that's my mom's side of the family. On my dad's side, my youngest cousin has been married for years. I also recently went to a BBQ at my best friend's house and I was literally the only single adult person there. LITERALLY. So yeah, even though I know this is far from the truth, I still feel alone being single when all my friends are married.
What conclusion can we come to? Am I ok with being alone for the rest of my life? Sometimes. Do I desperately want to get married? Sometimes. But sometimes I feel like I'm still in my prime, my biological clock is non-existent (thank god), and it's ok if I have no idea what I want. I'll figure it out eventually… or not.