Where All The “Good” Men (And Women) Are Hiding

I get a lot of questions from my readers asking me where I met the ~awesome~ guy I’m currently dating.

Now, all the good peeps aren’t hiding in one place. There’s no, like, Hot Man Convention (but wouldn’t that be so much easier)? You just have to go to the right places.

I met my guy at a bar in downtown Austin. Normally, I caution against meeting people in bars because all the guys I’ve met in bars in the past just wanted to bang. (Although one guy I met in a bar turned out to be my bang buddy for a solid year and a half. No regrets). But this time, I happened to be alone, with no girlfriends to protect me. I’d like to think one of the reasons he came up to me is because I was just sippin’ on some wine, all by myself, nonchalantly reading a book and enjoying myself. 

What’s the verdict of my successful experiment? Do more stuff alone. You’re less intimidating to men this way. There’s nothing scarier than a good-looking girl gang.

The other day, a woman in her late 20’s told me she isn’t really a “bar person” and also isn’t willing to try online dating. Then, I asked her what her hobbies are. She told me she doesn’t have any hobbies other than getting her nails done with her girlfriends, but after thinking for a little bit, she wrote back that she also likes to travel.

OK. Let’s take a look-see here. She doesn’t go out, is either too lazy (or too proud) to try online dating and has zero hobbies. It’s no wonder to anyone but herself that she’s still single.

PEOPLE. You can’t not be a bar person and not be an online dating person! It doesn’t work that way! How do you expect to meet someone when over 75% of the population goes to bars and uses dating apps to try and find love?

To find love, you’ve either got to be a bar person (extrovert) or an online dating person (introvert). And even better if you’re both a bar person and an online dating person, because you’ve increased your chances of meeting someone by twofold. (Also, the extrovert-introvert hybrid is probably the best possible romantic partner, because you’re pretty much down to do whatever and easy to get along with). 

Back to this not-bar-not-online-dating girl. I suggested she travel alone. Because when I traveled solo to Switzerland, I met a ton of cool new people. Folks flock to lone travelers – especially the local singles.

Now, if you’re not into going out – or just don’t have the stamina to drink like you used to – you could also research hobby groups in your city or try meetup.com. I know they sound kind of lame, but they really are an awesome way to mingle with people that love doing the same stuff you love to do. Isn’t that what you want, anyway? A boyfriend that you don’t have to drag to an indie concert, but that will accompany you gladly because he loves the band as much as or even more than you do?

Remember: We don’t attract who we want. We attract who we are. My guy is more-or-less the male version of me: very active, super outgoing,  flails arms to Chris Brown. 

If you’ve exhausted all the above options, I suggest sucking up your pride and trying online dating. I have a few friends who’ve met some wonderful people on there. Of course, you will need some bomb-ass pics and an interesting bio; something to set you apart from the rest of the horny, lonely souls of the world.

But in regards to how to navigate the Tinder trenches and Bumble beehives, I’ll save that for another day.

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An Open Letter To Broken Hearts Everywhere

[Image credit: Bo Boswell]

When I was in the third grade, I got stung by a bee while taking a spelling test. He came out of nowhere – traveled up my 90’s acid-washed jeans, and bit me – and I screamed in unimaginable agony.

“What is it, Sheena?” Mrs. Inglis yelled to me from the other side of the room.
“I don’t know, Mrs. Inglis. But it hurts real bad.”

I was in the third grade when I first felt what heartbreak feels like, only I didn’t know it then.

Two years ago, a guy whom I loved deeply broke my heart. There were no warning signs that I should’ve stayed away; if there were, I was just a girl in love, too docile to notice, and too dumbfounded to care.

Even though what happened went down two years ago, the loss is like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It irrevocably changed me. Sometimes, I feel like I’m okay, and everything is okay, and everything will continue to be okay.

But other times, I feel a sort of endless pain, resulting from a darkness that takes over without my consent. It feels like emotional rape. And when this happens, everything else in life merely feels like a distraction from what’s really going on inside my wounded heart, rendering me unable to perceive what I’m doing at face-value; dating becomes futile. A wine tasting is a trip down memory lane. Kickboxing is just beating up a bag with my ex’s face painted on it. I carry he who broke my heart around with me everywhere I go. I feel him in every fiber of the parts of myself he took from me.

I find this piece to be more seasonable than those I’ve previously written. See, upon hearing the news of Kourtney and Scott, the epic tale of the woman who tried to change a man who can’t be changed, and Ben and Jen, a pair people everywhere thought would put the rest of Hollywood’s couples to shame, I fell apart at the little that had been holding me together ever since my own heartbreak experience. As a child of divorce, I genuinely empathize with those involved in the breakups, feeling each celebrity and celebrity kid’s pains as if they are my own.
And last night, somewhere in the middle of switching back-and-forth between E! and CNN, I began to cry. I’d like to believe I was crying for those everywhere who have been in love;
for the heartbroken, who may never have the courage to recover from the hits they’ve taken, and who have no choice but to remain brave in the face of adversity;
for the heartbreakers, who may never understand the capacity of the absolute tragedy they’ve bestowed upon those who loved them most;
finally, for the couples who tried to make it work, but couldn’t, because forces bigger than them took hold of a probably incontinent situation that we try to nonetheless institutionalize.

————————————–

One day, something good came of my loss: I was given a professional opportunity to have my voice heard by millions around the world. I started this blog because the pain, when I do feel it, is like that of a bee sting. It’s sudden, but overwhelming. Not too long after I began blogging, I was fortunate enough to quit my job for a paid venture that I initially only embarked on with the sole intention of curing the indubitable hole in my heart; the one that’s yet to be filled. That is, I write.

Sometimes, the darkness gets to be too much. Hell, before I began to pen this, I was curled up in a fetal position on my couch crying hysterically to some Enya-knock-off yoga music (hey, it brings out the feels). Sometimes it can, and it will, get to be too much for all of us. After all, there’s only so much the human heart can take.

Because sharing my pain with others has helped alleviate my own, I encourage you to do what makes you feel alive, and to do more of it. If you can’t sleep, do *that* thing. If you have to stay home on a Friday night to do it, in lieu of getting drinks with your friends because Friday is the only time you can fit that special *thing* into your schedule, then do that. Just stop, drop, and roll. And then, do *that.*

I may never fall in love again. That sounds like a naive declaration, but it could very well be true. And, in the event that I don’t fall in love again, I’ll be prepared, because there is something else I’ve found to half-replenish my soul; doing it doesn’t feel as good as being in love, but it comes as a close second. Equip yourself, and always keep your equipment close, for it’s okay to stay guarded. The one who’s meant to stay forever will have hands heavy enough to break through your walls.

And so, I write. What’s your weapon?

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The Real Reason You’re Sad About Being Single

[Image credit: Bailey Weaver]

I never grow tired of a good meme. Cat memes be my sh*t, yo. But there’s one type of meme that I have grown tired of, and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. Exhibit A:

over-68000-single-women-starve-to-death-every-year

Hardy har har. The single-shaming meme. People, you’re probably not as sad about being on your own as you think you are; you can thank the media for further fueling why you’re unequivocally sad about being single. But it ain’t just memes that glorify romantic relationships — it’s magazines. And movies. And songs on the radio. My Twitter feed is inundated on a daily basis with headlines like: “6 Tips in Bed to Drive Your Man Wild,” and “Ian and Nikki’s PDA-filled Vacation,” and pictures of sickeningly happy couples working out together, captioned “#relationshipgoals.”

What media moguls fail to realize, though, is that they’re incredibly insensitive and biased. You see, the middle-aged, wedding ring-less guy on the subway reads about the tips in bed, then cries himself to sleep because he hasn’t gotten laid in a year. My over-30 year-old single girlfriend would rather eat her own foot than see Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed’s PDA, ‘cuz she can’t even remember the last time a guy kissed her on the street. And the seemingly mindless endeavor of hashtagging “relationship goals” has led me, on more than one occasion, to eat an entire box of black-and-white cookies while watching Mad Men on a Friday night in my pathetic, crumb-filled bed (yeah, that wasn’t easy for me to admit).

My question is: where are the click-baity headlines intended to comfort singles? In fact, doesn’t the only way we ever read about singledom lie in sensationalism of the newest iPhone dating app? We all need somebody to lean on, and when that somebody doesn’t present himself, it’s nice to have something to lean on. The lack of armchairs for singles is what instigated this blog in the first place; I wanted to remind people they aren’t alone.

The thing is, annoyingly loud societal dogmas take an ancient idea and apply it to a world that’s changing faster than most can process; in Layman’s terms, the rules we feel bound to haven’t evolved as quickly as the act of romantic courtship has. The ending result? Many of us feel coerced into coupledom, when we either can find it and don’t want it, or want it but can’t find it.

For the most part, I’m not sad about being single. Life is beautiful in that webs of meaningful connections can be weaved amongst siblings and good friends, amongst pets and parents. And if you let these webs fill you up in all the right ways, you won’t feel ashamed about being single. Still, I hate to break to you that we singles won’t stop feeling bullied until – and only until – the media ceases to measure a woman’s worth in terms of which man is taking her out to dinner on a given night. If and when a cessation will happen is beyond me, which means we’ve just gotta get better at regarding single-shaming as white noise.

I’ll tell you a little story. Over Memorial Day weekend, I took a trip down South to visit my sister. We engaged in a heated debate over which Netflix movie to watch, and said debate consisted of two contenders: the first, Silver Linings Playbook, a romantic drama in which Bradley Cooper and JLaw fall in love with each other (spoiler alert). The second, Still Alice, a Julianne Moore film (I highly recommend!) about a wife and mother who gets diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. We went with the latter; I figured it’d be more true to life.

On my flight over to Texas, I effortlessly lifted my carry-on suitcase into the overhead compartment all by myself, sans man (I attribute my newfound arm strength to kettle bell workouts). I looked around at my fellow plane passengers, and their blatantly impressed expressions said it all: Huh. I underestimated that skinny loner girl. I felt like a BAMF.

But on my way home, something changed, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I threw my suitcase up again – only this time, I felt worn out. For the first time, I felt like I wanted a helping hand. Maybe it was the Hot Couple Alert blurb in the tabloid I had just read, or the slew of women in the rows ahead of me whose boyfriends and husbands man-handled their luggage for them. Maybe it was the guy sitting next to me sending texts to “Baby” from his phone. I don’t know what it was, but I spent every second of putting up that suitcase feeling the loneliest I’ve ever felt (what is it about airports that makes me feel so damn lonely?)

I sat down, and my self-pity was eventually replaced by a snooze. Then, thump. We had landed. I turned on my phone. There were no texts from a special someone, just alerts from the usual suspects. My girlfriends. My mother. A couple of awesomely loyal Twitter followers.

A half-smile made its way across my face. I looked out the window, at those big, bold letters: I ❤ NY.

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How To Shut Society Up And Embrace Being Single

[Image credit: Lotus Carroll]

Scallop pancakes and mussel pots. A beautiful, boasting bibimbap. Chicken skewers dripping in a honey glaze sweet enough to turn the sourest cynic into a believer.
A few days ago, one of New York City’s many noteworthy restaurants made for me one of the most decadent meals I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I was contented. Rapturous. Satiated. And in the midst of my dreamlike, unquenchable state, I was interrupted–
“…but aren’t you bored? I mean, if I didn’t have a boyfriend or a cat, I sure would be.”

I dropped my chopsticks. I had lost my appetite.

In recent decades, the term spinster has denoted a lonely, unhappy woman. Spinsterism tells us if we’re not coupled up, then we should, by default, have cats (just look at Taylor Swift, pre-Calvin, and what will most probably inevitably end up being Taylor Swift, post-Calvin). I’m sure my friend didn’t intend for her comment to be offensive or judgmental in nature, but I fidgeted in my chair, then met her gaze with sly reproach. I had not men on the brain, but only food in the mouth.

This generation birthed the New Woman. The Old Woman has been reincarnated into a fierce, career-driven force akin to Beyonce’s ‘single lady,’ and she isn’t being chastised for her ambition the way she was a century ago. But I’d be lying if I said society isn’t unsettled by the New Woman’s willful independence; even today, society dictates we aren’t anyone until we’re with someone. Just ask my coworker:
“You’re still just someone’s daughter until you’ve got your own family.”

Or my mother:
On a recent trip home, I was greeted with nearly floor-to-ceiling-length wedding photos of my sister and her husband.
“Where are the pictures of me?” I asked.
“You’ll get back up there,” my mother said.
“When?”
“When you get married, too.”
“What if I never get married?”


It’s a sad truth, but what’s undeniable is, well, single people are bullied. So how do you make the most out of being single, so that singledom doesn’t merely feel like biding time until The One?

Pour the love you’re capable of giving into those who deserve to be loved.
I used to drown in self-pity, saying to myself, “I wish I had someone to love ‘cuz I’ve got so much love to give.” I learned instead of storing love, leaving it dormant and deeming it only worth awakening once I’ve met The One, I should pour love into family and friends. The ones who’ve been there all along are the ones who deserve it. And one day, maybe someone who hasn’t been there all along will deserve it, too.
Do what’s cathartic for you.
We churn out the best product when we aren’t enveloped in the hazy afterglow of being in love. Instead of spending frazzled energy on why X hasn’t called me back in Y days for Z number of reasons, I channel a much more concentrated energy on doing things I know I’m good at it, and that which makes me feel alive.

As author Kate Bolick points out:
“[Jane] Austen never married, [Edith] Wharton didn’t fully come into her own as a writer until she’d divorced her husband, and Mary Eleanor Wilkins – a wildly successful fiction writer…did in fact produce her best work before she married at age fifty.”
(I said it before, and I’ll say it again: keep doing you. You don’t want to meet The One, and both subsequently and inadvertently stunt your maximum potential because you fell too soon).

They reason my life must be boring. I haven’t found my soulmate, so I must have cats to get by.
But they’re wrong; I do have a soulmate. Infact, I’ve got many soulmates: during the day, they’re cherry blossoms. At night, it’s Jhumpa Lahiri. And for all those moments in between, I’ve got myself.

I may never find The One, but come Hell or high water, I will have left behind a life well-lived. I may be buried next to someone, or I may not be buried next to anyone at all. But should the latter occur, I’ll be sure my gravestone says something like, “Here lies Sheena: she led a long and fruitful life. She loved fully, and laughed truly, and lived courageously. And though she was alone, she was never lonely.”

Prove them wrong. Your soulmate is you.

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Young Monogamy Has Pitfalls: Stay Single In Your 20’s

[Image credit: Daniel Zedda]

I used to tell myself it’s okay to be single in my twenties. But the thing is, I never really believed that; this flimsy, self-assuring process of mine was just a lame way to fill a void that loneliness couldn’t. I’d watch my best friends get wined and dined, then go on vacations with their boyfriends. I’d cringe with envy. For the first time, though, I’m beginning not only to understand, but also to accept the weight of my incantation.

Monogamy is a beautiful thing – when you’re with the right person. But is there such a thing as being too young to be monogamous?

“Young monogamy:” the terminology is almost paradoxical. Are we really supposed to be able to choose a partner intended to sustain decades when we still don’t know how to mow a lawn? Cook a proper, three-course meal? Do our taxes? (I dunno about you, but I get a short Indian man to do my taxes for me. Thanks, Ashok).

Young monogamy can breed careless prioritization. I witnessed a good friend of mine follow her boyfriend across the country because his job depended on it. They ended up breaking up not too long after that, and she realized she had only further stalled her professional dreams in the name of love – or a version of it, anyway.

“Don’t be with someone until you’ve figured yourself out,” she said to me over the phone, through bouts of tears.
“But do we ever have ourselves fully ‘figured out’?” I fired back, both smug and confused.

Though the entire course of our lives is an ongoing self-discovery process, there’s something to be noted: the period between 18-30 is the period during which we change the most. Maturation occurs at an exponential rate up until 30, and after 30, it becomes more linear. Whom you want at 24 might not be whom you’ll want at 29; those qualities you hold in reverence at 23 are not what you’d extol in a partner at 28.

And people, let’s just say, thank god I didn’t follow the advice of 21-year-old Sheena. If I had, I’d still be chasing around blond-haired, blue-eyed bad boys who charm with British accents and carry around guitars. Now, I’m only chasing around blond-haired, blue-eyed bad boys – hold the foreign accent and guitar. See how much I’ve matured already? (Wink, wink).

Kanye said: “Love is cursed by monogamy.” Eh, young love, anyway. The truth is, my skepticism of monogamy as a 20-something has created an altogether aversion to it, for the following reasons: I don’t want to be a 20-something with another 20-something who has a wandering eye because he’s youthfully curious, or whose life ambitions aren’t yet figured out, or who may think he might just pick up and move one day because his calling is in another country.

We have our entire lives to indulge in stability and comfort. In security and familiarity. We have our entire lives to come home to the same person every day; to have sex with the same person until we’re too tired to create bodily friction. Youth is beautiful, and the beauty lies in the restlessness: whether it be a panging to see the unseen nooks and crannies of the world, or a primal desire to bed the beautiful woman speaking Thai in your ear on a night out in Manhattan’s SoHo District.

Most people will say I just haven’t met the right person yet. They’re half-right. Sometimes, you meet the right person at the wrong time. I want monogamy, but changes are always on the horizon in the life of a 20-something. You can’t change the pace of change.

When I meet my man, I want him to have lived fast; it’s the art of having lived a well-traveled youth that makes a man. I want him here, with me, fully present. Because if he isn’t giving me his all, he isn’t giving me anything.

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The Definitively Hardest Roles Every Single Person Plays

[Image credit: astrangegirl]

We’re all well aware of the roles every single girl plays. There are those as plain as day: the lone diner. The lone grocery shopper. The lone…ok, she’s basically really good at being alone.

But then there are the tidbits of the roles she plays that people don’t talk about. Like having to amp up her creativity, and considering total and complete abstinence from alcohol. And anything and everything involved with that three-letter word she can’t say in front of her dad but which is so omnipresent in daily life.

What I wish someone would’ve told me earlier is that the difficulties of singledom are all physically taxing. Things I shoulda done push-ups for. Behold the roles the single girl performs:

Outside-The-Box Thinker
The single girl is always on the prowl, and after a while, she realizes she needs to be more creative than her coupled-up friends. Sure, she can date online, which I’ve personally grown tired of because a bad online date is really just a bad job interview in disguise (see earlier post). So, she’s gotta get good at nailing the in-person snag-and-grab.

Many times, when women approach men without a specific reason, they end up scaring them off or seeming too desperate (AAHH! Needy woman! Sound the alarm!) Single girls have to find a solid conversation starter; use idiosyncrasies to their advantage. This Easter weekend, my friend was gracious enough to lend me a pair of bunny ears, and in the name of festivity and singledom, I wore them out to the bar. Several cute men approached me – many more than usual – with nuanced versions of “you’re a cute bunny,” to which I replied an opaquely air-headed “hehehe, thanks.” I copped a phone number and hopped away.

Energy I could spend working out or kickin’ it with family is instead channeled towards weaving the next guy web, and boy, does it get exhausting. One day, I assure you, ima run out of animal ears.

Stuff-Loser
The single girl doesn’t have a boyfriend. She has a bottle. Singles tend to drink shamelessly because if we find ourselves too sober and concurrently in the company of couples galore, we reflect on just how unlovable we really are and cry our overpriced mascara off. We can’t afford to do the latter; we’re already broke on account of having to pay for fancy dinners ourselves. Enter: the bottle.

With the inhalation of one too many whiskey-gingers comes the inevitable loss of something valuable. This infamous Easter weekend, I drunkenly flung a silver ring I’ve been wearing since I was 13 onto the obscure black hole that is the floor of a taxi cab. There I was: sloppy, single, heirloom-less. I sighed, let the Bangladeshi taxi driver console me with kind words, and leveraged my sadness to indulge in a bottle of wine from the male friend I – er, my bunny ears – had made.

A Soul Without A Body
The Veronicas said it best: “I feel so untouched…”. This hallmark of singledom is quite possibly swept under the rug the most: sex, or lack thereof. Perpetual singles, I know, and I’m sorry. To answer your question, no, it’s not normal to go interminably long without being touched, hugged, held in a special way. Part of being human is to connect on a deep physical level vis-à-vis other humans with whom we’ve become emotionally entangled, and if such connection disappears from our lives in the form of complete omission, we become but one half of ourselves. Souls without bodies. We have three options: we can either

a) wait until the next relationship to engage physically – all the while leading long stretches of dry, sexless life – and become aggrieved shells of our former selves
b) cowabunga with a new guy each time the urge calls (hey, why not? you’re only young and beautiful once)
c) have meaningless sex with a f*ck buddy (at least this one’s environmentally sound? ie. reusing and recycling)

Unfortunately, all of these options are less than ideal. The truth is, there ain’t nothin’ like sex when you’re in love, so we just have to hum along ’till the really good stuff.

Ok, it’s tough as hell for a single girl. But despite the sucky roles we’ve mastered, there’s also freedom. And adventure. And stories and transformation and beauty in the muck.

You know the best part of the worst parts of being single? They test the bounds of the human spirit. It takes a true fighter to endure the emotional strength a single girl must sometimes endure. And though she may not be indubitably reminded of it, her strength is tunneling a path not only to the guy of her dreams, but to the woman she was destined to become.

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Survey Says: Singles Aren’t Unlucky, They’re Just Picky

[Image credit: Jesús Arpón]

This past Thursday, my friend Olivia and I went out. Tipsy off of happy hour wine and cheap beer, we scoured a sports bar in the midst of March Madness for drunk single men. After making our rounds, having a few nothing-to-write-home-about conversations and ultimately deciding that no one met our expectations, we sat back down at our table, defeated.

Olivia sighed. “I’m not impressed,” she said.
“Hear, hear,” I slurred. We clinked our glasses and drank.

Olivia and I have been single for a long time now. By that, I mean a looong time (two years for me, three for her). It’s been long enough to induce suspicion; when singles have been single for an extended period of time, they tend to turn inwards and ask themselves, “what in the hell is wrong with me?”

So what is wrong with us? Are we, as Gwyneth and Chris would say, “consciously uncoupled,” or are we being dealt sh*tty cards? Are we unlucky or are we just picky?

Now, there’s no surefire answer to this one, but my money’s on the notion that we’re just too damn picky. Over the years, single girl friends and I have been exposed to countless types of guys through every medium you can think of – bars, friends of friends, online/Tinder dates – and yet, no one seems to be “good enough.”

Coming to the realization we’re picky isn’t easy; it was just as hard-hitting for me as it probably is for you. After some intense reflection, I compiled a list of qualities that I and/or my girlfriends have used in the past as reasons to dismiss a guy. Whether any of them are legitimate reasons to stay single over, I haven’t yet decided, but I’ll go ahead and leave that up to your discretion:

he’s too short.
he’s too tall. who does he think he is, lebron?
his voice is too girly.
he doesn’t make enough money.
he makes too much money. ugh, he must overvalue it. how shallow.
he’s gap-toothed.
he’s way too nice. can’t he grow a backbone?
douche. douchedoucheDOUCHE.
he’s boring.
he’s too all over the place. dunno where the hell his head’s at.
he’s not sensitive enough.
he cries. is that normal?
he’s too skinny, reminds me of a worm.
fattie.
he’s starting to go bald.
his thing is too small.
his thing is too big. um, ow.
he doesn’t know how to use his thing.
he has absolutely no fashion sense.
he dresses too nicely. do you think he’s gay?
he doesn’t have enough friends. homeboy needs to get a life.
he has too many friends. he doesn’t prioritize me, asshole.
he’s too smart for me, I don’t understand half the words he uses.
he’s dumb. I need my guy to be smarter than I am.
he’s too old.
he’s too immature. I need a man, not a boy.
there’s no thrill; it’s too easy.
it shouldn’t be this hard. I’m not running a f*cking 5k.

The fact is, women have evolved into snobs, myself included. But man, I would hate if I were a guy whose lack of height were being held against him. There’s not much he can do about that; still, he’s got one up on us singles, because he’ll date a really short girl, and they’ll have shorty love and make short babies. Or, he’ll just find love with an average-sized girl who’s less superficial than the rest of us, and we’ll still be single. And picky.

There are no loopholes to this thing; the friends of mine who are in healthy relationships seem to have compromised on something, if not a few things. But for those of us who may be unfledged and unwilling to compromise, it’s time we start cradling our stubbornness. We’re too young to “settle,” but not young enough to not be more open-minded, so if we’re going to ride out the journey alone and simultaneously want to enjoy that ride, we can start by complaining less and embracing our singledom.

Listen, I’m not asking for that much. Should it really be this difficult to find a 6-foot, British, blue-eyed, witty, charming, intellectual, wealthy-but-still-in-tune-with-the-arts, caring-yet-gives-off-just-the-right-amount-of-pretentiousness Don-Juan-in-the-sack who also loves children?

Apparently, it is.

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The Unspoken: A Recognition Of The Single Girl’s Bravery

[Image credit: Whitney Jordan]

My best friend and I are hilarious. Well, it’s more like we’re hilarious from a third-person perspective and/or hilarious only in retrospect. She and I are like the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler of the non-celebrity world; we’re usually drunk and we curse like sailors, AKA our lives can be likened to your favorite romcom (Bridesmaids, My Best Friend’s Wedding, take your pick).

We’re also perpetually single. We find it unnerving when we plan a girls’ night out, and the friends with boyfriends hit the sack early to be with their boos, while the single friends jump ship halfway through the night for one-night stands. It seems lots of our girlfriends – and a lotta girls in general – feel the need to end each and every night with men. Tina and I don’t understand this.

The other night, Tina and I were having a drink at her apartment when, in a moment of unexpected vulnerability, she said to me, “I didn’t realize I needed a boyfriend until all of my roommates started bringing theirs over.” I didn’t know what to say, so I looked down at my shoes. A familiar chill came over me. Here’s the 411: Tina lives in an apartment with three other girls who are all floating on the highs of requited love. She wasn’t pitying herself, but the harsh reality is that when you’re surrounded by couples, you’re bound to feel lonely – regardless of how much you value being alone.

Couples, every now and then, you make singles feel uncomfortable. I know you don’t mean to, but you do. And because couples get days of recognition all the time (Valentine’s Day, date nights, New Year’s Eve [yes, this one is couple-y — kissing at midnight]), it only makes sense we take the time to bring to light the bravery of the single girl:

The single girl hustles at work, then celebrates by taking herself out to dinner. She looks forward to the simple things, including that glass of red wine awaiting her at home. But when she does finally make her way to the kitchen in her home – a place that’s supposed to be her haven – she finds all of her girlfriends sitting on their boyfriends’ laps in said kitchen. And suddenly, the soothing calm that’s meant to arise from the sound of pouring a full-bodied wine into a glass is drowned out by the inescapable noise of lips smacking. It’s the kind of noise that’s so mind-numbing it haunts the single girl in her sleep. The sound of one couple’s lips staggers with the sound of another’s, and together, they create a musical symphony that goes a little something like, “Ha ha! You can’t have this.”

The single girl, who went about her day feeling confident and anything but lonely, now looks on longingly, and questions every decision she’s ever made.

She thinks about calling the guy she let go a while back.

She considers calling over her booty call, for whom she has no real feelings.

Most of all, she wants to call the guy who broke her heart; the one that no matter what she does, she can never get out of her head.

After having these brief thoughts, she decides not to act on any of them, because she realizes something: none of them leave her with the kind of love she sees in her kitchen. Acting on these thoughts would simply be half-hearted attempts to create a feeling she has not yet been blessed with finding.

So she retires to her room and shuts the door. She curls up to read a book and find her happy place, but she can hear every gory detail of the lovers’ lives through her cardboard walls. Every sweet whisper, every moan, every creak the bed makes. She turns on music and she hopes it’ll be loud enough to block out both the sounds of the lovers and the thoughts created by her own self-doubt.

But then, the single girl wakes up the next morning. She wonders why she ever let anyone else get into her head. A promise is made not to fall victim ever again. And, with a little help from the sun, she re-energizes herself, laughs, and builds up her courage all over again.

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What You Should Say When Someone Asks Why You’re Still Single

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been asked “why are you still single?” Now, look around you: anyone who’s relatively normal has been probed with these words at some point. Someone asks me this question at least once a week. The implications of the inquisitors have always been lost on me; is the question meant to be a backhanded compliment? An insult? And, do they really expect me to come up with an “ah-ha!“-inducing answer?

I’ve found what people seem to assume is that choosing a great partner is like choosing a great dress. Newsflash: it‘s not. A dress gives it all up at first glance, whereas a potential partner always has tricks up his sleeve, both good and bad, and whether or not you should be with him isn’t a choice that can be made hastily.

In New York, every characteristic of every guy is magnified by 1,000, the same way precipitation is; a rainy New York day isn’t just a rainy day. It’s a circus. Your hair gets ruined in seconds, your umbrella turns inside-out and decides it no longer wants to serve a purpose, and you’re huffing and puffing by the time you’ve made it out of the storm. This, my friends, is exactly what it feels like to date a guy with issues in New York (and more often than not, he has issues). In the past few years, I’ve dated many-a-man. Sit tight as I walk you through a myriad of disasters:

*all names have been changed so as to protect the privacy of the dudes, just incase they happen upon this blog when I’m famous*

There was Mike, an acquaintance from high school, who took me to a Brooklyn indie-rock concert, and screamed “I wanna do you!” to the singer when she paused in a moment of pin-drop silence to ask the audience for song requests.
There was Oliver, a guy I met in a coat check of a nightclub, who thought it would be funny to ask random strangers questions about their grooming habits in 5-minute intervals on our date. You’re not a damn reporter, Oliver. You’re my date.
There was Kyle, an incredibly driven 9-5er working in a field where finance and law intersect, whom I met in my bar when I worked as a bartender. He was so perfect that he couldn’t get it up. Ever. Not once.
There was Declan, a witty Irish dude I met at a Long Island bar. On our first date, he made it abundantly clear he was a raging alcoholic. (For those of you who were wondering, yes, the stereotype holds true: Irishmen are unapologetic beer-guzzlers and are absolutely not chivalrous drunks).
There was Williamsburg Joe, a music producer who picked me up in a cafe in, you guessed it, Williamsburg, whose priorities were so well-formed he’d leave immediately after super intimate moments to go to his “friend’s” (read: half-naked and fully manic).
There was Bay Ridge John, whom I met at a hip Halloween party. He tried his best to convince me he had an Australian accent. I never told him I knew his accent was fake. When it came down to it, the situation was more sad than it was funny.
There was Bob 1, a college friend of a college friend, who had a pointer finger for a you-know-what. This isn’t hyperbole, it’s fact. There was Bob 2, a study abroad fellow, who ALSO had a pointer finger for a you-know-what (ok, seriously? In my defense, Bob 1 and Bob 2 had incredibly gorgeous faces).
Last, but not least, there was the guy with perfect proportions (if you catch my drift), whom I met on a sidewalk. Unfortunately, yet not surprisingly, he was so emotionally unavailable that he admitted he hadn’t cried in years. Years. Ladies, stay away from musicians. Just do it.

What’s my point, and what does all this have to do with what you should say when someone asks why you’re still single? My point is there’s always a catch. At least, up until now, there always has been. I’ve chosen to expose my seemingly bad judgment to the world because any writer who has the intention of making a difference would do just the same, and single girl, I empathize with you.

So, when someone asks you why you’re still single, should you say:
A) I’m too busy doing me
B) Men are bat sh*t
C) All the good ones are taken
or
D) All of the above?

Your answer is D) All of the above. D is the best choice because it indicts both you and men, and doesn’t imply that you’re a crazy b*tch, a man hater and/or a lesbian. Yes, I’ve run into bad luck, but I also fully acknowledge that I’m a work in progress. You, reader, most probably are, as well. And you know what? That’s okay. When people ask you the “single” question, respond with transparency and dignity, and they’ll back down.

I’ve dated the alcoholic, the limp d*ck, two pointer fingers, the emotionally unavailable, the bipolar personality, the insecure, the musician…the list goes on. Eh, at least now I know what I don’t want, right? The dating world is cruel, but it’s a trial-and-error process, single girl, so experiment away. At the end of the day, I’m still wide-eyed and hopeful, and you should be, too.

Remember: everything happens for a reason. As much as I wince and whine about being single, I probably inadvertently impose my single-dom onto myself. And if I didn’t, well, then I wouldn’t have anything to write about.

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