As you are all aware (or should be – haven’t you been following my pathetic ramblings?) I have recently upped my hunt for a significant other.
You also should know that part of my effort has included opening up time in my schedule to date – time that I have been using to spend with myself.
I’m actually a pretty fascinating person to spend time. For instance, the other night, I challenged myself to really look at why I was suddenly so desirous to have a boyfriend.
“Simple,” I responded. “I’m finally at a point in my life where I am happy, content even. And I want to share that happiness with someone.”
I crossed my arms. “If you are so happy, why do you need someone else in your life?”
I rolled my eyes. “I didn’t say I needed someone. I said I wanted someone.”
“Well, it just seems to me that if you are so happy, you might be hesitant to bring someone in who screw it all up.”
I was aghast. “Are you suggesting I’m not happy?”
“Not at all,” I smirked. “I just find the timing of it all very convenient.”
“And what is that supposed to mean?”
I leaned back in my chair, “You don’t find it interesting that the exact time you want a boyfriend just happens to coincide with the first time in your life more of your friends are in relationships than aren’t?”
I hadn’t thought about it that way and of course I could tell that I hit a nerve. Man, I hate when I get all smug.
When I first moved to Philadelphia I lived with a gay man I will call Keating. And, actually, Keating’s niece (who was my age and how I happened to move into the house) also lived with us. Keating thought it was funny that he was in his 30s living with two, single girls in their early 20s, so he nicknamed our home Keating’s Home for Wayward Girls.
Keating didn’t just provide a roof over our head, three square meals a day, and a cocktail hour everyday, promptly at five, he also provided us an education. I can safely say, without Keating I wouldn’t be the woman you read before you today. He introduced me to Dorothy Parker, Liz Phair, and Martha Stewart. He taught me about art, and music, and people, and food. Cripes, before I met Keating I didn’t like wine. Can you believe there was ever a time in my life that I didn’t like wine?
One of Keating’s concerns about me (he had several) was what he called my Dragon Lady persona. Keating wasn’t a fan of my gruff exterior, my brutal honesty, the way I chewed men up and spit them out just for sport. He suggested I try letting someone in, letting them actually get to know me instead of having them run the deadly obstacle course I had set up around myself. He warned that his sort of attitude would keep me single forever.
My response? How do you think a 22-year-old me would respond? I told him he didn’t know what he was talking about. That if a guy wanted to be with me, he had to accept all of me, including the dragon lady side of me because that is who I am – take it or leave it.
Now, of course, I still believe this. But I think what Keating was trying to get at, and what I didn’t understand then, was that I’m not just a dragon lady. Hell, to be perfectly honest, I’m not even mostly dragon lady. But back when I was a scared 22-year-old, I felt safer as a dragon lady than as someone’s girlfriend.
In my return rant to Keating back in the day, I also added that I loved being single and that I don’t care if I’m single for the rest of my life.
He responded that being single is fun in the your 20s but not so in your 30s and 40s when hanging out at a bar grows tiresome and all of your friends are in relationships.
These are the words that have been ringing in my ears ever since I pointed out to myself that for the first time since the seventh grade I’m single when all of my closest friends have boyfriends.
I mean, I’m still happy being single, right? It’s still fun, right? My sudden urge to have a boyfriend is coming from a desire to share my fun, happy life, not from fear that I am going to be left behind, right? This isn’t some residual effect of the trauma of once being the cheese in the game Farmer and the Dell, right?
I honestly can’t answer these questions. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’m over being selected as the cheese that one time in kindergarten. But the rest are sort of fuzzy. And maybe it shouldn’t matter what my motives are, but it does to me. I have spent the last decade telling anyone that would listen that I am a healthy, happy single woman and that I don’t mind if I spend the rest of my life this way.
Was I lying that whole time?