Recently, I read an article about a teacher who quit her job after no longer being able to withstand modern teaching methods. She watched as her students struggled and became frustrated when they were all forced to learn the same methods, the same way, at the same time.
The students who weren’t able to grasp concepts the same way as others who picked them up quickly felt like there was something wrong with them. They wanted to learn- it wasn’t for lack of effort- they just needed a different process. And preferring to look like the “bad kid” instead of the “stupid kid”, they would act out. Or, they would simply give up all together.
I couldn’t help but notice the similarities with dating these days.
In a culture where everything is instant, socially broadcast and easily replaced, its easy to figure out who’s in love…. and who’s single. Its also equally easy to feel the pressure of your status more than ever- because apparently, it says A LOT about you. Accurate or not. And as someone happily residing in Singleville, I. Am. Over. It.
As I’ve mentioned before, in my group of friends, I’m “that girl“. Notoriously single, and rather comfortable with it, I’m used to being questioned and prodded by my friends like a circus monkey. I cant really blame them- my dating life is WAY more comical than anything you’ll find on Netflix. And I don’t mind dishing. Plus, it kinda helps me cope with the trauma from bad dates with clueless fuck boys. Yes, wine and laughter really does cure ALL.
But as open as I am about my failed romances- and I use that term loosely- there is one question that I find not only unnecessary, but offensive:
Why are you still single?
Um, gee, well, it might be that chain letter I never forwarded back in 1998. Or my inability to cook. Or maybe, totally unbeknownst to me, I’m actually insane. Plus, I kinda dig cats. Oh, and I’m also vegetarian?
Or maybe- how about this: What business is it of yours?
To me, asking someone why they’re single is really just a polite way of asking what’s wrong with them. Like my current status in life is so horrible and unimaginable, there must be SOME reasonable explanation. This is when people usually reply with bullshit answers to avoid pity and make them look less grotesque and more human: I work too much… I’m just focusing on me right now… I’m waiting for Adam Levine to become available again (please God!!)… So, just to keep things fair, I usually just answer the question with another question:
How are you still not?
Pow. And this is the exact moment where everyone can grab their popcorn and wait for the shit show to begin. Because apparently asking someone for a reasonable explanation on how they’ve managed to find someone to put up with their flaws is frowned upon.
And that right there is what we call a double standard.
You get my point? I’m not damaged goods. I’m not unlovable. And I’m certainly not crazy. I’m not anything but me. Like the frustrated kids in class, I’m simply operating on a different system. And while my system may not be the same as yours, I’ll still get the right answer.
(And by the way- is it not complete irony that I was in all Honors classes??)
My point is, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME. There’s no dark and twisty past. No fear of commitment. Except maybe to the wrong guy. So what if I haven’t followed a pre-determined timeline of dating, by basic methods, where the final exam is marriage. The SAT’s of love. And let me just say- there are quite a few of you that have already failed that one miserably.
Maybe I’m fine taking all the prep courses I can for now. So when the time comes to apply all that knowledge, I’ll knock it clear out of the park.
Maybe, while everyone else is cheating off each other’s papers, I’m simply concentrating on my own. On my time. My way.
And maybe… just maybe, I actually care so much about it, that I want to be the best one in the class. The Valedictorian of my life. And in all honesty, looking back, my time being single has never been time wasted. I am someone who is constantly evolving. Constantly learning. Probably more so than others. And there has been no greater teacher than my time with my own self. And while I’m not saying there aren’t things to discover with the help of someone else, I am saying that you need to know yourself first. Cause any relationship prior to that isn’t a relationship at all- its a distraction.
So in case you haven’t caught on yet- being single has nothing to with anyone but ME. Forget the god awful quotes you read on Tumbler. You know which ones I’m talking about…
Yeah. Exactly. Stop posting that ridiculous shit. “Amazing” should be a no-brainer. It should be the bare minimum of traits in your significant other. It should not need a Pinterest board to remind you- or anyone else– of that. Instead, remind yourself of your own amazing attributes. They are SO much more interesting.
As we grow, we go through our own personal life experiences at different times. Our first date… Our first kiss… Our first love… Our second… Some people go on to Grad School. Some never even finish High School. These are the very factors that make each of us so beautifully unique. So why should anything else have an expiration date. There are no numbers stamped on me that say “Best by ##/##/####”. And yet here we all are, happily going on about our days, doing the best we can, trying to achieve our own goals. So just like all the other beautiful, unique factors that make you YOU, who is anyone to determine the timeline for all the things still to come?
So the next time someone asks why you’re still single- tell them the truth.
That you’re not single.
In fact, you’re more than just fine-
(Although I might start forwarding those chain letters- just in case… ;))