He’s single because this is his profile picture on the dating site.
I’m single because the dating site suggested his profile to me.
He’s an aspiring screenwriter, really. I guess he’s written some and he works now, but he’s not really a screenwriter. He did look like a screenwriter. His hair was floppy and he was kind of short. Maybe he just kind of looked like the one other screenwriter I’d met. He hadn’t shaved, but he had in some of his other pictures, so I was hopeful. I was a minute early and he was over a half hour late! There were delays on the train, he apologized via textmessages and got a cab to be faster, so I tried to hide how annoyed I was. I didn’t that well; I was just kind of quiet and avoiding eye contact when he said “Yeah, my bad” a few times upon meeting me. I think he did feel bad about it, but I’d also still been standing in the cold outside of a restaurant for 40 minutes, not really wanting to pay for an extra drink before he arrived. It was a small restaurant and there wasn’t really anywhere to sit and wait inside. The thing was, it wasn’t even just train delays. He hadn’t checked the train schedule, hadn’t taken the closest train, and had missed his stop. Some of his lateness could have been prevented. I started to wonder if he’d made a reservation. He hadn’t. We waited to be seated. It wasn’t a long wait, but again I felt like he was unprepared. I was sort of caught off guard and impressed that the date from last weekend had made a reservation. I did like how prepared he had been. I looked around the restaurant and saw better looking people I wished I was with instead. Maybe they weren’t even better dates, but my date’s slightly grungy look wasn’t doing it for me. It’s been a while since I’d been with someone more than just “okay” on the attractive scale. I know looks aren’t everything, but after a while one starts to wonder if there’s just some league they’re out of.
We talked about work. I talked about my job a lot. He talked about his job. We talked about drug experiences a little and then it was over. That was it. Less than two hours together. He lived pretty far, too. He didn’t offer to pay. He automatically assumed we’d split it. We did split it. I pretended this was fine. But he was late, shouldn’t he have made a gesture to at least buy my drink or something? His dish was a dollar more, for the record. We walked to the train together. “You’re not taking your to-go bag from the restaurant?” he asked as we entered the train station. “Why didn’t you remind me?! Why are you reminding me now?!” I asked him. He said he figured I didn’t want it. Why would I have asked for it and then decided I didn’t want it 5 minutes later just leaving it on the table?! I barely ate my food and had been looking forward to finishing it later. I could see myself having a mini meltdown over it if we’d known each other better. But we didn’t. So, I didn’t say anything else. I just silently took away another point from him. One for being late. One for not offering to pay and one for not reminding me to take my leftover food when he saw me leave it. Three strikes you’re out? He didn’t know I was into the clean-shaven look, so I couldn’t really count that. When the train arrived I asked which way it was headed. Not my direction. He was already on it. “uhh bye” I said. He said “Nice meeting you!” as the train doors closed. And that was how it ended. I felt stupid for actually having hope this one would be better than the last one.
My train arrived shortly after. I sat down and texted my date from a few weeks ago, asking how his weekend was going. I asked what he was up to and he sort of dodged the question. Maybe he had another date. I asked him if he wanted to hang out next weekend. He said “if he’s free” he’d be up for it. I asked what determined him being free and he gave some kind of philosophical answer. I assume he’s waiting to see if a better date comes along first. Maybe it was whoever he slept with last Saturday when I’d asked that question. I looked at the textmessage the guy from last weekend had sent. It’d been a week since we spoke and I was hoping we could keep the silence going, but he had texted me earlier that afternoon, “where’d you go?” I replied then, “No where, just been busy.” Busy, yeah. “How’s the night?” he asked. “Going to sleep.” I answered. It wasn’t that far off from true. (At 1am he replied, “meh.”) Walking home I picked up my phone thinking about asking my date from a few weeks ago to come over. I decided against it and dropped my phone back in my bag. Single life is home in bed early and alone on a Saturday night after a boring date.
That’s the textmessage I sent my bestfriend with the thought of my upcoming date this weekend, and my date from last weekend. (The one I wasn’t really attracted to.) I thought about him for a moment. I didn’t want to see him again. I haven’t been in a relationship in four years. I picked up my cellphone and texted my date from a couple of weeks ago who had spent the night (not sexually.) “When are we going to hang out again?!” I asked. We chatted a bit. I opened the FaceBook conversation with my foreign crush and starred at the last three messages. The first one was from about three weeks ago. He apologized about being incognito over the last few weeks, blaming it on work keeping him busy and such. It probably wasn’t the real reason, but whatever our “relationship” was, wasn’t real either, so I really didn’t mind. At least he was apologizing and therefore still somewhat interested. The second was my response about it being cool and how I’d only been messaging him to do my best to stay in touch with someone who lived so far away. I’d been trying to ask him questions about his life to get to know him better, and because I thought he might enjoy talking about himself. The third message was a slightly drunk message from me about wanting to send him sexy pictures. I’d sent that one last week. Both of my messages were unread. I am trying to pretend I think it’s because he’s busy at work and not because he’s met someone more interesting at the moment. I’m trying to pretend the thought hasn’t crossed my mind that he can change the address the airport shuttle brings him to and that he isn’t still staying over in September.
My cellphone beeped and I grabbed it. A textmessage from my mom. I put it back down. I picked it up again and texted the date who’d slept over. I steered the conversation sexual. He was pretty reserved and not very sexual and I felt like pushing his limits, just poke him a bit. He was the one who had (not) surprised me with a low number of sexual partners in his lifetime. “When was the last time you slept with someone?” I asked. “Saturday,” He answered. “Lol easy to remember,” I answered like it wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t a big deal, of course. I wasn’t expecting that, though. Who could it have been? Was it one of his friends in his recent FaceBook pictures? Did he sleep with someone he didn’t know well? Had he already started getting into something serious with someone? Was it his ex? Did I care? Why did I care? I had shown zero effort to see him over the last few weeks. He’d given off the friend vibe. I’d felt awkward about the fact that he seemed like he had this crush on me and now I felt…Could I actually be feeling jealous? What did I feel jealous about? Maybe it wasn’t a desire to be with him so much as a desire to have something (someone) of my own. I switched textmessage windows to the conversation with the guy I’d decided to meet this upcoming weekend. He’s so new to the picture I haven’t mentioned him before. He was from the dating app I’d only met one person from so far. “So what are we doing this weekend, where are we going?” I locked in a time and place for Saturday night. I switched textmessage windows back and started awkwardly flirting with him. I wasn’t intentionally flirting, but rereading the messages to myself, what else was I doing? I put my phone back down. This is me being bored and craving attention. This is me missing having a significant other. This is me being tired of dating.
This is basically a journal entry, but maybe you can relate to some of it…
I was recently asked if I’d been updating this blog. I explained that I’d let too many friends know about its’ existence and felt knowing certain eyes could be on it would alter or limit my writing. Maybe enough time has passed that I feel like enough people forgot about it again. That’s only half of it. I haven’t been dating either. The title of this blog really holds true. I stopped dating the last person I was seeing because I felt like seeing him once a week took too much time away from my hobbies and alone-time. Granted, I wasn’t that interested in him to begin with, but it’s nice to be content with single life. Only then, scrolling through FaceBook I start to think I’m supposed to be married or have children by now. Being single at this age starts to feel like you’re singled-out. I’m well aware that I only feel this way seeing friends’ photos and comparing myself to the way they portray their own lives on FaceBook, and that it’s causing me to think I’m “supposed” to do this or that, but regardless, that feeling comes over me every now and then. It causes me to make a lame attempt at redoing my online dating profile and skim through profiles for five minutes. That usually results in sighing, “I’m going to die alone” and closing the web browser. That has been the extent of my dating life, lately. If you’d even consider it one. I’m not even into kids. I see them on the train, pulling on their parents, screaming, bumping into me without an understanding of personal space, and I’m always convinced it’s not the life altering event I’d like to experience. So, I bounce back and forth between that reality and the fantasy world of FaceBook’s pressure and eventually find myself sitting home in my underwear on a three day weekend sipping wine by myself…and writing this.
I still read the messages that come through my dating site inbox, only I answer them out loud. “Hi, how’s your week going?” gets “Great, without you in it.” “Hey, want to grab a drink?” gets “Not with you.” “You’re really hot!” gets “You’re not.” These are all messages from men. Not a single woman ever messages me or replies to my messages. I’m starting to give up on the idea that I’ll ever be in any type of serious relationship with a woman. It’s not that it was “just some phase” like some of my friends called it. As I’ve put it, women just don’t like me, it doesn’t matter if I like them. I know that’s kind of presumptuous but I don’t know what else to make of it. At gay bars I haven’t come up with great answers to a lot of specific questions about my sexual preferences, ‘nor am I into lying. I started dating women when I realized I didn’t have to be boxed into the “straight” category if I was sexually attracted to some women, yet it seems that everyone else in the world still likes to box everyone they meet into some category. Most of them don’t take the idea of being attracted to both sexes seriously, either. And, being a virgin (with women) at this age is a huge turn off which I can’t seem to find a way around yet. It’s sort of like when you’re trying to get your first credit card and they tell you that you need to build a credit history to get one, but you need a credit card to build a credit history. Or when you try to get your first job but every job will only hire you if you’ve got experience at a previous job. But, I do have a credit card and a job now.
I have written something similar to this in the past and touched upon the idea in other posts, but as seasonal depression is about to set in for many, I thought I’d bring it up again. If you’re single and in my age-range, in your mid-20’s/30’s, I’d like to remind you that there presently is no pressure to get married and have children. Sure, the occasional relative may make a comment, and you might have a few close friends who are at this place in their life, but it doesn’t mean you’re amongst the last to find someone. It’s nearly entirely FaceBook’s fault to blame for many of us feeling this way. We’ve so quickly accepted FaceBook as a social norm, and become so used to it in such a short period of time, we’ve forgotten what this age would have been like had we grown up without it. We wouldn’t see every update of every moment of every person we’d ever attended elementary school with. We wouldn’t know what our ex, their cousins, and the people we hung out with in high school were up to these days. Of course, you’d get an invitation to a wedding or two of those you’re close to. You’d get a few updates at your high school reunion. You’d hear a mention, in passing here and there, of who’s doing what nowadays. “Did you hear so and so got engaged last fall?” “I ran into so and so. Now they’re working over at that place.” But you wouldn’t know the moment they were engaged, the moment they broke up, the moment they found out their baby’s gender. It gives a feeling no one in our past has felt, of it all happening at once, when we aren’t a part of it and should be. It’s FaceBook that we’re instantly updating and uploading our lives to. FaceBook is instantly broadcasting us to the world and it’s FaceBook that’s instantly supplying us with every detail of everyone we’ve ever met. Some of us may keep a smaller number of friends, but for the most part you have some people added who would’ve been in your past and out of your life by now that you’re still hearing news about.
The feeling that you’re not in competition with just your closest friends (not that you should be competing/comparing yourself to your friends either) and now it’s also everyone you’ve met in your life, adds pressure to the idea that you should be at the same point in your life as “everyone” else. You feel like you need to catch up because the idea that “everyone” is getting married, engaged, or having children except you means there’s something wrong. There isn’t. Statistically, yes, in general this is the age that most people do begin these journeys, but there isn’t any reason to feel like we should all be at the same places in our lives at the same time. We’re stuck in this perception of daily updates on marriages, engagements, and pregnancies, that puts on this illusion of being part of the minority. How often do we let the break-ups we see on FaceBook linger in our minds? It’s the marriages and engagements which are always highlighted. (Unless of course it’s you’re crush who’s newly available again.)
The end all accomplishment in life is not your marriage or children. It’s living your life in the way that makes you the happiest. Though, these things can of course accompany you in that, it does not necessarily mean these are the things that you should be concerned with at this moment. I do not have children and I have never been married, so I cannot fairly tell you about the good or bad aspects of either. But I know from others, and other life experiences, there are stresses and grievances that come with these things as well. Do we not have enough stresses the way our current lives are? Why is it now that we should trade in certain stresses for new ones? We should not be in such a rush to jump on board and rather embrace that time, whenever it is right for us (possibly never, for some who choose it.) We should be busying ourselves with what we most enjoy now, and letting relationships fall into place as they may along the way. How many stand-up comedians knock marriage? We laugh, because it’s usually true. (I recommend watching “Aziz Ansari – Buried Alive” on NetFlix, if you’re into that kind of humor.) How many TV shows and movies are about meeting the person you end up with when you least expect it? It’s a relatable idea. How often do those movies end, leaving us with the impression that the two people lived happily ever after, in marriage? How unrealistic is it to believe the end of what you do with your life is marriage and/or children? Yet many of us are living each day under the impression that it is. How many times in your own life were you just in the right place at the right time for something?
Actively looking for a partner doesn’t mean you need to constantly skim your dating profile and send out messages, or frequent bars to meet someone. It’s not the kind of thing that can be forced. More times than not, it’s when we’re not looking that we meet someone. It’s when we’re going about our lives that someone new comes along and stays in our lives. You can be open to dating, while just being out in the world. We need to let go of the idea that we’re amongst the last to find one person to spend the other 50 or so years of our lives with. Many of us need to shift our focus back to ourselves rather than making a new relationship our biggest priority.
We’re seeing news about our friends, surrounding countries, local communities, and scientific breakthroughs at a rate none of us have ever been accustom to until today. And yes, for the most part these breakthroughs in technology are positive. For the most part, they do benefit us, but we need to also accept that we may not be growing as a society or species, as quickly. We need to think about things a bit more big picture, sometimes. We’re living as if our perception of the world hasn’t been altered at this rapid rate. We’re growing up either born into it (the younger generation), or switching over later in life, and maybe it’s not something all of us were prepared for. The pace of everything has shifted. We expect instant gratification from everything, and we’re becoming impatient. How many of us would use the internet on a 56K modem without something incredible in exchange? How many of us pull our food out of the microwave 15 seconds early? How many of us feel our entire day thrown off track when we miss our train, though the next one is less than 10 minutes away? We’re multitasking, overloading ourselves, and paying less attention to each detail at hand. We’re assuming this overload of thoughts/emotions is natural, when it isn’t.
I’m not saying everything we do should revert back to a slower pace, but the rate at which it’s increased, and volume of what information/every day activities have been affected by our rapid growth of technology is surely something to consider when our brains haven’t had all that much time to adapt. We just need to be aware of it. The moment you may have spent wondering if you’re going to wind up alone because of the comment your aunt made at Thanksgiving would have soon vanished, if it weren’t for FaceBook feeding you updates about everyone else’s accomplishments. They even announce every engagement and marriage on the upper right corner now, as if it wasn’t enough to see it pop up in the news feed. (I’m clicking the “X” next to one on my own at this very moment, actually.) FaceBook also created a “Life Events” timeline which one can simply list and store all of their accomplishments. We can compare ourselves up to the number of graduations, vacations, engagements, and children someone else has had to see how we stack up. Every event big, or small, is recorded and exploited. We’re constantly comparing each other to our friends and every person we’ve ever met. We want to fit in, so we’re constantly continuing this cycle, posting about ourselves, so that others will think we’re just as accomplished as they are.
Do I think FaceBook is some evil that we should stop? No. I think there is still much good it does in connecting people, as long as it’s not abused. As long as it helps you socialize with someone you’d have otherwise lost touch in, in the real world, it’s still a positive tool. I just think that we need to be conscious of it altering our perception of those around us. Most people don’t post about all of the times they were doing absolutely nothing. Most people who post constant updates spend more time on their computer or cellphone than enjoying what they’re actually posting about. For the most part, we see the best of people’s lives collaged in one place, day after day and use it as a reminder to “keep up.” We need to keep at our own paces, and be content with where and who we are. We need to remember life outside of FaceBook.