I am sure you are all familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark. Here is a children’s Sunday school refresher: the world has become incredibly sinful and the Lord decides to start over. He tells Noah, the last good guy standing, to build an ark and gather his family and two animals (male and female) of every species. I can imagine what it would feel like to be zebra number three watching all the animals go into the ark two by two. “Two, two, two….oh shit it’s just me!”
The older I get the more I feel like the extra zebra, lion, rhino, etc. My twenties seems like a proverbial Noah’s ark, with everyone I know pairing up and heading into the ark of relationships, leaving me without an umbrella. Lest you say I am overly sensitive, I have strong (ok shaky) Facebook statistics on my side. Being a scientist by nature, I like to deal with facts. They are harder to refute than the vague emotional feeling that the world is pairing up. So I went to Facebook, and yes, systematically went through every person I am “friends” to determine their relationship status. My categories are as follows: Married, Engaged, In a Relationship, Single, and I have no clue about your life because we really aren’t friends and you do not provide information about yourself (understandably shortened to unknown).
Nearly 40% of the people I know are married and another 23% are in some form of a relationship. Finally, an actual numerical justification for my feeling that I may soon be the last single woman left among my friends. But here is the thing, I don’t really mind being single, it’s the fact that no one else is that makes it hard. You can only be the third wheel at so many events before you get a little tired of it. And then there are all the questions you get. Moving to conservative Texas, and then to Ohio, the past 8 months have been same annoying queries over and over. “Are you married?” “So you really just moved out here to a place where you know no one for a job?” “Aren’t you lonely?”
To be honest with you, dating was never a priority. For the past fifteen years or so I have been nearly neurotically focused on my education and career. If some man came into the picture and didn’t mess up my plans, then sure I would be interested in that. Clearly, this never happened. Now that I am starting to get settled in my career, I decided maybe it was time to focus on my personal life (ok starting one). For all my friends out there, staring comfortably at their significant other, let me tell you what it is like in the late twenties arena of dating. IT IS PURE HELL! I work alone, I live alone, I travel a ton, and I seem to enjoy moving to states I have never been to about every six months. So, how is a girl like me to meet eligible men? That’s right the internet. No long a disturbing, desperate move, online dating has become the new standard of meeting people. The virtual bar world, with less cigarette smoke, better music, and the comfort of the keyboard to bolster your communication skills.
Thus I entered into an extremely awkward two month period of dating. There is nothing like dating to bring up all your half-buried insecurities. At some point in the journey, I decided I was an emotionally dead woman, with excellent people skills. And according to the guy who had a panic attack in the middle of coffee, “I am the most intimidating woman” he has ever met. Yes, that is right me. I have more amazingly weird dating experiences, but the wounds are still too fresh.
So after surrendering the fate of my love life to a computer data base somewhere in California, and having it shift through the apparent “thousands of people” that join daily, only to come up with nothing in the end, I have learned that single is just who I am (apologies for the world’s longest run on sentence). In fact, single is all I know. It’s easy, it’s comfortable, and there is freedom in it. By God, if I want to walk around naked, throw my stuff all over the floor, eat rice for dinner, and not come home on time, I can! I don’t report to anyone, I don’t have to check with anyone to see if I can do something, I just do what I want to do. Sure, I get lonely, sure I don’t want to be 47, alone with 500 cats, but I also don’t want to settle just so I can feel like everyone else. So go ahead and head into the ark all you couples, I know how to swim!