Let me set the scene for you: It is a random Thursday night and you are on your first date with someone. You spent hours obsessing over your hair, your clothes, and whether to wear lipstick or not. And it must have worked because the date is going really well. You are in a coffee shop, perched on a stool next to your date… laughing and smiling and drinking your chai seductively. You have moved to the coffee shop after having dinner for hours… and your chatting about life continues. And then inevitably, the dreaded question comes up:
“So why are you still single?”
I feel like whenever anyone asks that question they are playing a game of chicken. “Are you going to give me the real answer?” or “Are you going to give me the stylized and socially acceptable version?” But in the end, everyone loses because even the real answer is often something we are unaware. For me, I have often used the “I haven’t found the right person,” which really means… I am afraid to get married. And while one could suggest this stems from being hurt in the past… I am actually more evolved than that.
I am a self-professed commitment-phobe. For example, when I can’t decide between two handbags… I just buy both. I can’t lease anything for longer than a year. Buy a house? No way. To cut my hair or keep it long? Keep it brown or go back to blond? Decision-making can be quite the fucking mess.
Women being afraid to get married is a newer phenomenon. In the past (like 1900), getting married for women meant a lifetime of security, largely because your gender roles were set. You would stay home wearing uncomfortable corsets while you bore children as the result of having sex only in the missionary position, while not enjoying it (this might not be entirely true, but this is how the Victorian times come across to me). If you didn’t choose option A, option B was to become the spinster Aunt who lived in the attic with several cats and extremely dour clothing (because being a true cat lady is never out of style).
Men in the Victorian era, didn’t have to give up as much. Men still got to galavant around town wearing top hats, smoking cigars, and many had affairs where they were lucky enough to have sex not in the missionary position (because being a loose woman also never goes out of style… and option C, prostitution, is the oldest recorded profession).
Nowadays, women have so many more options. But they still fit in between lines or categories…. Even if the lines are a bit blurred. Here is how I see it rolling out for me personally:
If I were to choose a modern version of option A, here are my fears:
I am afraid that I too, will become a mom who posts on facebook about every gross bowel movement that their child has. That’s right friends, I said it. I know how hard every mom works to raise their child, but let’s get real here: We may have gone to high school or college together, but I don’t know your middle name, or even what street you live on. But I know when your kid’s diahrrhea was “OMG soooo gross. Had to change Hunter’s clothing three times today because of so much poop.” I know that we all want to share our lives, it would be quite hypocritical of me to say otherwise. But let’s hope that things stay interesting enough that I don’t have to write about bowel movements.
I can’t choose option B because I hate cats.
Most men think women’s minds and romantic inclinations have been hijacked by romantic comedies and chick lit novels. Not true. You think I want a romantic comedy? You think I want you to show up outside my house in the rain and profess your undying love for me? Guess what, I don’t. I had a fairytale, and it too went up in flames. Like NASCAR fucking flames. Also, if you show up in the rain to profess your undying love, be sure to bring a taser… since I don’t live in the nicest of neighborhoods. Nothing says I love you like a good mugging.
Pretty much every single woman over the age of 27 has had some sort of fairytale or deep romantic love that went south (and I don’t mean that he moved to Australia). And while what most women want is varied by lifestyle, sexual preference, and varying levels of “daddy issues,” there are a couple of common themes:
*We want someone who is not a sociopath. Because I don’t want to find out in five years that you are hoarding weird dolls in a secret basement closet or have some strange anger issue (because after I read “Gone Girl,” I literally called all my close family and friends to make sure they weren’t sociopaths). I get that everyone has their baggage… just talk to someone about it. Like a licensed professional who can report you to the police if you are really nuts.
*I want someone who has normal addictions… not fucked up weird ones that will end up on the Jerry Springer show one day.
-Acceptable addictions are as follows: Coffee, microbrews, exercise, reading national geographic, being pathological about buying large textbooks, crosswords, cars, nice Gucci loafers, etc. Normal things that you can talk about with your friends that won’t prompt them to call the police and have your family and pets removed from your home.
-Non-acceptable addictions: porn, gambling, kinky sex practices that require any sort of protective gear or electrical current, hoarding of any type, alcohol or drug issues, obsessive discussions about your mother or third grade teacher, etc.
And here is the truth about option C: Women can now have sex outside of the missionary position and they are allowed to enjoy it! And we don’t have to be labeled as prostitutes! So guess what guys… we too are scared to give up the freedom of sleeping with several people. We are scared of giving up an eternally clean space that will become dirty once you enter it. We are afraid to give up our designer floral print chair cushions, and our well furnished homes so that you can hang a lighted Budweiser sign in the fucking living room. I have style, good taste, and I respect myself enough to admit that to myself and to you.
Believe it or not, this was supposed to be a pro-marriage post… but it sounds everything but that. I guess what I am trying to say is… Guys, get over yourselves. These days, women are giving up just as much as you when choosing to enter into a marriage. A relationship with someone should be about gaining something you lack. Being with someone who makes you laugh. And realizing that you will have to sacrifice a part of yourself/your life to be with someone. But you should be gaining something in return.
Go forth and love people!