We all have that one perpetually single friend. You know the one that just seems to be so fiercely independent and/or just doesn’t have time for relationships because they’re too busy making their dreams come true, proclaiming to the world, and rather proudly at that, that they don’t need a man to make them happy or feel complete. Yes, that’s the one.
In my case, that one friend is me.
I was what you would call a late-bloomer growing up. As a preteen, I never had any big crushes that I gushed over with my friends, and as a teenager, I paid little heed to those mysterious creatures we call teenage boys. I was also a bit of a tomboy, and an oddball on top of that, and liked it that way.
Oh, don’t get me wrong — I noticed when someone was attractive — I’m far from asexual or aromantic (though I think it’d be easier on me if I was, but that’s a whole other story), but it was usually done with a disinterested observation that most people might find strange in a teenage girl. Instead, I was more interested in flailing over the fictional boys I found in books, movies and, yes, anime. To me, they were a cut above the rest…of reality, that is.
Anyway, this dismissive attitude towards actual, real live, flesh and blood boys obviously did not lend any help in landing me a boyfriend at 13 or even at 18, that magical time of adolescence when everyone my age started getting together with the opposite sex, so I never got to experience that awkward, do-or-die, me-against-the-world teenage romance.
In fact, my lack of interest to be in any kind of romantic relationship with anyone, young men or otherwise, carried over until after university, too. I just never found that giddy attraction that made you feel like you wanted to be with them, or touch them, or kiss them for that matter. I made friends with boys (and girls), I hung out with them, I noticed when they were attractive, but that was it.
As everyone I knew went on that merry-go-round of love — getting together, breaking up, finding someone new — and as my Facebook status remained stubbornly single over the years, I gave friends and family the only reason I could think of when they ask me why I’m still single: a good ol’ shrug and a casual “I haven’t met anyone my type, yet”.
And it was true, especially when I had lived in such a small town. No one interested me, no one excited me. For a long time…right up until I reached my twenties, I didn’t meet anyone I wanted to flirt with, to go on dates with, to have any form of any intimate contact with.
I knew I wasn’t a lesbian, and I knew I wasn’t asexual; my rather passionate sexual fantasies were proof of that!
So, what was wrong with me? As the years went by, I was actually starting to feel the pressure…started to question myself. Were my standards really too high, like many people had said? If so, am I even pretty enough or worthy enough to set the a bar so high?
There I was, already in my mid-twenties and never been kissed! Never even flirted properly with anyone, much less gone on a date! The thought that I might be lacking in some way, while not prominent or constant, was starting to make me crack a sweat, and it bothered me that I’d let something like this worry me (hello, I am a modern, independent woman, after all).
I had to ask myself though: did I want to be in a relationship with anyone?
My simple answer was yes. I did want to feel that rush, that excitement and whatever it was that people feel when they’d found their significant others. One thing was sure, though, I needed to cast a wider net.
Luckily, I started travelling soon after and then moved into a new city (well, country) months later. And so, armed with the ever popular dating tool of this generation Tinder, I jumped into the dating pool with gusto, hungry for the romantic (and sexual) experiences I had missed all these years. Of course, anyone who’s been in the dating game long enough knows that it’s not all sunshine and roses, and it hasn’t been at all, for me. It wore on my emotions, and I never knew until then how exhausting that was. Nevertheless, Tinder (and online dating) has given me a crash-course in love and relationships, and most importantly, self-discovery.
I’m still very much as single as a single person can be right now…and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think it’s the best place for me, right now. There’s definitely no rush. At the end of the day, dating is and can be fun, when you let it (even if it is oftentimes agonizing, scarring and almost always heartbreaking). The lessons you learn about yourself, about others and about how to love and be loved is invaluable, and I’m enjoying it every step of the way.
How to be Single is a series I plan to write that details all my dating and romantic exploits, for as long as I am in the dating game…which, from the way things are currently going, will be quite awhile…
Well, more fun for us! So strap on for the ride, it’s going to be a bumpy one!