Here’s the question I seem to be answering a lot of this holiday season: “Britany, why don’t you have a boyfriend?”
…so instead of explaining every single time to people the long winded answer, I’m just going to write a blog post about it, and the next time I get asked, I’ll send just the URL link right over, and we can pick up our conversation after they’ve completed the post:
1. I don’t believe in serial dating: My generation kind of has this problem with numbers and statistics (I’ll blame it on standardized testing and the push to “scientize and math-ize” everything). We think we are most validated when we can numerically count our existence: the number of friends I have, the amount of likes I gain, the quantity of men I date. In Happily Never After, you’ll read about this other guy I dated, Simon. No matter how things ended between us, I had a BLAST with him, and when I look back on our time together, I have very fond memories of stomping on seashells and wearing matching outfits and writing nerdy sonnets. I also think that, the more we expose ourselves to something, the more desensitized we become to it. Right, like the more video games I play, the less painful the violence seems, the more times I eat Chick-Fil-A in a week, the less tasty it becomes, the more I listen to “Hello”, the less empowering it is, the more Christmas’ I attend, the (more weight I gain), the less the allure of the Christmas lights has, the more men I date, the less exciting those really fun times together are, and since I’ll be spending a lifetime with someone, I want to make sure that time is quality. Plus, there’s nothing more deterring than finding out you touched one of my friends one time (because that’s kind of like me touching one of my friends and that’s gross).
2. No need to waste my time with people I already know it’s NOT going to work out with: Part of dating IS learning about yourself. Like, your date takes you to Top Golf, and you realize you are actually a much better left handed athlete, and you never knew that before. Or, your date asks you about your political affiliations, and you realize you are actually quite conservative. Or, you go on a really bad date and you realize you will never be able to get past someone with bad teeth. All of those experiences teach you something about yourself. I’ve done a whole lot of soul searching, observations of myself and the world, I can most certainly tell you the characteristics that WILL work for me, and those that cannot. While my superpower is forgiveness, I also believe that our actions and behaviors speak volumes about who we are as people. Just the other day, I was at a social gathering, and I was observing all the eligible bachelors around me. My eye is tracked to this one potentially cute guy, until I see him start getting quite sloppy drunk and hanging on a bunch of girls. I talk to this one guy, and he makes mention of driving home tonight, and I realize his moral code might be a little off from mine. And, this third guy tells me he would never own a dog in his life. Yeah, there’s obviously a girl out there for you, but it’s just not me, and there’s no point in me trying to date you when I already know we are terrible matches for each other.
3. All my male roles are filled: The idea is that, as the girlfriend, I do certain things for you: match your clothes, pack your lunch, keep up on the social planning. And, as the boyfriend, you do other things for me: pull my car out of the ditch, hunt the mouse that ran over my back whilst sleeping, fix the shower when it breaks, logic-ize my emotional breakdowns. But, lucky for me, I have plenty of men in my life who can come to my rescue: my room mate, my dad, my brother, other people’s boyfriends/husbands. Someday, they will all get tired of helping me, but I might as well maximize their generosity while it still exists.
And, on that note, my time is also adequately and sufficiently filled. I’ve done a lot of rebuilding in the last couple of years, and I’m really enjoying the outcome of that now. I’ve been existing for the last 25 years without you, so you are going to have to find time in between my already busy schedule to see me.
4. People are big messes: While we know people, we don’t always know people. It’s really easy to cover up a gambling addiction, a drinking problem, an aggressive personality when you work with someone a few hours a day, or you see them out occasionally on the weekends; I think people are bigger messes than we think. The older I get, the more books I read, the more people I meet, the more I realize just how different my interaction with the world is than everyone else’s (which should be true for most of us). Don’t get me wrong–I live in my own kind of big mess, but one big mess is enough for me to handle, and as soon as people start dumping their big messes on me, I feel my role shifting from “date-ee” to “friend”. I carry quite a bit of knowledge about mental health, and I love to help people, but as someone I might date, our big messes kind of have to coincide. Like, I’ve overcome my break up, so if you are still conquering yours, we can be friends, but we can’t date, for the mere fact that I’m in a different place than you are. Or, you resorting to shots of Fireball as a coping mechanism isn’t going to work, because I’ll be at yoga with mine. Your insecurities about your job can’t suppress my dreams for my own. People are selfish, lost, have meaningless relationships. They party too much, sleep too long, carry these festering wounds. And, that’s fine–we can be friends. But, just friends.
5. I’d rather be by myself than treated like crap: A recent development in my personality is that I can’t lie. I might be able to find a more tactful way to say something than what my mind is really thinking, but I can’t lie, I can’t pretend, I can’t fake it. If I don’t like you, I can’t make myself like you just because everyone is saying I should get a boyfriend. We all know that relationships take A LOT of work, and you end up doing a lot of personality bending to co-exist with someone else, and if I think you are worth it, I’m more than willing to look into that, but if not, no point in trying to be someone I’m not for something that isn’t going to work out anyways.
Above all else, I want to be treated well. Those men listed above have set great examples for me. My list of criteria for my future husband includes (a) outdoorsy, (b) intellectual, (c) a dog lover, (d) hot, but I would give up any of those things just to be treated well. You could be the tire rotater in the Wal-Mart auto shop, and if you treat me well, I’m picking you over any money-making asshole. On New Years, a group of friends and I were walking between apartments. We went through some really sketchy groups of loiters on the few block walk, and, instinctively, each of those guys made sure to follow each of us girls to make sure we made it out safely. They made sure to offer us warmer articles of clothing, to fill up the gas tank. What these behaviors translate to me is that you are thoughtful and selfless. While I would consider myself a raging feminist, I also believe there are roles women play, and roles that men play. As the man, you offer to pay the bill, hold the door open for me, bring up all the awkward relationship-defining questions, and in turn, I will engage you in meaningful discussion, make sure I look good so you can impress your friends, be gracious and recognize your gestures, and remain faithful, honest, and reliable. And sadly, these set of manners are missing from our society, so if you don’t have them, I’d rather be single than treated like crap.
6. (I’m adding this in because it’s unique to me) I’m focused on my writing: 2015 has been a big year for me in terms of writing. I published a book, got picked up by a few platforms, significantly increased my influence, and I know that having a boyfriend would also change what I write about. When I run out of those topics and shift into that period of my life, I’ll probably write about having a boyfriend and how much I love him and blah blah blah, but right now, I’m writing about the single stuff and that’s plenty fulfilling for me.
So, there’s the long winded reason as to why I choose to be single, and it makes me NO LESS of a person.