As they are virtually broke college students, my four roommates decided that DIY Valentine’s Day gifts for their perfect, sweet, cute boyfriends would be the way to go this year.
Needless to say, my dorm’s living area has regularly featured a charming explosion of love-colored construction paper, appreciation-infused posters/cards/booklets/coolers (we had a good mix going) and a disconcerting amount of photos featuring happily-posed couples all over the room.
I think I’m just getting over a middle school-high from the constant glue smell permeating into my bedroom.
But it wasn’t until the middle to the end of last semester, until I was surrounded constantly by relationships, that I even recognized the fact that I wanted to be in one.
It was more of a buildup of individual moments where I would note, “Wow they’re cute together,” or “Dang, no one has ever done that for me,” or “WHAT IN THE...?” (those were usually in reaction to sexual discussions that I happened to be in the room for).
But there is one specific time that I can pin to my own realization that I might be sort of, maybe, kind of lonely.
A couple of months ago, there was a weekend in which two of my roommates’ boyfriends came to stay in our dorm. The weekend was actually a lot of fun, they were all adorable and I can remember sitting on an armchair, watching “Planet Earth” with the couples as they cuddled in their respective cuddling zones thinking, ‘Awe, they are so adorable. I love love.’
One night we went to dinner at Mellow Mushroom (it’s a pizza place if you don’t know, not a hookah bar) and I sat on the inside of the booth, directly next to my roommate Brynn and her boyfriend, Josh. Across from us was Natalya and Anna — both participating members in their own cute relationships.
We talked, we joked, we laughed and Brynn demonstrated a very impressive — to me, at least ability to know all of Josh’s weird food quirks. And that started a conversation in which we all, minus me lol, discussed our (their) significant others’ eating habits.
Sometime later on, I was trying to make a joke about being single that went a little wrong. It was well-timed but poorly worded. We finished our conversation and there was a bit of lull. I then regrettably decided to fill this lull with this:
“Rooming with you guys has made me very lonely.”
Cue widened eyes, shocked faces and guilt. Oh, the guilt. Good lord, the only thing worse than being single is being pitied for it.
Dang, that was awkward.
At least the night ended well when I got a pizza tray pushed onto me and then onto the floor and all over the place. Good times.
But anyway, even after that night I continued to feel oddly guilty and somewhat lame for wanting what they had. I kept telling myself that I’m a kicka** woman who doesn’t need a man. I haven’t been in a relationship up to this point so why in the world would I want one so badly now. It is irrational and untrue in reality, but I almost felt unfeminist.
As if my wanting a boyfriend could be equated to a silly whimsy. A trite, petty jealousy.
Around Valentine’s Day, the guilt factor is worse. Not because I was jealous of the relationships around me, that’s not what it was about. But because there is all of this single-women jargon, these bandied about phrases that all basically say the same thing at this time of year:
Hey, we are strong, independent, single women who don’t need a man to rock it. Celebrate your singleness, have a Galentine’s Day for you ladies.
I am 100 percent in agreement with those statements. But constant circulation of those messages made me feel a bit insecure about wanting to be in a relationship.
I kept wondering if it made me anti-independence. Anti-self-reliance. Anti-women.
The women you see in movies who are desperate for relationships, the best friend of the protagonist that makes everyone sigh, “Oh Lisa, not again.” That isn’t what I wanted to be, it was what I was scared of becoming. I mean who the heck wants to be a Ross Geller?
But writing out these thoughts made me realize one thing...
Just like there are ladies out there who embrace their singleness and shout a resounding, “f*** that!” to the world around them, there can most definitely be ladies who embrace their own feelings and can shout an equally-resounding, “I’d like to f*** that!” to whomever they feel comfortable saying that to… probably best saved for a specific moment, but do it if you’re feeling it.
If you realize you want a relationship, don’t feel weird about admitting it. You aren't being needy, or lame, or even unable to handle being single.
I’m not asking you to announce it on your social media or on a very public writing forum like I just did (yikes!) but even reassuring yourself that you can still be a kicka** lady and want to be in a relationship is an amazing feeling.
A relationship isn't giving over the your marionette strings, or tying up your vagina and uterus placing them into a prettily packaged gift box and handing it over (that's gross, you're welcome). From what I've seen, it's a mutually beneficial thing.
So the philosophical point that can be derived here is thus worded as:
Screw ‘em. Screw ‘em all.