To be honest . . . with Betsy Tucker

To be honest, I’m tired of feeling inadequate because I’m single. I’ve never been in a relationship or even come close to one. That isn’t entirely my choice, and as a result, I feel left out and insecure. This feeling is a problem, and I think that it’s more than just my problem.

The stigmatization of singleness is something that’s been on my mind for a while, in part because I can’t escape it. Everywhere we look we’re inundated with images of couple-hood: in books, in movies on TV. Even shows which are ostensibly about something other than a romantic relationship have those two people who are obviously meant to be together and just waiting to figure it out. To become part of a couple is the ultimate end in the vast majority of entertainment. It’s not just sex that sells; it’s the feeling of completeness that is shared by two people in a romantic relationship (at least a cinematic one). In my sophomore year of high school, most of my friends started making the transition from actor crushes to real, attainable guys. Since then, it’s seemed like everyone around me is part of a couple or looking to be or has been at some point. Is it any wonder that reaching 19 without ever having been on a date or even having been seriously asked on one makes me feel like I’ve been doing something wrong?

This feeling is a problem for more than just me. Even in this age of supposed women’s liberation, many are still afraid of dying alone, as though the physical and emotional aspects of a relationship are the end-all be-all. Little girls dream of a perfect white wedding, and as they grow up, they start to dream of the Prince Charming who goes with it. Few can conceive of the idea that being alone forever is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ll admit I’m among the number who cannot: I want stability and children and an elaborate party with an expensive dress I’ll only wear once just like a million other girls. However, I can’t think of a single time in my life when I would have been better off with a boyfriend. There are times when I wouldn’t have been worse off, and certainly times when I’ve thought I needed one, but there has never been a time when I could have improved my life simply by adding a significant other to it. In fact, the idea of becoming vulnerable in the way that dating would force me to be scares me a lot. I love the idea of love, but I really can’t imagine myself being in it. Someday, I may need to do what scares me (not to mention have the opportunity), but not yet. I hate that the culture in which I grew up has predisposed me to think that doing something before I’m ready is the only way to be happy, and that I’m somehow lacking just because I don’t get massive attention (or any, really) from the opposite sex.

This article is not me using the publication to get a date. That kind of thing may sound good in romance novels, but in reality, it would be kind of a creepy way to meet a boy. In fact, the plausibility of that explanation proves my point: so many women have made it their mission in life to find someone that it’s exactly what you’d expect. It’s not time for me to get a boyfriend. It’s time for me to learn to be happy without one, and for American women in general to discover that that is, indeed, possible.


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