The full title of this piece should really be, “I’m 21 and I’ve Never Had A Boyfriend Before, or Been on a Real Date. But I Have Kissed One Guy so Progress.” In that somewhat long-winded title, you’ve already gotten the extent of the my dating progress. But before you continue you reading, I want you to know that this isn’t a pity party, nor is it an “I don’t need a man, I’m a Single Lady!” piece. It’s just my thoughts on my current situation, which falls somewhere in-between the two sentiments.
When everyone started to get her first boyfriend in middle school, I wasn’t concerned. I remember thinking that there was no point in dating until I could drive. Being dependent on your parents to drop you off on your put-put date didn’t sound romantic to me. So naturally, I assumed that I would start dating in high school. By the time high came around something else happened to me—I became awkward. It was one of those weird times in life where I was plagued with a nervousness that resulted in me being quiet 97 percent of the time I was in school. I tended to keep my head down and I became one of those quiet, smart girl types who get branded as nice as a default. Needless to say, I wasn’t the type who was popular with the boys.
But honestly, that was fine with me. I never really found that guy, my Jordan Catalano. The only guys I would get crushes on were people I barely knew. And I didn’t pursue getting to know them either. Having a crush was more like something to talk about with my friends. They weren’t really indicative of my internal feelings. You can’t truly like someone you don’t know. By the time my senior year rolled around, I was okay with being 17 and dateless. I knew, just knew, that in college I would find my guy. By that time I had a weird mix of self-confidence and awkwardness. I went outside of my comfort zone and asked a guy to prom, which I guess some people would call a date but it wasn’t in my eyes. I saw it more along the lines of, “all my other friends have dates and I might as well have one too.” To this day, that remains my one proactive move in my love life.
By the time I got to college, I was hopeful about my situation. Here, I would find a guy who understood my sarcasm, went to shows and knew who Wooderson from Dazed and Confused was. The only problem is that my school has a 60/40 split of girls to boys. The 40 percent of guys doesn’t even account for the guys who are gay or the ones who are in fraternities, something I’m not that into. So really, I’m working with much smaller numbers. I know I’m not the only girl who struggles with the lack of eligible bachelors. When I was a junior, a sensational New York Times article even came out about the dating culture at my school. The article basically said that the only way to get a guy’s attention was to casually hook-up with him and expect nothing more. I’m like that Kelly Clarkson song, “I Do Not Hook Up,” so that’s not in my playbook. The whole article made my school sound super classy.
But I can’t blame my situation entirely on my environment. I know that it’s me too. When I’m in bars and places where you’re supposed to meet members of the opposite sex, my high school awkwardness comes back up. If a guy approaches me, I automatically think I’m standing in his way or he wants to talk to my friend. If I do get past that point, I’m usually confused about what you’re supposed to talk about. The moment it gets awkward, I’m out. Those situations are supposed to be casual but they seem high pressure to me. I’d really like to meet someone through a friend but when my girls are struggling to find a guy as well, there’s not room to help each other out. And I feel like I’m too young to on-line date, so that’s not an option.
But really the thing standing in my way is that I realize I don’t really care eighty percent of the time. I mean how can I care about something I’ve never had? In theory, having a boyfriend would be great. He’d be there to hang out with me, confide in, and snuggle with on cold days. But it’s not like I’m not used to being alone. For 21 years, I’ve lived my life as a single unit and it’s worked out pretty well so far. The twenty percent of the time I do care comes at those moments when my parents, old friends, or some rando asks about my love life. Those are always fun conversations to have that make you feel like a huge chunk or your life. Or have people think you’re secretly a lesbian or asexual, which is just annoying. People like to take it as far as to ask me if I want to get married someday. Getting married would be nice but it’s not the most pressing issue on my mind. It’s not something that will make or break my life either.
I used to think I was abnormal but now I’ve met a lot of girls in the same situation. They have the same slightly apathetic, slightly sad but mostly I’m fine kind of attitude that I do. It’s good to know I’m not the only one. So if anyone out there is in the same situation, welcome to the club. Hopefully, something changes for us but I won’t dwell on it if it takes awhile.
Read more from Tiffany Ezuma here.
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