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I don’t want to change the world; I’m not looking for a new England.

February 11, 2011

My pal Mallory asked me to respond to the Village Voice article by Jen Doll* about the vagaries of dating in New York while female and straight. “Write a blog!” she commanded on my facebook wall, and since I am nothing if not obedient, here I am! Blogging about it! As a ladyperson who lives in New York City and likes to make out with boys I do, indeed have thoughts and feelings on this subject, but they are not precisely feelings of agreement.  The article, helpfully entitled “Dear Single Women of New York: It’s Not Them, It’s You” told me more about Jen Doll’s experience dating than about dating in general, and while I don’t want to have my opinion contradict her lived experience, I couldn’t help but wonder* what exactly I was supposed to take away from it.

Basically, if you want to be spared the actual reading of the article, Jen Doll (I’m going to keep saying it! Because it’s the best name ever! Such fun!) posits that the real reasons she and many of her acquaintance have not met Mr. Right are as follows:

  1. Women outnumber men in NYC
  2. Women break up with perfectly respectable young men for reasons relating to fear, also: “boring, predictable, too nice, too normal, not successful enough, or . . . admitted to no one, perhaps not even myself: too available. The scariest of scary words.”
  3. Even though what women really want is a “nice, stable” relationship we’ve somehow talked ourselves into wanting “passionate, exciting” relationships

The article starts out lamenting this pickiness, but then by the end has made its way around to saying pickiness (in the form of “keeping one’s option’s open”) is actually OK and normal for a ladyperson in this day and age. Basically: she doesn’t know what she wants, and this is identified as being the problem with the womens these days, and also OK in the end.

I’m having trouble parsing my thoughts about the article, beyond the obvious “Not knowing what you want is a problem for men and women and is not a sign of Fault of Womanity For Singleness in General.”  Mostly because I actually haven’t done much dating in New York. When it comes right down to it, there hasn’t been a lot of dating in my life in general. There have been a few hookups, deeply regretted and not; there have been brief flings in middle school that ended after two weeks; there have been G.P.s galore, deeply held and reverberating still when I see certain people’s names pop up in my facebook feed. And that’s not meant as a kind of “woe is me” statement, although there have been plenty of three buck chuck nights where it has been just that. The roots of my enduring state of singlehood are a complex combination of body image issues, mental hangups, and just-well, plain old business. I’ve always had a lot of shit going on in my life, and it hasn’t ever been a huge priority for me to find a boyfriend. And though I’ve paid lip service to wanting one, at this precise moment I certainly don’t feel like something is missing from my life because I don’t have someone else’s warm body to fight for the covers with.

Because, as I’ve said before, I have a Lot Going On. I work two jobs. I intermittently write this blog. I have family in town and a sister nearby and all these awesome movies that are coming out now aren’t going to watch themselves. My friends rule. Seriously, my number one impediment to dating right now is that I have too much fun talking with the awesome people around me to take the time to curate my OKCupid profile. I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve been online, doing this that or the other, and waited for someone’s name to pop up on GChat. These people are never dudes I’m lusting after- they’re always my pals, the people that I can have insane conversations about Hannibal Lecter and syphilis with. We hardly ever sit around talking about Dudes and How Much We Hates Them, Precious, for not being available. We have so much more going on in our lives than the dudes we are dating or screwing (or not.)

While reading this article, I felt kind of bad for Jen, whose name I share. She seems deeply unhappy with the idea that she hasn’t found the right person to settle down and be stable and normal with, and to regret the people she’s dated and lost along the way who haven’t worked out. And I guess if I took time to think about it, I would be pretty bummed about my situation, too. I mean, as everything in the world keeps reminding me, these are my years of my very peakest fertility, and since, as a lady, all I need to do in life is have kids and I will be complete, obviously I need to get on that before I miss my chance to fulfill my purpose in life. But, unlike Jen, I know what I want. The day that I meet the guy who will make me laugh as much as my friends do, who won’t mind the truly absurd amount of TV I watch, who will maybe challenge me and make me consider combining my DNA with his to create a new being; well, that day, I won’t want to be single anymore. But it is not this day.  And until I meet that person I’m not going sit around, defining myself by his absence.

Kate Nash & Billy Bragg- A New England / Foundations @ the NME awards (the soundtrack for this post- seriously, give this a listen, it is the best)

*great name or greatest name?


3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2011 7:41 pm

    dude, you are just the best

  2. wysock permalink
    February 16, 2011 3:16 am

    I love you so much.

  3. Morgan permalink
    February 22, 2011 2:11 am

    Yes! Jen You Are The Best!

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