Friday, July 1, 2005

The One That Didn't Make It

In the Absence of a Man

Originally written on 28 Jan 2005

The title of a new book hits you on the head one day: No Boyfriend Since Birth. Upon recovering your senses, you realize that you have had no boyfriend since birth. You cannot help but think, “Is that good or bad?” That is when you begin to asses things.

At the age of 24, the evolution of the question, “Do you have a boyfriend?” becomes clear to you. If in your younger years such question implies “You better say no; you’re just a kid!” the same interrogative sentence would now mean, “you better have a boyfriend or else you would be an old maid!” From there you deduce two “facts” forced by society: (1) young girls with boyfriends are plain sluts and (2) mature women with no boyfriends are pure losers. Harsh indeed but there is more.

Your friends begin to worry for you—you know, you being 24 with no boyfriend—your whole life. They try pairing you up with guys they know and even with guys they do not know. It does not stop there. They give you Friendster testimonials that practically sell you to every guy who is capable of reading. Little do they know that not a lot of guys are capable of reading, hence your friends are selling you to a minute percent of the male population. Not a very good marketing strategy, you might say.

Soon your mother enters the world of your theoretical love life—okay, let us not go there. Shift to another scenario.

While having dinner with your officemate, in the middle of your serious small talk, she asks you, “How do you see yourself in the future? At what age do you plan to get married?” You panic and nearly choke to death. You have not gotten yourself a boyfriend and she is asking you your wedding deadline. In the hopes of concealing shock from her unexpected question, you explain that boyfriends are not yet part of your master plan and so is a wedding. She stares at you like you were an unpretty freak and convinces you that sooner or later, you have to groom yourself as a wife or else you would grow old alone.

A skirmish ensues inside you. Should you tell the someday-bride-to-be how you really feel? You decide to restrain yourself from bursting your officemate’s happily-ever-after bubble. You keep quiet and let things be—for a while, at least. A few minutes later, you lay down your side. You admit that you have intimacy problems—that you are allergic to anything mushy and everything related to Cupid. You follow it up with a statement that declares your lack of faith in relationships. You clarify that, although you are aware that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, you can’t seem to reconcile the thought of taking a vow which does not take something as extreme as “death” to part. You end up looking more pathetic in the eyes of your officemate. At this point you decide not to further your case or else you might plummet to being “the pus that infects the mucus that curds up the fungus that feeds on the pond scum.”

You settle with “some of us are not meant to get married” for your argument’s conclusion. And in your head you add, “women like you who look forward to wearing a white gown and trekking a flower-filled aisle should be thankful that some women, like me, are not too psyched with getting hitched, otherwise decent men would be doubly scarce.”

Speaking of men, a member of the collective word comes up to you one day and asks you on a date camouflaged as an invitation to hang out at the mall. Sure he is an eye candy, but you decline from his offer. Although you admire his gut for proposing a date, you do not appreciate how he did it prematurely. Your one-week encounter with him had been limited to seeing him—literally just seeing he exists. You are seconds away from asking him, “didn’t your mother ever tell you not to go out with strangers?”

Probably to mend his broken ego he—in his most obnoxious way—assumes you are a lesbian and becomes vocal about it. Yes, you once thought that you were such but your identity crisis is now over. No entity, no matter how lovely it is, can ever convert you to gayness—no offense to the gays out there.

Soon, you wonder what the big deal is with women not wanting to get involved. Why a woman who refuses to be at the side of a man should be called an “old maid” or a “spinster”—both terms connoting “tarrying”—whereas a man who stays unmarried is called a “bachelor”—a word which seems to project “coolness.” You hate the extent of society’s baseless double standards but what can you do? Even if you spend your lifetime educating people that not all unattached/unmarried women are ugly and stinky, or reeking with wicked personalities, or lesbians or losers; your propaganda will not be enough to persuade people that, sometimes, being a single woman is amazing—maybe even more remarkable than being somebody else’s girlfriend or wife.

Never in your personal politics did you wish to convert women to single-blessedness. All you want is for people to stop feeling sorry for you for not having a guy of your own; to cease pairing you up with anyone or anything male and single; and to start respecting the fact that you are truly, genuinely happy despite the absence of a man in your life.

You reach out for the book which caused you a few minutes to contemplate on your life in the absence of a man. You figured, yes, things may change between you and the males of the species but it definitely does not change the fact that being single since birth is not at all bad.

**Tyrene is pushing 25 this year and still remains single. She insists that as long as she can carry her own things and bring herself to and from various places, she will not be needing any guy—well, romantically speaking, at least.

Posted on 01 July 2005 at 04:32 AM in Public thought balloon | Permalink

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