I get this question all. The damn. Time.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it comes from a (mostly) concerned place. I (usually) hear it from well meaning people who want to see me happy, and to see me making someone else happy.
But, in some ways, it bothers me...not because I think people are being insincere or not wanting the best for me when they ask, but because it assumes several things:
- That I want to be in a relationship
- That if I’m not in a relationship, something must be wrong with me
- That if I’m not in a relationship, something must be wrong with other dudes
As I’ve been thinking through issues related to gender and equality, feminism and relationships, I’ve finally reached the point where I can articulate something that I’ve been trying to articulate for months. And that is...
...what if the opposite of “in a relationship” isn't, in fact, “not in a relationship...yet”?
Because I think that’s the way we look at single people. That sure, they’re Alone Right Now, but they MUST want to Not Be Alone.
Up until recently, I believed that this was the case. That single-hood is just a speed bump on the way to relationship town.
As I’ve started back into dating, however, I’m wondering if we’re really missing the point. What if instead of the opposite of “in a relationship” was truly, “single.” Meaning...being single is a viable lifestyle choice, just like monogamy, or non-monogamy, or polyamory, or whatever else you choose to engage in?
I think the reason this is hitting home more now than it has in the past is because I am meeting so many wonderful people.
I have really enjoyed getting back out there and dating. So far, the people I have met have been upstanding, interesting, amazing gentlemen...and one lady, whom I haven’t met. Let this mark the first occasion I have been approached by a woman on OKCupid.
I didn’t hate it.)
As women, we often talk about being “content” being single. (Hell, how many times have I talked about it here??) As if it’s a resignation. A holding pattern until Mr. Wonderful comes to sweep me off my feet and take care of me forever.
What if—gasp!—I currently PREFER being single?
I don’t think this line of thought would be so monumental if I were meeting douchebags. If the guys I’ve been talking to weren’t smart, funny, educated, successful and attractive.
But they are, and I’m still like, “I kind of like it here in single-town.”
It makes me wonder if we haven’t bought in too thoroughly to old-as-fuck notions that heterosexual romance and marriage ideals are the highest, loftiest ideals. The Nirvana of Normal.
In reality, I think people in our society are progressing beyond these ideals (or already surpassed them). I think we’ve been fed some serious lines of crap about our gender roles and how they should manifest themselves both in and out of relationships.
I’ve even been led to question my own aversion to taking out the garbage.
Yes, it’s true.
If I truly, one day, desire a partnership with someone, it may be that I have to take out the goddamn trash. “Man’s job” or not, I might have to do it.
Because what if instead of talking about things in a relationship in terms of a “man’s job” or a “woman’s job” we instead say, “my job, your job, our job?”
(And now I want to say BLOW JOB really loud, because I’m seven.)
You know I like to soul puke, so here are some other questions I’m thinking through:
What if instead of talking about “having sex like a man,” we started talking about, oh you know, just “having sex”?
I'm not sure it's entirely fair to hold all men up to an overly-masculine standard. Why is it wrong for a man to want to have sex for the emotional connection it provides? It shouldn’t be any more wrong than a woman wanting to have sex just because it feels good or she needs or wants it, right Nikki B?
What if instead of making generalizations like, “She’s emotional like a woman,” or “He’ll never talk about his feelings” we realize that we are all emotionally complex creatures...
...and then HOLD EACH OTHER ACCOUNTABLE for the way we express ourselves?
What if a “partnership” means that both people in the partnership embody both “typical” masculine and feminine traits...
...and what if the reason some of you are thinking right now, “I wouldn’t like that!” is because we’ve been conditioned and taught—erroneously—to think that “normal” is “hetero”...and everything else is “deviation”?
I dunno...I have a feeling that this path I’m headed down is going to yield some interesting results. I hope you’ll stick around for the ride. :)
Oh, and just in case you thought this post was too heavy, here's a picture of a kitten thinking deep thoughts.