Don't ask a woman with a slightly bulging stomach "When are you due?" Don't ask a married couple "So when are you going to have kids?" And don't ask a woman who isn't wearing a wedding ring "Are you dating anyone?"
This is what I hear when someone asks that: "Does anyone think you're desirable enough to bone regularly?" Usually, I'll respond with something like "I'm dating a few, but no one special." What I'm thinking is: "F off! That is none of your business." Unless you are trying to set me up with your attractive, single and successful nephew, it really isn't any of your business.
Obviously, I'm going to talk to my close friends and family about the ins, outs and goings on of my dating life. They are probably are going to hear way more than they want to know. Who I bring into my life as a partner actually has meaning in their lives, because this person will also be part of their life.
As I edge closer to 30, the question has become even more invasive. It goes like this: "Are you dating anyone?" "No one special." "How old are you?" "::Anything over 27::" "Well, you must not want children." I've had this exact conversation three times. All with relative strangers, friendly acquaintances at BEST.
The hard fact is that I'm turning 30 in June. If I want to have children in that traditional nuclear family/natural pregnancy type of way, I'd basically have to start dating that man immediately. Like fall in love tonight. So that we can date for a year or two (31), be engaged for another year (32), be married for two or three years (35) and get pregnant on like the first time we try. BUT. My desire to "someday" have children does not overpower my desire to "someday" fall in love with the right person.
I look at the above timeline and think "Well, that really sucks." I mean, it seems so improbable that it makes me laugh. In all honesty, I've had four opportunities to get married to the really, really, really wrong guy. The guys I dated at 21, 24, 26 and 27. Three have gotten married since we broke up and one even proposed to me on New Year's Eve of this year. All would have been a mistake. I could have married these men and we could have kids together, but I don't think that is the better option.
I mean, my genes are great and all, but, if I don't spread them, the human race isn't going to end. There are a lot of people pushing mini people out and not having any sort of ability to take care of them.
If I'm 40 and haven't met my "match," I've already decided that I'm going to look into adoption. Even if I have met my match, we might decide to go this route. Honestly, the idea of having a baby growing inside of me and having to push it out of my lady parts is absolutely terrifying to me. I might have wanted to go this route even if I married the guy at 21. I can have a family, even after the sands of time have laid to rest in my baby oven.
As a woman with a career, there's this whole new element of "can women have it all," "you've got to lean in," "you can't be a mom, wife and career woman and expect to be successful at all three," etc etc etc. I heard about a woman who actually called into a conference call from the hospital bed in a delivery room. The pressure of strategizing my womanly expectations is almost more stressful than the actual jobs themselves.
Here's the straight up. I'm dating. And it's really fun. I'd love to fall in love with someone amazing, call him "boyfriend" for awhile and eventually "husband." It's not that I'm so wild and selfish that I can't be tied down, it's that I'm not pushing myself into that path with just any someone. It has meaning to me. Sometimes I'm in relationships and sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I'm exchanging flirtations with a few potentials while I gauge his and my interest. Being single doesn't mean I'm sitting at home alone in the dark. If I am at home alone, it's not because I'm gross and everybody hates me. It doesn't have to be one or the other.
Until I find a real partner who I want to hold hands with through life and want to experience the gift of parenthood with, I'm going to continue dating "a few people, but no one special" and being a really cool aunt.