As I walk into public spaces I can feel their cold penetrating stares. They pull their men closer and tighter as I walk by, uncomfortable by my mere presence. His girlfriend greets my unavailable female friend but does not acknowledge my presence.
A couple leaves my building as I enter. The woman’s husband is nice enough to hold the door open for me and for her. As I continue walking I overhear her scold him for having held the door open for me as if his act of kindness were anything more.
I have lost track of how many times I’ve noticed that my presence as a single woman changes not only the dynamics in a room but also the dynamics in once sound personal relationships. As I get older and remain single, these behaviors become more painfully obvious and increasingly uncomfortable.
So often in our culture single women are portrayed as weak, needy, and even crazed. Movies like He’s Just Not That Into You send implicit messages that single women must change in order to find love and happiness, acceptance.
There are at least two things wrong with these messages: happiness is not to be sought or attained through relationships and being a single woman does not mean that you are incomplete or lacking the attributes that pop culture tells us will magically make men fall head over heels.
Being single is not a contagious disease that requires curing and is not synonymous with being flawed or incapable of loving or being loved. I am not crazy, mentally unstable, cold-hearted, or a stage-five clinger.
Don’t read too much into my singleness. It does not define who I am or who I’m capable of being. And while I may occasionally succumb to moments of weakness (after all, what woman didn’t grow up bombarded with stories of prince charmings and happily ever afters), I do not spend my nights crying into tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, feeling sorry about my Facebook relationship status or lack thereof.
Please do not mistake being single with being desperate or broken. Often, as in the case of the most fiercely single women I know, it is a choice. I remain single, because I have yet to find the right guy. I am not a tortured soul with a heart in need of mending by someone else’s man or any man for that matter.
Please don’t try to set me up with your drug-dealing cousin Tito, your friend Mickey (you know, the ‘club promoter’ with corn rows), or the overly eager cashier at the carnicería. Just because you think anyone is better than no one, doesn’t mean I do. Instead, think of me as highly as you think of yourself. Be picky on my behalf.
Lastly, and most importantly, please do not equate my single status with having low moral standards. Simply because I am friends with your man or because he holds a door open for me does not mean I’m secretly in love with him, trying to steal him, or purposely out to get you. I’m single, but not conniving. I’m young, but too old to play games. And I certainly do not want, need, or deserve your ‘sloppy seconds’.
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