On the societal pressure to date, or, “I’m turning 25 this year. I’m single, and that’s fine.”

I’ll be 25 in a few months.  Which is how old my mom was when I was born (she’d been married to my dad for more than two years prior to my birth, btw).

The realization kind of has me in an state of quarter life crisis.  After all, I’m living at home in suburbia right now, struggling to get my shit together and (hopefully!) move out soon.  Not that I want what my mom had– hell no.  I never want to have children, for one thing.  And secondly, I’m gay.  But even so, it’s weird to look at where you’re at and realize that at your age, your mom was doing this and this and that.  And society was praising her for it.

In a zine I published earlier this month, I revealed that my internal monologue very much resembles the “My Friends are Married” blog.  Not only are my friends, both straight and gay, getting married left and right, but one of my good friends (who’s my age) celebrated her first wedding anniversary this past weekend.

My parents have been mostly cool with the fact that I don’t date much (especially my dad, for all of the typical father-daughter reasons).  But today my mom said to me, “You should like, hang out with your friends who are lesbians.  Maybe then they’ll introduce you to single lesbians that you can date.”

Her comment, however well-intentioned, really set me off.

And so I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post to it.

Firstly: Most of the friends I made at the new school I transferred to are lesbians.  Hanging out with them for the three years I’ve been here hasn’t resulted in me meeting anybody.

That’s because all that time, I was hopelessly hung up on someone entirely unattainable.  This woman is married (to a man, might I add), lives two hours away from me, and is twenty-two years my senior.

I knew it’d never work.  But that didn’t keep me from feeling what I felt.  From pining.

So, unfortunately, because of this tiny, stupid sliver of hope that it’d all work out between us (lol), I couldn’t get close to anyone else.  I just couldn’t.

I tried.  I started dating people, and cut it off, because they just weren’t her.  No one could ever be, and I knew it.

And so, when dating failed, I started having a lot of casual sex.

Except through that, what I learned about myself is that I just can’t have sex with people I don’t care about at least a little bit.  Which means I slept with friends.  And thus ruined my friendships with those people.  Or at least introduced some serious weirdness into the mix.

For the record, this past June, I wrote (and mailed!) a 5-page love letter to the Aforementioned Person I Was (and Still Kind of Am) Hung Up On.  I agonized over that thing, trying to get the wording just right; I wrote draft upon draft upon draft.  I sought advice from my two closest friends about whether I should actually send it.  I didn’t expect anything to happen between us, after all.  But I HAD BEEN HUNG UP ON HER FOR YEARS.  And I’d put my love life (if not sex life) on hold just as long because of it.  And I knew that if I didn’t tell her how I felt, I’d explode, and also that I’d never really be able to date anyone else ever again.  Because a tiny (albeit very strong) piece of me would always wonder if it would have worked out.  Or something.  I know how ridiculous it sounds, but the human heart is ridiculous sometimes.

I mailed the letter, bought a fifth of gin, and waited for her response.  She emailed me two days later, upon receipt of my confession.  I could tell that she’d been totally taken aback by what I’d told her.  She tried to word her message positively, saying, “I don’t want to ruin our friendship either, so let’s just keep it how it’s always been.”  (I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point.)

So for one thing, I’m still getting over that, and am just not ready to date.  I know that the fantasy was all in my head, and even I knew, intellectually, that it’d never work.  But that doesn’t mean that her rejection didn’t hurt me.  I don’t just haphazardly write 5-page love letters to people.  I wouldn’t have sent it if I hadn’t really thought through the consequences of doing so.  So, not only was I rejected, but I have to deal with the reality that the bravest thing I’ve ever done ended in failure.

And that’s a lot to cope with, especially on my own.  When you have a messy breakup, you can confide in friends.  But I just can’t.  I kept this very much a secret; very few people knew just how strongly I felt about her, and for how long.

And secondly (to get back to what my mom said), why is it that I even need to date, anyway?  I suspect it’s because I bothered to come out as a lesbian in the first place.  Like, because I came out, I should be dating monogamously, and planning a wedding.

But that’s just bullshit.

I live with my parents.  I don’t want to date right now.  I don’t want to date until I live in some city I know I’ll stay in for a while– one that I’m not trying to escape.

That doesn’t mean I’m trying to close myself off, btw.  I had a thing for a while, post 5-page love letter, for a woman, and I pursued that for a few weeks.  But we just weren’t compatible.  Or I wasn’t ready. Or whatever.  And that’s okay.

People ask me how I handle it– my single state.  The honest answer is that I masturbate a lot.  I spend a lot of time with cats instead of people, because they just meow at me instead of asking questions about my Life Plan.

And what I really want is for that to be something we celebrate as loudly and proudly as we do the coupling off of people.

I’m in my mid-20s.  I’m kind of destined to become a cat lady.

And I want you to be happy for me.

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About Amelia

feminist, seafood enthusiast, bookworm, blogworm
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