Monday, December 19, 2005

Single, Mormon, 30

Are married people, their friends, family and everyone with whom they come into daily contact as obsessed with their married status as said people are with the marital or non-marital status of singles? Perhaps most obsessed are the singles themselves. This evening I made the trek (by cab) to the upper east side. I live in the far reaches of Hell's Kitchen, practically on the Hudson (I have a river view if I peer past the neon Nissan sign to the west out my south facing windows). The upper east side is the most difficult place in Manhattan to reach via public transportation from where I live so I always spend good money to do my part to support NYC's cab drivers. Tonight I had planned a lovely evening all to myself indulging and enjoying the left-over holiday treats from last night's dessert party (I'll discuss later) while watching mindless tv. But as a singleton there is an ever-present voice in my head pressing me to attend various church-related functions involving singles in the hopes of getting myself "out there" even though I'm not convinced there is anything I want to pick up on me out there.
So I shared a cab with a fellow west-sider and did my duty. There were at least 10 women and 2 men (I use that word loosely). Somehow the topic of conversation landed on the roles of men and women in the church socially and specifically as it relates to dating. I think I started it, but not on purpose. Today I had tithing settlement which reminded me of tithing settlement last year in my ward in Utah. My bishop at the time looked at the print-out of my 10% tithes and commented that I was a "cash cow" and if he were to post my salary on his office door men would line up to date me. He knows they hadn't in the past and apparently he thought this was my lure to get them to bite -- money. I chose not to remind him that in the past he had told me not to tell men that I am an attorney because that intimidates them. Do I really want to start a relationship pretending I'm something I'm not? Do I want to date a man who is intimidated by my intelligence and success? Do I want to date someone who wants me only for my earning potential? Not only no, but HELL NO!!! You see, I truly enjoy my life. Yes, it gets lonely and yes, I strongly believe my life could be enriched and made better if I could share the ups and down and have someone to lean on and with whom I can be vulnerable. But not by compromising who I am.
The conversation was the male/female dating debate that goes on around the world in every culture I suspect. The misconceptions, the stereotypes and vast generalizations we make to assure ourselves that it is not in fact my fault that I do not date, it is some failure in the male counterpart -- they are intimidated by strong females who are successful and ambitious, they get too much female attention and have grown lazy in their pursuits, they want a submissive wife, they only date blondes, they only want flirty girls, blah, blah, blah. Of course some men fit these generalities, that is how they come about. But I know this is not entirely true. And to be honest, I don't want a man who really just wants a ditzy blonde to do his laundry and raise his kids and look to him as the all-knowing husband . . . why should I if he doesn't want me? The trouble is we need an external excuse for the social plague of being single too long. Not just being single but being dateless for too long.
This year I had a personal record of which I am not exactly proud. I do not believe I have had a "dry spell" as long as the one in which I am currently intrenched -- 18 months since my last kiss. EIGHTEEN F*@&ING MONTHS!!! Unacceptable. In the time span I have been on one horrendously bad blind date and that was nearly a year ago. I have excuses . . . for the first six months I was wallowing in the after effects of a break up. The next six months I knew I would be moving and was just waiting to start anew across the country in a new setting. The last six months I have just been new and contrary to all delusional hopes I had of having some sort of newness appeal, the drought has continued. There have been moments where I knew it was there for the taking but unlike the me of five years ago I don't just want to kiss random guys. I want a relationship. A real one. One that has substance and depth and promise of a future, not just of the moment.
Last night I had my annual dessert party. Every December for the last five years I have hosted a massive dessert party where I spend way too much time baking instead of Christmas shopping. Last night was a success. I had somewhere around 60-70 people shuffle through, eat my desserts, compliment my baking after asking if I really made everything myself, and shuffle out. The other tradition is the mistle-toe. I generally spend a good part of the night encouraging others to use it and playing along myself. This year. . . nothing. No one inspired me. I am not sure who I thought would show up. After all, I was in charge of the guest list. I guess I just hoped that someone would bring along a friend who would realize I am the perfect package - intelligent, witty and makes a hell of a cupcake. No such luck. I spent part of the evening supervising a couple of drunk co-worker's first Mormon cultural experience, re-filling the punch bowl and helping the girl who singed her hair on a tea light clean up in the bathroom. I enjoyed the night but I also had the familiar post-party let down. The realization that yes, I am good at throwing a party. But no, it really does not do anything for me in the long run.
I am going home for Christmas in a couple of days. Something I have been looking forward to the closer it gets. I am excited to see my family and friends and go snowboarding and maybe go to Costco. The pros of a less urban lifestyle. My brother is bringing his new girlfriend home. I have been looking forward to meeting her. She sounds almost too perfect for him and has really been the boost he has needed lately. Jealousy and how this effects me had never crossed my mind until my mother asked me if it will be hard for me to have her there. I said no, of course not. But as that question has sunk in over the past few hours I have realized how it does effect me. I have three siblings - the youngest is married, the next youngest is engaged and now the one just under me has a girlfriend coming home for Christmas. We have suddenly been transformed from a family of all single children to one with only the oldest being truly single. . . the dynamic will be different. It always is.
When I am home I will also see my high school friends. Twelve and a half years post-high school and we still manage to get together once or twice a year - usually without spouses. I am the only single one. The last one got married nearly three years ago and as of this past summer I am now the only one without children. I love these women as sisters. We have very little in common in terms of interests, life experiences, perspective, ambition and hobbies. Yet, we remain friends. They are bonded together by their status and stage of life - married with kids. I know more about pregnancy, labor, delivery, breast feeding and all the bizarre things it does to your body than any single woman should ever know. As they have evened out in terms of stage of life, I have been pushed further to the outskirts. I love them but our reunion Thursday night will certainly be bittersweet for me. I just wish they didn't insist on dragging their husbands along. . . I think we would all have more fun that way.

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