I have a question for the twenty-something single, smart and successful men out there: WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?
I know where the women are.
It’s Sunday afternoon and they’re sitting in my living room sipping cups of tea. Six girls. All single. I look around at my friends and I can’t help but wonder why they don’t have partners. Every one of them is amazing. They’re talented and interesting and funny, not to mention absolutely gorgeous. They’ve got their shit together; they have jobs, pay rent and do their laundry. They even enjoy a boogie on the dance floor or a game of Monopoly every once and a while.
So why aren’t men breaking down the door for the chance to date them?
Of the girls sitting around the room, two have recently got out of long-term relationships and one has a history of intermittent relationships that rarely last longer than her menstrual cycle. Then there are the few girls around me, cradling their cups of tea, who have been single for a while. And when I say a while, I mean forever. They’ve never had boyfriends. The extent of their dating experiences are varied; there have been pashes, dates, courtings and flings. Some have had lots of sex. Some have had no sex at all. But all have blank spaces on their “relationship” CVs.
Sound hard to believe? You’d be surprised.
Popular culture would tell you otherwise; that young women in today’s society are having sex and lots of it, be it in relationships or more casual settings. But the reality of young people and their sexual escapades – at least the ones that I associate with – is far from what’s portrayed in episode of Gossip Girl.
And I should know. I’ve only ever had one “boyfriend” and I’ve had lunches that have lasted longer than our so-called relationship. It was brief, to say the least. So if there is a club for the 20-somethings who have never been in a relationship (or who have only been in very tiny relationships), I’ll gladly put my hand up. We can sing Beyoncé’s ‘All the Single Ladies’ and talk about the stigma that comes with having no ring on it – or even coming close.
Let’s start with my friend Steph*. She’s 27, never had a boyfriend and has only dated a handful of times. When I asked Steph to talk to me about her 27-and-still-single-status, she was a little hesitant. “I have to justify why I’m single to my family every time I see them, do I have to give a reason to the rest of the world too?”
Yes you do. Because I’m sick of doing it myself.
“It’s simply a case of not meeting the right person,” she says. Well, AMEN TO THAT. “Where do you meet people? It’s hard to find the right place to find the right person and someone who has the same interests as you,” she says.
What about work? “I work in a VERY female dominated industry.” Online? “It’s an option, but there’s so much pressure. It would be nice to meet and start dating someone in a situation where you’re not thinking about what your children will look like after one date.” Bars? “You have to kiss a lot of frogs….”
It’s not easy being that woman who has never had a boyfriend. It’s the elephant in the room at family functions and it’s the awkward unchecked box on wedding invites. It’s the “don’t worry you’ll find someone” I’ve heard 35 times too many. And the more times you hear it, the more you start to believe you never will.
You start to wonder if there’s a reason you’ve never been in a relationship. And the older you get, the harder it becomes to be open to dating and resilient enough to pick yourself up and get back out there when it doesn’t work out.
So why are we all single? If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me that humdinger of a question…. I’d buy a boyfriend! (And I’d make him a hot one with a yacht and a Nonna.)
Honest answer? I HAVE NO IDEA. No clue at all.
Maybe we’re too picky. Maybe we’re too focused on our careers, too busy to look. Or maybe we should stop congregating in my living room and, you know, get out there.
Can you relate?