Saturday, November 7, 2009

She'll tell you it's the only way to be

"You're a relationship person," a well-meaning friend told me a few months ago. "It's what you do."

In perhaps the ultimate example of cognitive dissonance, I disagreed. "No way. I'm always single. I was single ALL of high school- remember?"

In case you haven't realized it yet, I have an issue with remembering that I am no longer 20. After I rebutted my friend's theory, I quickly remembered that it's been five years since I graduated high school and I spent four of those years in relationships or exclusive flirtfests. Self-identification FAIL. I hate it when that happens.

I think I have a hard time remembering my dating history because once a relationship ends, I sink so easily back into my old single habits. Grateful for the guilt-free time with my friends and family, I relish every opportunity to see them. I spend full Saturdays with a cup of coffee and a book in my sunporch, leaving my cell phone upstairs because I won't need to be answering any emergency queries like "What's that one Wedding Crashers quote? From when they're in the kitchen?" Instead of wondering what our plans are for March, I enthusiastically respond "YES! I'm IN!" to reunion emails from old friends.

I guess I'm saying, that even in the most non-committal relationship, autonomy dissipates quietly as the months pass. This isn't a bad thing- compromise, trust, and even the reluctant acceptance of dealbreakers can take the place of your single freedom. All of these things, along with the intermittent mornings of waking up next to someone you care about, make relationships worth that sacrifice. However, if the love fades and the bed is increasingly empty, there is definite comfort in knowing that to be single is to give yourself allowance to indulge on whims, be unapologetically selfish, and generally spit in the face of adulthood. One lesser-known perk is that you can earnestly sing the second verse of Ruby Tuesday- with feeling!- in your car at 7:15 in the morning.

That isn't to say that I've been sitting at home like a nun, thwarting off all advances because I so enjoy being unattached. I'm tentatively re-entering the dating pool, one adorable stranger at a time. I guess, if I'm committed to using that tired analogy, then I'm actually sitting at the edge of the deep end, unsure if the water is warm enough to jump in. I'll stay here for awhile, I think, until I see a bright shiny quarter seven feet down. Then I'll knock some bitches out of the way as I dive in headfirst, goggles on the prize, arm outstretched as the bubbles rise from my nose to the surface.


Cait said...

I loved this post. I was just rummaging around blogger and found yours. This post is so easy to relate to. In fact I was just talking to one of my good guy friends about someone who I've been seeing for a couple of weeks. Well, my friend asked me about the situation and told him I didn't want it to go any further than just good college fun. He said, "Yeah right. You're a 'girlfriend' girl."

Teresa said...

Gin you knock those bitches.

Mary said...

i spent all morning talking about this with a friend here... old habits die hard and the thought of acquiring new ones is, in one word, terrifying.
however, it does sound like you are doing better than I am.
ps. i love you.