Opinionated, old and fat, I am unsurprisingly… single.
As young as 12 years of age, my peers began judging each other by whether or not they had a boyfriend, so walking the school hallways without a boy by your side or attending a dance dateless were taboo. In high school, a girl HAD to be going steady or she was an outcast so I learned early on to play the game. “Of course I have a guy,” I would lie. “He lives in (fill in the blank with any distant location) and I would NEVER cheat on him with any of the losers in this town.”
I dated some questionable guys in college and even became engaged to one. After all, I wasn’t ‘enough’ without a man. Back in the day, I was of average weight, a bit too tall and painfully anxious about everything. Men seemed to want ‘trophy’ ladies; blonde, blue eyed and practically emaciated, the same gals that wore the shortest shorts and crop tops and swayed their hips and giggled on cue. I hated them. Actually, I didn’t hate them; I was jealous, lonely and fearful of going through life man-less. My self-esteem was an empty basket without a having a significant other to cart around in it.
Fortunately, I broke off the engagement to the man I had no respect for and miracles of miracles, met a guy that I adored. Yes, all was right in my little world as we walked hand in hand. We married and had an absolutely marvellous son but years later, I was miserable. I had given my very soul to my husband, choosing to not have girlfriends or a life outside of my nest. In a terribly dysfunctional manner, I expected my husband to devote every minute to me and was a horrible bitch when he sought out solo interests. We fought. We fought a lot, with me clinging onto him as if he was my saviour so the pain was searing when he divorced me. Life without him seemed unlikely and I wept for three years.
I did what any emotionally healthy woman would do in that circumstance… I dated unmindfully. I became a flirt, got thin and learned to cock my head at just the correct angle as if to say, “Aren’t you a looker? Come on over, big fella.” And then there were several experiences with online dating services. I came close to being molested by a pig and met a guy with a handsome, sleek profile picture who, in reality, could barely walk at 600 plus pounds. The man who scammed me out of $1500.00 seemed quite the catch for my desperate self. Interestingly, I met both heavy man and the pig man on a Christian site.
Now you don’t need to have a PhD in psychology to see that I was looking to assure myself that men found me desirable and that I was lovable, that I wasn’t a woman who was destined to be manless. God forbid. After all was said and done, I was left high and dry by almost all of them. I handled this by going out with any man… morals, credentials and intelligence mattered not. (Dear Reader, after wiping my tears away, I would like to tell you that this piece is most difficult to pen. I feel ashamed and embarrassed. It is cathartic for me to share, however, and I can only guess that I’m not unique. Please, don’t judge me harshly.)
Years later, I exclusively dated a man that I wasn’t in love with. I did enjoy his company and we traveled, dined out often and had an active social life, but he also left me, explaining that he had met another woman. He told me this over the phone. Again, behaving as an emotionally healthy gal, I gathered his belongings and all the gifts he had given me over the years, drove to his home and dumped it all on the driveway. After honking a zillion times, I sped away.
How many years did it take me to accept that I am a person of merit without a guy by my side? Six. Am I comfortable being an opinionated, fat, old woman? Absolutely. Do I miss a male’s companionship? Sometimes. Am I emotionally healthy? In some ways… finally. Am I grateful for these experiences? Without a doubt.
Yes, one learns to not scratch a mosquito bite as it will become infected and I scratched that infected bite for a good 4 years and remained miserable the whole time. ‘Live and learn’ became my motto but eventually I removed the rose tinted glasses. I found female friends that I could connect with emotionally and I now cherish those relationships. Most of these dear ones are also single and the few who have significant others in some form have a life outside of love.
“It isn’t sufficient to seek wholeness through men, it never was and it never will be for any woman, married or single.”-Patricia O’Brien