This is a fictional (not really) recount of what I imagine would be the kind of conversation I would be having with my friends should the facts provided herewith be true:
a) I had 5 best friends (or more accurately I had any friends at all)
b) I was the token bohemian-cool, worldly, well-read, single friend within the group who occasionally smoked cigarettes and wrote books for a living (**sigh, I may have just developed a crush on my own character)
c) My friends were all the ‘saving myself for marriage’ types (so basically they are unicorns)
d) All the facts about them being married or engaged….blah blah were true
Anyway, the setting is an Italian restaurant where we have decided to have our biweekly girls night out. For those of you who may be curious as to what I fictionally ordered at the restaurant (because this is not mentioned in the story, and some of us just feel more comfortable with detailed information like this), I ordered the gnocchi with truffles.
We were half way through the breadbasket, every one was on their second or third glass of pinot noir, and one friend’s comment about the decrease in frequency of intimacy with his husband brought all couple talk (which is oh-so-fun to hear for about 3 hours straight) to a screeching halt. For some odd reason, despite having known each other practically all our lives, my friends are NOT comfortable discussing sex or anything related to the carnal act in specificity. Then as the only single girl of the lot, I was used, as usual, as the means of distraction and escape from talks discussing all the things that were wrong in their relationships.
“So, tell us, why aren’t you dating anyone?” one friend asked. Lets call her the friend in PINK. And the other (friend in GREEN) immediately turned to face me eyes lit up in quiet gratitude probably from being able to switch off all the mechanics set in motion in her mind that kept shedding more light on all the flaws in her relationship.
“Well, I am taking a break. I really don’t think I have the mental space to fit a relationship in, so I am not really dating,” I replied. Mind you, two (PINK and BEIGE) of the five girls married the men they lost their virginity to, GREEN is engaged to a guy whose virginity I think she might have taken, and the other two (BLUE and RED) are engaged to men that are probably the second or third guy they’ve dated. They are this type of girls (and I mean this in the nicest way possible. I couldn’t care less if a girl is a virgin to present to her husband or previously of the ‘working the corner’ path of life. To each her own I say). To them, if I am dating, then I am dating because I think the guy has a good chance of being Mr. Right. Unfortunately, what they don’t know is that I have also had my fair share of Mr. Right-Nows but this was something I couldn’t bare to share with these girls. I love them no doubt, I think they help me keep my moral values in check (I mean, come on, even the most pious person’s moral compass does not remain due north at all time), but there are things I cannot reveal to them, its safer for both sides that way. (I just realized the detail in this discussion of my character’s relationship with these girls may have given away the fact that this is infact not a fictional story…..or is it?)
“You are never going to feel like you’re ready. You just have to jump right into it,” BEIGE replied.
“No guy is going to come banging on your door while holding a glass slipper or a giant paycheck,” the third added. I wasn’t sure if that statement meant that she thought I was a bit of a gold digger or if it was just a reflection of how she prioritized material wealth. I chose to ignore that comment.
“I don’t know. I think if things are meant to happen, it will happen. I am not too worried about being single right now,” I said in weak defense against the four of them. How do I tell them that I was proposed to 5 months back by an amazing guy I was seeing while I spent a year living abroad? While that might have shut them up a bit, the thought of having to field questions about him and why I didn’t say yes, seemed so much more exhausting in my mind.
“You know, when we were all younger, we always thought you would be the first to get married,” said the first friend who opened this can of worms. “Most of the guys we knew were in love with you. And you were one of the first ones to have a boyfriend,” she added. “Yes!” everyone else chimed in. “We would meet a nice guy at a party and leave him talking to you for 10 minutes and he wanted to have your babies by the end of the night,” she laughed. I distinctly remember her snort at the end of that sentence (I imagine this friend to have an eccentric laugh with an incessant snorting at the end of every high pitched laugh – yes, I am mean FACT!)
“Even after you start dating, they seem to fall in love with you even more. And then one day you will randomly tell us its over. Without so much as a real explanation,” the friend who had been quiet up till now pointed out. “Et tu Brutus!” I thought. She had just been listening the whole time with a look on her face that I thought matched mine. The look of ‘not this again!’ but I had clearly misread.
I didn’t this conversation to extend any further, so I jokingly replied, “Well, I don’t know what to say. You all know I am a romantic at heart. I want the whole wooing, grand gestures, can’t eat, can’t sleep, makes me nauseous, kind of love. You should ask the men I’ve dated what the hell went wrong.” Our meals arrived just as I finished my sentence. The young waiter had heard what I said because we made eye contact as he chose to place my order first on the table and he gave me a half knowing smile. It creeped me out a little because he looked like he was 16.
My friends gave out little bursts of uncomfortable laughter. It seemed they felt bad for pushing it as usual. Their silence also reaffirmed that my plan had worked. By admitting that they should ask the men what went wrong implied things didn’t work out because maybe they left me (which by the way is half-true and half-not). They felt bad. And often, that was the only way to stop them from sucking a topic dry by over discussing it. Just say something to make them feel bad for you (relating it to the topic) and they will shush it.
The truth of the matter is that I am unwilling to settle. Simple. No level of feeling lonely or becoming envious of love blooming around me is strong enough to make me settle. Its true that I may have an inflated sense of what romance with the right man should be like; ofcourse obsessively reading historical romance books does not help, but I know I am willing to wait…well no, actually, its not so much waiting as it is just not really thinking about it and moving on with life, and should such a person enter my life, I am more than willing to have my happily-ever-after. My girls have often tried to break my “illusion” of the perfect relationship. They’ve explained how they’ve settled eventually for what they initially couldn’t accept. But I believe it, I believe that the kind of love I want to experience and share with a man exists. The kind of love where just looking into each other’s eyes is enough to understand just how much you love each other; the kind of love where ones’ sillyness or quirks complements the others’ perfectly and you know that having that person in your life makes you a better person every day. It seems unfair for me to settle for someone knowing that I was capable of even greater love than what I could offer him. I have yet to meet someone where I felt like I loved him with everything I had. I do not have proof that this kind of love exists but I have a strong guttural feeling, and I mean don’t most awesome things happen when one decides to go with their hunch?
Keynes (the economist) is believed to have said, “Newton (as in Sir Isaac Newton of gravity discovery fame) owed his success to his muscles of intuition. Newton’s powers of intuition were the strongest and most enduring with which a man has ever been gifted.”
My powers of intuition tell me my silly hopes of happily-ever-after just as my books have described them exist and it will happen to me when the time is right. Some people may think I am being a foolish woman and that I need to be realistic, to them I say, Stop! with the bourgeoisie thinking. Not all unions need to be about advancing one’s social standing! (you like how I managed to through the term ‘bourgeoisie’ in there in order to keep with my cool character HA!).