I consider myself undateable.
I don’t mean undateable in the stereotypical not showering and frequently drinking too much way, although I do tend to drink too much and sometimes a few days pass between hair washes. In fact, several of my close friends who saw the movie “Trainwreck” were not shy about telling me how much it reminded them of me. Admittedly, I also saw a lot of myself in Amy Schumer’s unwavering and sometimes misguided self-reliance.
The truth is that many of the reasons I see myself as undateable are both created and enforced in my head. In her article, “The True Confessions Of Being a Side-Chick,” Ella concludes that, “The true confession of being a side-chick is that it’s up to us if we want to fall under this category.” After reading it, I couldn’t help but think of all the times I’ve brushed off or justified any failed interaction with someone of the opposite sex, telling myself that I’m OK with it for this or that reason. I’ve always seen myself as “one of the guys,” the other woman, the noncommittal-but-reliable confidante and/or the super-cool female friend, and what all of these labels really mean is that I see myself as unworthy of having someone else’s long-term, exclusive affection.
The word unworthy has negative connotations, but I don’t mean it in a self-pitying way. I don’t mean that I, as a person, am unworthy. I mean that my mannerisms and my lifestyle are not always conducive to sharing with someone else. I hate having to commit to any social engagement; my go-to response to any invitation is a half-hearted “maybe!” I always need to have an easy out to lay on my couch with the lights off. I am very particular about the things I will do; I hate being in crowds, doing outdoor activities in any sort of extreme temperatures, and (I’ve heard) I get unbearably cranky if I go too long without eating. The people that are close to me understand all of these things, but I fear bringing some poor, unknowing outsider into that mess.
I’ve been in exactly one real relationship in my life. Granted, I’m 22, but I am far too reliant on my status as a perpetually single person to change how I feel about relationships. I see various aspects of the relationships around me, and I’ve convinced myself that to be in a one, I need to give up some part (or parts) of myself. If I don’t give myself entirely to one single person, there are no expectations surrounding the nature of the relationship. If I keep everyone at an arm’s length, no one will expect too much from me and no one gets disappointed. I consider myself “untethered,” rather than single, but really they’re the same thing. At the end of the night, I go to bed alone.
At the root of it all, I am absolutely terrified at the idea of relying on someone else, or having them rely on me and my whims. So, over the years, rather than attempting to meet people in social settings or using dating apps, I’ve excused any feelings I’ve ever had for anyone and cultivated the “strong, independent woman” act.