A few months ago, my parents gave me a beautiful, leather-bound journal to record my thoughts. If you’ve noticed an increase in coherence and theme in my more recent posts, you can thank that journal. Four of the last five entries have originated and worked out their kinks in those hand-written pages where order and legibility can take a back seat to setting down thoughts and feelings as they come.
This entry began in that journal as an appreciative list of the various romantic moments I’ve experienced in my life. Despite my constant whinging about love and romance, I have had countless opportunities to feel cute. One time, I curled up in front of a fireplace with a boy, a scratchy plaid blanket, and a mug full of wine and pretended we were in a Folgers commercial. Another time a boy bought flowers from a market to impress me but forgot to water them so they were adorably droopy by the time I came over. There are a lot of sweet stories, and I smile when I remember them, but when it comes to translating those thoughts and memories from a private journal to a public blog entry, my confidence always falters.
The thing is…I have had nice moments with young men, but I’ve never been in a relationship. That stark failure still casts its shadow over even the happiest moments. I’ve wanted to write about my love life for a long time, because I think it’s funny, sweet, sad, and empowering in all the right ways. I tell the stories out loud all the time, but it feels somehow different to write them down. Today I learned that I’m not quite ready to reflect seriously on all those aborted attempts to create something meaningful between two humans. No matter how nice the memories, they still leave me wondering in a way that is both unproductive and self-loathing. Turns out, it’s easier to laugh at your love life than appreciate it. Today is not the day I share.
“Then why make this post at all?” you ask. The answer is simple: as I approach spinsterhood, more and more of my friends are buying cats, meeting their soul mates, and getting married. The older I get, the more my newsfeed bleeds red hearts and roses. I’m not ignoring Valentine’s Day this year because Valentine’s Day has become impossible to ignore. Since there is nothing more comforting than feeling included, I have decided to join the pink madness. Instead of letting myself rot with bitterness, I took time in the shower to [massage my feet and] create a beautifully self-affirming list.
10 Reasons Why I’ll Stay Single This Year
1. I am more jealous of my friends with cats than I am of those with actual human partners. It’s true. If you’ve posted a picture of you with a feline friend, I have burned with envy. If you’ve posted a picture with your boyfriend….meh.
2. I sleep best when I can fart and drool freely. When I was in middle school, I used to pretend to sleep on the bus to sporting events, hoping my male teammates would see me napping serenely and be overcome with desire. I expertly relaxed my face and fluttered my eyelashes every few seconds. I kept my neck stiff so that my skull wouldn’t crash against the window unattractively on bumpy roads. Happily, I have (almost) given up on my dreams of falling in love on a bus.
3. I hate both talking dirty and talking baby…and talking in general. Among the list of words I dislike: sexy, babe, honey, sweetheart, snuggle, whore, and nipple.
4. I take better pictures with self-timer than actual humans do when they offer to take them for me. No, you cannot take my picture, well-meaning person. Please remove yourself from this area so that I might proceed as planned.
5. I get frustrated by novels with too many relationships and not enough plot. It is far more interesting and meaningful to me how characters engage with their world than how they engage with each other in bed.
6. I want to travel the world alone. I’ve had the best adventures of my life travelling by myself in Europe. As such, I prefer my imagination and quiet people-watching to constant companionship and hand-holding abroad.
7. I just ran out of my favorite lipstick, and I’m too cheap and lazy to buy another. Sorry, boys, these luscious lips are going bare for a while. I bought it for my senior prom in 2008. I doubt they even make it anymore.
8. I won’t call you, and I won’t answer when you call me. Unless you’re my mom, my boss, or my best friend the best way to reach me is not at all.
9. I hate sharing the shower with anything with eyes. This includes: spiders, ants, squirrels, wasps, birds, and boys.
10. I’m pretty darn awesome as is. I’m literally a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need a man. If it ain’t broke, after all, don’t fix it.
Valentine’s Day is great for couples. My friends are having a blast with their partners (and cats), and it makes me happy to see them smile, but there’s nothing in the rules that says I can’t celebrate my love for myself. I may be single, but I’ve got a bottle of wine, a box of mac and cheese, a video of a fireplace to add to the mood, and a new show on Netflix. Sorry, but you don’t have to worry. I think I’m all set.