I’m not one to comment on the Manhattan dating scene since I’ve only been on a few dates in my seven months here. I am, however, definitely one to comment on the not-dating scene. Where I come from in Texas, it’s common to be married and have several children by your early twenties. I thought that’s what I wanted, but that probably stems from my adolescent cravings for fitting in.
For most of my dating life, my self esteem was sub-par so I often took on parts of their personalities. He liked Star Wars so I liked Star Wars. He liked salsa dancing so I liked salsa dancing. He dressed conservatively, so I wore pearls and cardigans. He liked ambiguous relationships, so I pretended to be OK with it, too. While there’s nothing wrong with sharing interests with my past partners, there was something wrong with my intention. I chose to dive head first into their hobbies, so I didn’t have to discover my own.
My relationships always started in a bar. I was either his bartender or his co-worker. They all began as hookups and alcohol fueled their tumultuous longevity. Looking back at my series of unfortunate love affairs, I see one common thread: fear. I was afraid of being alone, so I hopped from one guy to the next. I was afraid that he would leave me, so I left him first. Now I’m afraid of what dating will be like without drinking as our common bond.
I’ve now been single for a year and a half and I’ve finally been doing what I want to do – not what a man wants me to do. I colored my hair. I got tattoos. I traveled Europe. I fell back in love with writing. I moved to New York City. I stopped drinking.
Now I see that a shared love of Guns n Roses and Jack Daniels is rarely enough for lasting love. I’m beginning to learn who I truly am and what I’m looking for in someone else. I know that I need someone who makes their health and fitness a priority. He needs to be ambitious, but also knows how to enjoy the present moment. Long hair and tattoos are always a bonus.
I’ve been in several serious relationships; I’ve even been engaged – but I still haven’t found “the one”. Maybe for now, “the one” is me. My family often asks me why I’m not dating and when I’m going to have kids. My two reasons remain to be true: Dating scares me and I really enjoy getting to know me.
My group of friends in New York City consists of both men and women of multiple ethnicities and sexualities. A few of my friends are in relationships and are very happy with their partner, but the majority of them are single. Some date casually, some just hook up, and some don’t date at all. Single isn’t a bad word here. It’s actually pretty common. We are New Yorkers who spend our time working out, creating our own personal brand, or following our passions. We’re not single because nobody wants us. We’re not single because we’re busy partying. We are just people doing bad ass things in the city and we happen to be single.