(*Actually, if you count my 7th grade "boyfriend" of 36 hours, we could say I had one boyfriend. This is a questionable addition, as after 36 hours of "dating" me--after asking me to be his girlfriend on AOL Instant Messenger--he realized, and I'm not kidding here, that he was gay. So let's say I've had 1/2 a boyfriend.)
A therapist would say this is because I don't love myself enough or value my worth, but I would argue I love myself too much and think I'm worth way more than the market value of a standard Madde Gibba. I routinely Google myself and can be found gently grazing my hands on my jawline to ensure I have no wild old lady hairs popping up. A therapist who's also a mom might say I'm dating the wrong man-boys, but I would argue the wrong man-boys are dating me. I don't ask to date man-boys who fear being seen with me in public, or have some PTSD from their own mothers not loving them enough to come to their childhood science fairs or whatever they are so sad about now that causes them to run in the other direction the moment I share an opinion on how they could spend their time smoking less weed and maybe reading one book. So if I like myself and I'm not actively choosing crazy people, what could be the problem?
When I was kid we would play the game "M.A.S.H." For anyone over 40, it's a game preteens play to predict their future and dream of their perfect husbands, suburban lives, and ultimately unattainable goals of adult perfection that will come crashing down in a few years time. Listing 3 crushes was never hard for me to do. I'm the Queen of Crushes. If you make me laugh at a party, I probably have a crush on you halfway through my first snort laugh. If you put eggs gently into my grocery bag while bagging my groceries, I probably will think of you the whole drive home. If you have "trouble" literally written all over your face with magic markers, I will look past it, and swoon over you for many minutes. So there I was, listing off my crushes for a game of M.A.S.H, but when it came time to figure out which one I would marry--I freaked out. The thought of having to choose just Colin Firth, Andrew from the football game, or the cute Pete from "Pete and Pete" was far too much for me to bear. Why couldn't I have them all? Would Pete be sad if I picked Colin? Would Colin rub it in Andrew's face, forcing him take a harsh look at his own sexuality and come out of the closet after the Homecoming football game? Choosing. Making a choice. It was too much. In improvisation we say that just making a choice is the greatest choice you can make. Sticking to it and boldly committing to the choice you made, saying YES to yourself. Am I not making bold choices? Am I stuck in the headspace of my adolescent self? Is cute Pete still cute? Is he available? Do I not know how to make a choice? Is this my problem?
.....Then I realized something huge, maybe the real problem is that everyone thinks this is a problem.
.....Being boyfriend-less is NOT a problem.
There is no flaw inside of me for being 26 and having no boyfriend. There is no need to speak in whispered tones around me when discussing how your other guests got a "plus one" to your wedding and I did not because you just assumed I still wouldn't have a boyfriend by November of 2016. Best friends, I don't feel sad when you go on double dates together while I stay at home and catch up on "Broad City," but it would be nice if you would call me back for our overdue lunch date that you keep rescheduling because your boyfriend "might have a thing" you have to go to. I am not a leper, I am a single. Do not proceed with caution or forced compassion for my "ailment". I am single and for the first time in my life, I am actually making the choice to be so.
I didn't choose the heartbreaks I have felt in my life, but I always had a hand in them. I played a major role in facilitating them in college by going out on dates with boys who were the saddest at the party and then lured me back to their disgusting apartments to read me their poetry about how they were always too skinny as a kid. I was the leading lady in the love catastrophes of my early 20s in which I allowed boys to sext message me while sitting at a table full of our friends, and then secretly going to make out by a lake in between his original songs about how his clowning career never took off and his mother never supported his dreams of big shoes. And so to learn from my mistakes, I have a choice. Continue down the path of being surprised by yet another sad male slam poetry session, or take a moment, step back, and choose something better.
I'm not sad that I don't have a boyfriend and I know that bothers people. I know people don't believe me when I say it, but it's true. It's taken 26 years for me to figure out that I get to choose how this story goes. I'm excited for the day when I find someone who is as proud to be with me as I am to be with them. I value myself enough to not be treated any less than I deserve. I've kissed a lot of frogs, but it's time to wash that weird pond water out of my mouth and be more discerning in the lily pads I settle into. So there. M.A.S.H. loses, M.A.D.D.E wins.