Yesterday I was talking to a good friend about my lack of potential for meeting potential romantic partners in this world. (Ha, see what I did there? I love writers’ puns…)
Anyway, before I began explaining my side of the story he informed me to never change who I am, in spite of who I think I should be to garner more attention.
While I agree wholeheartedly that I should not change myself for a man, I disagreed with him on his next point: He said the “right man” will come along.
My friend meant well, he really did. He could have said, “You’ll never really find anyone to date.” He could have said, “You’re not dating now because ____ is wrong with you.” But I tell myself those things all the time. Why? Well, it may not sound logical to the rest of you, but I firmly believe, deep in the recesses and cavities and holes that life has punctured inside of me, that I do not deserve a boyfriend because of standards and expectations held of women in the United States.
Let me explain: I have noticed this prevailing desire in men to seek women with good hair and skin, who dress well but also suggest attraction (a.k.a. wear makeup and flattering clothing pertaining to whatever body type), who seem “normal” and who are intelligent but also kind, with an edge and a bubbliness and electricity that sometimes lends itself to fast talking and excitement. In the neighborhood I grew up, straight hair and lighter skin is seen as attractive, while the most socially desirable women walk around in tank tops and shorts regardless of their body type (curvy was the most common). The girls, I’ve noticed, talk quickly and have higher pitched voices, playfully giggle and sometimes sport tattoos and piercings. They have an accent I’ve only ever found in first or second-generation Southern California families that instantly makes them relatable, likeable, and friendly to other people, as if through their voices they are opening their hands to others as a white flag.
Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, ethnicities, religions, in every country of this diverse planet. Yet all my life I have been made to feel ugly because my skin is darker than others’. My unruly hair curls of its own accord and when I straighten it, it puffs out like I’ve been electrocuted. I have a double chin and a camel toe. I hate wearing shorts and instead wear dresses that make my stomach protrude and my thighs shake with every step. I don’t have any tattoos. I am insecure and shy at the worst times, spurned on by years of being discouraged from dating and made to feel uncomfortable by parents who always wanted to see their daughter focus instead on college. My voice is low and monotone, and the volume is sometimes so soft that people talk over me as though what I have to say doesn’t matter. I don’t have the accent most people have; instead, I’ve been told that when I talk, I sound so technical like a robot, or like a stereotypical brainiac who always has the answers, like Dorothy Ann from The Magic School Bus. And according to my research, I have never been asked out on a date except for one awkward time in high school, and even then the individual denies years later that he had ever asked me out to begin with, so for all I know it could have only been a dream. Even my prom was with someone whose family forced him into going with me–a pity date above all else.
So should I change who I am? Certainly not. I have friends who love me for a reason, and people I can rely on who are there for me because of who I am, not what I can give them. That counts for something in this world where not everyone is blessed with good people in their lives. But does this also mean that the “right person” has not come yet? I don’t know what is meant by the “right person.” There are people I’d never consider dating who treat others like crap, or who have deeply ingrained issues that would negatively affect the world. These certainly are not the “right people,” but then again they are not the right people for anybody at this point in their lives.
I am not going to lie: I am okay with being single because I have to be, because I have no other choice. I have tried dating websites and speed dating in public settings. I am a natural extrovert so I have no issues with meeting new people. I have joined a myriad of clubs where I am exposed to new people all the time–people I talk to. The fact that no one’s wanted to date me is insulting, and what’s more insulting is that when I do the asking, they were never interested in me to begin with. What other conclusions, then, can I logically draw? I am an ugly, undesirable, boring person, and no one yet has proved me wrong. And believe me, I want to be proven wrong. But I can only put so much energy, and I have to move on and focus on career goals, my family, writing, art, film, God, the other things in my life worth living for.
Of all the people I have ever crushed on, I think in their own ways they could have all been the “right people.” They tend to be intelligent, charismatic beings who treat others with respect and find common ground with me. They are also vastly different from one another. I cannot possibly fit the “right person” into a neat little box that checks off the “correct” qualities in a partner; that would never allow for that person to grow if they were always constricted to that criteria, nor would such a person ever exist because no one is perfect. Yes, there are people I would get along better with, become more attracted to, but this is also not a guarantee that I have met the “right person.”
In short, I don’t know what the phrase “right person” really means. A better phrase to use would be, “The person who will be mutually attracted to you will come along.” It is a two-way street, after all, regardless of who is “right,” wrong, or ultimately left behind.