Considering I had just spent almost an entire year of my life dating a man who, when I asked for his help one Saturday afternoon during an allergic reaction where my breathing became irregular due to the closing of my airways, told me to call someone who lived closer as he had his own problems to deal with, I knew it was for real over this time around (in addition to the other thirty-seven failed attempts). I was done giving, and certainly done letting him take pieces of my heart here, and there, and oh, over there too whenever he damn well pleased. There was no question that I would ever again entertain a relationship with a man who wasn’t willing to hop in a cab from a few zip codes away to hold my hand while the Benadryl kicked in and I realized I wasn’t going to die alone in my apartment like the cat lady who talked herself to sleep every night in apartment six.
So when a coworker sent me an article titled “Why You’re Not Married” written by TV writer Tracy McMillan, I turned around from my desk and said, “Do I even need to read this? I think we all know that I’m not married because I choose to have relationships with people who would take my death over missing the second half of a Tottenham soccer match.”
All of us have friends, sisters, coworkers, etc. who are borderline obsessed with finding husbands, fixated on having a ring on their finger before the age of thirty, as if it’s some sort of precondition to living the rest of your life. From age five they know the exact cut of the diamond on their engagement ring, what kind of flowers will comprise their centerpieces, what font their invitations will be printed in, the list goes on with monotony. But I had never been one to obsess over weddings and just thinking about seating arrangements and all that “something borrowed, something blue” bullshit was enough to make me want to projectile vomit wedding cake everywhere.
Nonetheless, the truth of the matter was that I too eventually wanted to get married. I would be lying if I said I didn’t, full of complete malarkey if I swore that I was an independent woman who didn’t need (or want) some crapshoot of an institution to make me feel like a contributing member of society. And maybe, just maybe, that was one of the reasons I had dealt with Alejandro’s joke of an effort for so long. Foolish of me? Yes. But atypical of a woman in her late twenties who has invested both time and deep-felt emotions into a relationship? Absolutely not.
I clearly wasn’t married because I hadn’t found the right man to settle down with, but there were probably a number of other reasons as well, in which I decided were in my best interest to explore since I was once again ready to pound the single gal pavement. In her article, McMillan laid out six key reasons as to why the unmarried woman reading her article was not yet married: 1) you’re a bitch; 2) you’re shallow; 3) you’re a slut; 4) you’re a liar; 5) you’re selfish; and 6) you’re not good enough.
Well suck me sideways and call me Sally, I thought to myself. I wasn’t about to take McMillian’s theories to the grave as gospel, but I was damn well woman enough to admit that I fell into a few of the above-named categories. Could I be a bitch? Umm, I’m a New York Aquarian who refuses to deal with incompetent cab drivers and straight men who order Cosmopolitans when I’m behind the bar—hardly abnormal “bitch” circumstances if you ask me. Cab drivers who don’t know how to get on the FDR North from 82nd Street more than deserve a verbal licking peppered with F-bombs just the same as non-tipping, Cosmo-slurping men deserve to be publicly embarrassed for both their drink choice and cheapness. Does that make me un-marriable? NO! (Yes, grammar Nazis—I made that word up).
Had I stopped seeing a man because I hated his shoes or the fact that he wore corduroys every day of his life? Yes, check that shallow box. Had I had one night stands and booty calls? Story of my early twenties—and guess what? I’m totally ok with it. Ahhh the liar thing—yep told a few of those in my days, both to the men I was dating and even more destructively, to myself. And in terms of the whole selfish jazz, well, according to Alejandro I was the most selfish person this side of Fifth Avenue, but if being selfish means cooking your loved one dinner, staying in unheated apartments in the dead of winter just to be next to them, and leaving flowers, candy, and DVD’s just to brighten a day here and there, then I’d love me a selfish East Sider.
And lastly, the old “not good enough” mindset is an obstacle we all encounter whether we’re feeling fat one day or can’t imagine that the Ryan Gosling look-a-like that lives down the hall would ever give you a shot in hell unless he was thirteen shots deep in Cuervo. We can’t all be 100% confident all of the time. Feelings of inadequacy, as well as the five other premises McMillan addressed, are not actually reasons I’m not married, my coworkers aren’t married, or my college girlfriends aren’t married—they’re the things that make us all human. No one’s character is flawless and whether you have one, or all six, of McMillan’s “Why You’re Not Married” prongs doesn’t take you out of the running as marriage material. They simply make you a completely normal, single woman dating and living in the twenty-first century. Eventually, a man will come along who accepts these so-called flaws, but to him they won’t be deal breakers—they will be the imperfections that make you you.
So while I wait for some African prince to come and sweep me off my feet on the corner of 82nd Street, I’m staying me. Suck it, McMillan.