UnDateable

Truth - The dating landscape has changed drastically in the path few decades. The ways that people are getting together, why they're doing it, and how long they stay way varies more and more. The notion of traditionalism that centers heteronormative coupling may be alive and well but the normalized narrative has received quite a few retoolings, edits, and both compatible and not-so-compatible counternarratives. The reality is some folx have partners, other don't - that's okay. There are still ways in which the former relegates those "without" as (dun, dun, dun) undateable. 

"Single is no longer a lack of options – but a choice. A choice to refuse to let your life be defined by your relationship status but to live every day Happily and let your Ever After work itself out.”  Mandy Hale


I'm undateable. There I said it. At the same time I'm also the "ideal" person. Body type, height, weight, smile, fashion sense, gainful employment, domesticity (cooks, cleans, launders), cultured interests (civic engagement, literature, photography, etc.), emotionally available & intelligent, educated, humor, charm, and love kids - what more could you ask for from what society says people should want? Save for the whole increase in eumelanin thing, the world would have me believe I'm a top catch. Wrong. Not about the whole top catch thing - my mom says I am so it's true but rather this idea of being ideal. It's nonsense. It's total crap. It's exclusionary. It's limiting. It's unrealistic. People have different preferences (albeit those are socialized too - *cough race is not a preference it's just racism *cough) and what is appealing to them. Some people aren't even interested in romantic and/or sexual relationships. Some people like people of all gender identities and gender expressions. Some people like just one mixture of all the things that make us who we are. Some people own their labels, and some people like things less stringently defined. Whether you subscribe to normalized machinations of sex, sexuality, gender, and gender expression or your queer as hell you get to like who you like and no one gets to tell you otherwise. Ideal means something different to everyone. *Shoutout to all the LGBTQIA+ folx for being your beautiful self, existing, and persisting. Happy Pride!

I am not here for people shaming single people. I'm actually just a person, not someone laying in wait for the mythical one to come make my life complete. I'm not closed off to it but I also have no intention of settling for love. I want, no need, no demand a person as absolutely amazing as I am. My self-esteem, my self-worth, and my self-awareness are too strong to accept anything else. I deserve it. And that is something no one can take away from me.  Life is not about finding love in another person, at least for everyone. I don't subscribe to that narrative. You can quote me on that. Co-sign, retweet, and checked for quality assurance. I am whole. I am full. I am enough. I do not need someone else, point blank, period, full stop. 

The older you get the more the damaged goods, tragically single, and deficit mindset gets projected on to you. Save me the pity because I'm living my best life, I'm thriving, and doing damn well. The addition of someone else to my life does nothing to change that. I'm not waiting for my time, my rescuer, my puzzle piece. My story is well-rounded all by itself. With a partner, I'm still me and enjoying the bounties of life. If anything a boo, bae, significant other, whatever you want to call it is extra, as in non-essential. Without a babe, honey bunches of oats, pudding pop, sugar, locally sourced kale chard organic mix, what have you, I'm still a human full of love, light, laughter, hope, joy, and purpose. People take different paths in life. Some want a partner, and want children. Others want adventure, to have an impact through their work, or to just be. And others still want and have it all. None of those things are mutually exclusive, unless you want them to be. Whatever people choose, they choose for themselves, and that's all that matters. 



Deal-breakers - everybody has them. They are those characteristics, behaviors, or words that are red flag signaling it's probably time to abort the mission. What irks me about mine is that they are pretty basic but often get critiqued as excessive. Is it too much for me to require anyone who even entertains the idea of pursuing me to have some basic social justice knowledge? And by that I literally mean, I just do not want have to subject myself to educating a partner on my existence, the socially constructed trial and tribulations of my life, and the ins and outs of being deemed "other." Nobody wants to have to their story over and over, but when you come along with this story of a lifetime worth of discrimination based on racism, colorism, and xenophobia then it's part of your personal safety, preservation of self-worth, and rejection of interpersonal and institutionalized bull-crap that says you are less than American, less than worthy of love, and less than human. Is it really too much for me to expect potential love interests to either be relatively "woke" (i.e. of systems of oppression, their impacts, and reifications through stereotypes, stigmas, and expectations) or at least willing to have critical dialogue around identity issues. Pretty much just not here to have my humanity debated or my experiences invalidated by some isolationist and revisionist nonsense. Race may not be real but it has real and deadly impacts on how I move through this world. Read a book, google some basics, or watch a Buzzfeed video - I don't expect perfection just self-awareness and accountability for what you know/don't know, and your impacts. 



Here's where I own my biases and my privileged positionality. The rest of my deal breakers are admittedly knit-picky, elitist, and classist. I'll admit it because the opportunities I was afforded with access to education, language, and lifestyle I expect a certain pedigree. I'm slowly but surely trying to deprogram my tendencies to write people off as incompatible. It's funny to see how my validation of diverse experiences permeates through everything I do save for when it comes to romance. It's a problem and I'm naming it. It shows up the way I dress, the extent of my wardrobe, the car I drive (the fact that I don't rely on public transportation), the food I've experienced (and its costs), and the language I use. 

That last one in how I communicate, the words I'm familiar with, the concepts, theories, ideas, etc. it separates me from so many people. Of course there are ways to speak/write in the common vernacular and knowing your audience is important - accessibility of language matters. At the same time, I should not have to limit myself, or what I talk about because the person courting me cannot keep up. There's no real delicate way to put that. And for someone who reads, writes, and consumes media so much that is an essential part of who I am. I guess I'm stuck in the upper echelons of the ivory tower but if we're not debating politics, deconstructing prose, film, and television, or critiquing all that we observe, what is there to talk about? I need a certain ambition. I have big plans on how I want to change the world - someone who can keep up and wants the same is necessary. I live my life with a certain panache and while it definitely be toned down, should it have to be for someone to fit in to my life? All my privilege has greatly limited my prospects. I'm living through high level worldview but I realize the vast majority of people have a drastically different perspective. That's okay for all of us. 


What I have come to realize in my limited experiences with dating and romantic relationships is that they are all about intentionality. Relationship are work. They don't just happen, contrary to pop culture depictions. People don't just fall into place in your life. Synchronization is not automatic. You have to make room for them. You have to choose for them to be there. You have to try with them. The longer you do it, the easier it becomes but relationships are always effort. It may seem effortless, but make no mistake that they are active choices nonetheless. Dates, hangouts, sex, sleeping, parenthood, support, challenge, growth, etc. whatever with another person is all about action. Those things don't just happen, it's a choice (sometimes a subconscious one) to be there, to be present, to be in love, to be together. 

For me, I don't see myself being ready, wanting to, or being willing to put effort into adjusting having another person around - I barely can maintain friendships. I may never want to do the work of relationships. And that is okay. I don't have to. Not everyone needs to. There is nothing wrong with those who do the work of relationships and those who do not want to. Maybe I'm undateable but I might just very well at peace with that. X

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