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20 Years Single, But Never Alone

I never had to get my prom date a boutonniere.

In fact, I never had a prom date. All throughout high school, a boy never took me to a school dance. That means no corsage. No rose petals on the bed. No high school romance. I simply went to school dances with my girls.  

 
Now at 20 years old, not too much has changed in the love department. I’ve had my hookups and flings that have never turned into anything substantial. I’ve only gone on two dates and – hold on, try not to cringe – I’ve never had a boyfriend. Yep folks, I have been single for 20 years. And whenever there is a family party I get the “Do you have anyone special back at school?” question, to which, embarrassingly, I never know how to answer. 
 
Now, this isn't one huge whine-fest: I know I have an amazing life. I have a ton of friends who are seriously the most ridiculous and hysterical people on earth. I am not an introvert; I’m outgoing and am always ready to have a good time. You want to go out and party? Call me. I’ll probably be down.
 
So why have I been single for so long? I – along with my big fat Jewish family and awesome friends – have had our theories.

From the little irrational voice inside my head: I’m too fat. Too ugly. Too flat-chested. Too pale. Too short. And have too weird of a voice – a mixture of my Chicago and Jewish roots, which has made others dub me Fran Drescher – for anyone to ever like me. My thighs are too big. My stomach too flabby. Guys only like tan girls, not pale girls like me. I’m going to be single forever because I am not beautiful. No boy will ever love me or find me attractive.

From my extended family: I’m a lesbian. I mean, I am 20 years old and have never brought a boy home to meet the family. And yes, I do have a good amount of gay guy friends (as every girl should). And I am receiving a second degree in gender studies and I do call myself a “feminist.” So, I often must explain that yes - I like boys.
 
From my wise friends: I lack confidence. With guys I can come off as standoffish, and think they will only like my friends and reject me. I have already made up my mind that nobody will ever love me for me. My friends say I have a whole lot of personality and I need someone who is “ready for this jelly.”
 
So what theory is right? After much self-reflection, I’ve decided it’s No. 3. And I’m sure this rings true for lots of single ladies out there.

To all my solo chicas: We don't have to feel lonely.
I know that I have gotten down on myself for never having a boyfriend. Yes, I have moped around because all of my friends have consulted me about their boyfriends, their relationship troubles, their blooming relationships, the four boys they have been juggling at once, their stubborn hickeys, their sex lives and their fabulous dates. Although I try to give good advice, I usually can’t relate. Trust me, I know how hard it is to be the least experienced girl out of your group of friends. It sucks. But moping around and feeling bad about yourself is not the answer.

I must say, however, I have learned a lot about myself through my singlehood. I have grown to be self-reliant and have gotten to know the person I am – and the person I want to be. I do not need a man to feel whole. I have many friends who are serial monogamists – they constantly have boyfriends – and can’t be content with just being on their own. I’ve been on my own for so long that I have learned to feel comfortable with who I am. I have never had to change – or have had to feel the need to change – because of someone else.

So, you think I’m too loud? Wear earplugs. Too opinionated? Too bad. You don’t like me like that? I’ll find someone else who does. I have finally realized that I do not need to change who I am to get a guy. No breast implants. No extreme dieting. No tanning booths. The only thing that needs to change is the way I think about myself. I, just like most young women out there, have a really poor self-perception. As cliché as it sounds, I cannot expect anyone to love me if I do not love myself.
 
You (yes, you!) and I need to realize just how fabulous we are. I know that eventually some guy will think I am just as amazing as my friends say I am. Someday a guy will love me and appreciate me for me. Hopefully, that won’t take another 20 years, but while I wait I’ll be patient and not put myself down. I’ve realized that during these past 20 years, I have not been ready to date. With my newfound positive outlook on myself, I can truly say: I’m single and ready to mingle! 

 

Alyssa Goldman is a junior at Indiana University majoring in journalism and gender studies. Alyssa aspires to be an editor at a women’s magazine writing about women’s issues and feminism. Alyssa has served as city & state editor and special publications editor for the Indiana Daily Student, IU’s award-winning student newspaper. She has also interned at Chicago Parent magazine, the IU Office of University Communications and Today’s Chicago Woman magazine. Currently, she is interning at Bloom, a city magazine in Bloomington, Ind., and loves being a Campus Correspondent for HC! In her spare time, Alyssa enjoys watching The Bad Girls Club, The Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives (of any city); listening to Lady Gaga; drinking decaf skinny vanilla soy lattes from Starbucks; reading magazines; and shopping and eating with her girls on IU’s infamous Kirkwood Avenue.
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