I’m standing at that holiday party. Family, friends, friends of family, and that random guy who keeps eating all the good crackers are there. No one has said much to me since I hid in the corner with my plate of hummus, but then I see it happening from across the room. She is approaching. I can’t remember if she is my aunt’s friend or some distant relative. The “hellos” are short, but before I can run away, she asks the dreaded question: “So, are you dating anyone?”
Now, I’m a little too sarcastic for my own good and usually say I’m joining a nunnery or make up a boyfriend they are sure never to ask me about again (Hector: 37, recovering heroine addict, illegally sells toasters). But other than that, I realize this is a valid question for my generation.
However, these points are valid too.
- Some people aren’t in college to find a husband. I would like to know who started that rumor that college is where you are going to find your life partner and hit them in the face with my five-mile-long to-do list that does not include getting hitched. Just because people of the same generation move to a town to live, work, and learn side by side does not mean we need to be paired up and herded into the ark. If you end up finding someone, good for you. I hope your marriage lasts longer than the time it will take to pay back your student loans. As for everyone else, getting married is not required to get your Bachelor’s Degree, so don’t grab the nearest semi-okay suitor the moment everyone’s Facebook relationship statuses start to get all too matrimonial.
- Your dating life is solely your business. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought when you started dating someone, the relationship was between you and that other person. Apparently, friends, family and random strangers will weigh in on your life choices and expect you to listen. I respect anyone voicing their opinion, but I am not going to be running around making everyone else happy when only my opinion really matters. Please leave all comments in the box outside labeled “Maybe She Can Handle Her Own Life.”
- There is no such thing as the “friend zone.” (This is just a pet peeve, but definitely still a point to remember.) You really want to have someone never talk to you again, just mention how unfair it was for them to put you in this imaginary zone. First off, the fact that this term has a negative connotation disgusts me. Is being someone’s friend really that terrible? In my opinion, most people tend to treat their friends better than someone they are dating because they aren’t worried about them falling in love with someone else or cheating on them. Second, if your only intention while getting to know someone and being friendly towards them is to eventually date them, just stop. The moment you voice your intentions and they don’t reciprocate, take a deep breath and realize that is okay. Wouldn’t you rather be on the same page with someone who you value?
- You win some. You learn some. Dating someone is kind of like buying a new sweater. You are really excited, wear it all the time, and are so happy. But when it comes to washing it, you don’t remember what your mother told you about separating delicate and jeans and all hell breaks loose. You accidentally bleach it. You tear the elbow. That spaghetti-o’s stain is never coming out. You ruined your new pride and joy, and now the trash has some new threads. Now you know how to handle things next time, right? I’m not sure if that comparison explains more about dating or my laundry habits, but you get the point. Sometimes there are fatalities (of the heart only, I hope!) and sometimes it all works out.
Most importantly: dating isn’t our generation’s sole purpose in life. Ask us about our summer job or school. Although we hate those questions too, so it might be better to just leave us alone in the corner with our hummus.