With or Without You

I am 21 and single. I have never been in a relationship, not even so much so, as a fling. I have never been kissed by anyone. (drunk girlfriends obviously do not count) And yes I am human (STILL) and not completely pathetic (YET). It is also 3 o’clock at night and I am awake, which usually means that I am either at my creative best or at my emotional worst. It was only a matter of time before I realized that it was the latter that had been keeping me from my sweet slumber. So with a little hope of the former being true as well, I turned to some writing therapy.

It was of course one of those disturbing lonely nights when you feel like indulging in self torture by confining yourself to the four walls of your depressing room, listening to some sad music, getting intoxicated on the leftover alcohol from your last party (which according to you was a hundred thousand years ago) and thinking about all the things that are possibly wrong with your life.

It is at times like these that our brain shuts down any kind of happy thought and is capable of only processing things like family drama , career complications , money matters , physical complexes or a lousy love life or as was in my case , no love life at all. So, I started to wonder, as to, what exactly was wrong with me. Except that, it wasn’t just me, but a whole pool of single attractive normal women out there who were waiting in singleland for their prince charming to rescue them from a life of boredom and no sexual intercourse. So why is it that despite, 3517450 testosterone charged bodies present on the earth, we fail to find that our Mr right?

I personally think, it has got something to do with the ‘I want to eat this cake and have it too’ phenomenon, where we modern women, want the intimacy just as much as we want the autocracy. So, although I am a sucker for all that kissing, caressing, bear hugging, being there, spending time together and loving each other with all that we have, I am definitely a tad bit awkward with him sniffing through my phone for flirty messages from my ex (not that I have one), or calling me up at 3 am because he thinks there is a long haired, white sari clad woman in his room doing paranormal activity, or telling me to not to talk to the sweet guy in my economics class because he is hitting on me or treating me like a kinder garden kid by setting barometers for the amount of cleavage or limbs that should be on public display and for the amount of congeniality and camaraderie I should adhere to, when hanging out with his friends etc.

Too bad that some of us grew up hogging on feminist novels when we should have been concentrating on reading self help books that would teach us ‘’how to get a guy in ten days’’. Now we want to guard our pride and independence with our life, even if it is a sad one. Our inner Gloria Steinem awakens at the thought of submitting to the whims of a man. And therefore we would rather live in denial than be the damsel in distress.

My doting girlfriends and wishful thinking (courtesy: fairy tales) are also equally responsible to make me believe that ”I deserve the best” and there is no way in hell that I should be looking to settle for less than that. So sometimes I think it is okay to eliminate a guy on not so concrete reasons such as – he is rude to the waiter or he has a serious case of grammar handicap or he wears gaudy eye popping clothes. My quick elimination strategy certainly doesn’t seem wise, considering the ever endangered pool of good guys available at our disposal. But, what else am I supposed to do? I mean, if you are a man over 18, and you need me to give you lessons on mannerisms or grammar or appropriateness, then I think I am allowed to judge you a little bit.

However, despite being aware of my own relationship sabotaging ways, I can’t deny the fact that we all seek love. A little attention and a little affection would be nice every now and then. So, we singles have a choice to make. We could either stay unattached and by ourselves or we could compromise on our plans and settle for a good enough option. And despite what you choose to do, it still remains a lose-lose proposition. Now, how did we ever allow that to happen?

After a lot of analysis and soul searching, I think it’s safe to say that, there is no such thing as a perfect person and a perfect relationship. So, we should all stop clinging to our intangible standards of what we thought being in love would feel like and be prepared for a whole lot of compromise. But we must also be aware that there is a thin line between reasonable settlement and desperate settlement.

Sometimes I feel the fear of being alone or single forever pushes us to go for the easier seeming option and makes us too complacent. I have come across so many people who are together, not because they cannot live without each other, but simply because they are too used to each other. They would sulk and crib about being in a relationship with their friends and but practice the exact opposite, because being single and trying to mingle all over again seems way too exhausting.

Also, speaking out of experience, being single is not as sad as people make it to be. It baffles me a little when people give me that sympathetic smile or that jaw dropping look when I tell them I have never dated a guy. It for sure is not as depressing as being stuck with a man who doesn’t make me happy. I might have my share of cranky days and lonely nights when I will yearn for the presence of a man in my life. But at least I get to wake up every morning in the hope of meeting someone special who would rock my world. So for now I’d stick to BEING ME, hoping that it will happen when it has to happen. This is the road I have taken, not out of choice, but more so due to the lack of it.

I also have my family, my friends, my work, my dog and other generally fabulous things in my life that make things a little easier on me. And for everything else there is chocolate!

Divya Gaba