We’ve all been there: a busy party or reunion with family and friends, just trying to make it to the bathroom for a moment of silence when the sister of your aunt’s cousin begins lightly interrogating you and poses the question, “So, are you dating anyone?”
“Here we go again,” you think.
And it’s not necessarily the question that bothers you, but the answer you get, regardless of what you tell them.
Let’s say in this instance you decide to tell the truth: that you’re single and quite happy that way. Perhaps you’ve been really busy with school and a job, or that — and here’s something crazy — you aren’t looking for a relationship.
But it’s the reply that really gets me:
“Aw, that’s OK!” Second aunt, twice-removed Angie tells you.
“Hell yeah, it’s okay,” you sit there thinking. You finish up your conversation anyway, discussing politics and the weather before you make an escape to the bathroom and finally get the solitude you deserve.
You start to think about how perfectly ok it is for you to not have a boyfriend, and how much the obvious words of consolation after you told her this really pissed you off.
Because yes, it’s ok, but it’s also awesome, liberating, freeing and fun to not have a boyfriend.
Because yes, you don’t need one to be complete.
Let me say that again, just to make sure you caught it: Being in a relationship doesn’t make you better, more complete or more successful than someone who isn’t in one.
That’s a sentiment that needs to weave its way into the subtle small talk of a family gathering.
Elon University sophomore Marcella Mastrocola says she sympathizes with this subject, as she, too, has been the victim of a prying conversation about whether she is dating Prince Charming and when the wedding is.
“I hate when people at home ask me if I’m dating someone in college and get all awkward when I say I’m not,” Mastrocola said. “I especially hate the comforting they try to do afterward. I don’t need a boyfriend to be a finished product. I’m perfectly happy by myself.”
In a recent study, Campus Explorer reported that 56 percent of students who go to college are female, which means that “finding a boyfriend,” the end-all-be-all to Angie, may be harder than she thinks, as women are in the majority on campuses.
They also report that 32 percent of college relationships are long distance, meaning that just because your roommate has a loving long-time boyfriend from high school at a school a few hours away, you need not be ashamed about not having one, because she is in the minority.
And lastly, what Campus Explorer doesn’t tell us is that there’s no correlation between having a significant other and the amount of success in your life.
Single people can be happy, too.
So, my advice to all you single (or taken, I’m not discriminating) ladies trying to navigate the choppy waters of a family dinner is that you stand your ground, and regardless of your relationship status, make it clear that you’re just fine the way you are.
You don’t need Angie’s soothing words when you tell her something she doesn’t want to hear.
It’s a new age, Angie. Ladies can do anything and get mad respect for it, and need not report back to a man at the end of the day.
Get used to it.