Saturday, March 19

note to self

You're feeling sorry for yourself again. Don't. If you feel sorry for yourself then people will feel sorry for you and you hate that, remember? You want people to admire you, not look at you like you're something broken. Stop thinking everyone sees you as a failure. They don't. And if they do, it's because you feel like a failure. But you aren't. You've done everything you've ever set out to achieve and that counts for something. Maybe for a lot. So don't be so dramatic. Stop looking around and comparing yourself to every single one of your friends and wonder how it is that you are the only one who can't get a relationship to stick, or a guy to fall in love with. I know what you're thinking: They're prettier. Thinner. They dress better. Maybe they're smarter or funnier or just luckier. I guess you don't have the best of luck. Don't cry. We've been through this. Lots of women are single at 30, it doesn't mean they wont get married or have kids, eventually. Remember what they told you. He'll come into your life when you least expect it. Or when the time is right. You won't find him, he'll find you. You'll find him when you're open to it. When you're ready. I know you think you're ready but clearly you're not. And stop feeling lonely. Embrace your freedom. One day you'll be a wife and mother and you'll long for your single days. But you don't believe that. You're scared. You're afraid you'll never know what it feels like, to be a mother.  You want to feel like all these other girls, who have men loving them and taking care of them, like that girl who sits next to you in your office whose husband brings her water because he's worried she forgets to drink. You're jealous that no one cares if you forget to drink. Stop. Close your eyes. Imagine he is there. He is walking towards you with a glass of water and a tender smile and you're feeling really lucky. Like you're not alone. Picture him sitting next you at the dinner table with all your friends. Feel him holding your hand and smile because now you're finally like everyone else. Open your eyes. Don't cry.

Saturday, February 13

into the wild

It's a peculiar world out there, for those of us single gals and guys. I've been in the dating world in and out for the past fifteen years, and believe me when I tell you, the times are now different.

Forget the friend of a friend you might accidentally meet on a night out and hit it off. By thirty, you've met practically all of your friends' friends. And their new friends are all married couples, so of course there's no potential there.

Forget the seeing a cute guy sitting at the bar and asking him for a lighter to catch his attention. The last time I did that, it turned out I approached a total loser/creep/psycho who spent the rest of the night stalking me, sitting (alone) on the table next to ours staring at me for more than an hour, not taking no (many, many nos) for an answer.

Forget making eye contact with a complete stranger at ladies night (a trendy Dubai thing to do mid-week, where ladies can basically get very drunk for free), followed by the smile to invite him to talk to you. I fell completely under his charm for a good hour; until his friend told my friend that he is actually engaged and getting married in 6 months.

No, now it's all about the apps. How much you know of technology and how good you are at it. Flirting on social media, that's a thing. There's a wave on Instagram I recently experienced: one follows, you check out his pictures, maybe follow back. You get a like, you give a like. A person can look through your pictures and decide they like your personality (or at least, your Instapersonality) they may take the leap and send you a private message. You may even answer.

Then of course there are the actual dating apps. Or sex apps, still unclear who uses them for what. Apparently Tinder is now passé, kind of trashy. Happn is the newer, more classy version I hear. I'm yet to try it out, though I feel like I'm all app-ed out. I'm guessing the principle is the same. You basically get hundreds of guys putting their best pictures forward (the topless one, the petting a large animal one, the holding nephews and nieces one) or those who try to remain mysterious by only sharing a faraway picture so that you can't see much more than a silhouette... you swipe left and right (left a lot more than right) and strike up a conversation (as dry and textbook as they come) and you try your best to find some kind of connection even though the entire setup doesn't help you out at all --it's a lot of work and a lot of energy, for not much return. Sometimes they'll call you "baby" after a two sentence exchange and you wonder what on earth you've done wrong in your life to be in that position at that moment.

And then... then: There's the odd time when one of those many encounters materializes into an actual date. A real live date, a drink or a dinner, a face to face with a stranger usually subdued by one or four drinks, to help you through that awkward hour where you're trying to get to know a stranger. And it can be bad. Or even worse, it can be okay. He's nice enough that even though he took you to the completely wrong place, can't tell you an interesting story to save his life or make you feel anything but awkward politeness, you hang in there. And then you have to spend the next 3 weeks trying to politely, awkwardly, reject every other attempt he makes at asking you out again, until he finally gets the hint.

So the other night, I was talking about this to... my dad. Last person on earth I would ever talk to about my dating life. Because knowing my dad, he'll try to set me up with every eligible bachelor he comes across. And then I thought for a minute, that it might not be such a bad idea after all. I am, it seems, pretty old-school about the whole "how to meet someone" thing. And yes, I choose organically above technology any day. And having my father set me up is the one thing I haven't tried yet. So... I wonder how that will go.

Saturday, January 30

the seventh wheel

I should've guessed that writing a blog about being single in my twenties wouldn't make me much of a relationship expert --but rather an expert at being single, at going on bad/weird/okay dates, and collecting stories for the ages. It's a good thing I'm writer, at least the stories have somewhere to go.

Which is basically why I find myself back here. To the blog that started a little over five years ago, just as a relationship was ending; like an ominous sign that I was about to lose a part of my life and I needed to reconnect with my words to survive it.

There's been a lot of ups and downs and trips sideways since then. Not just in love, but in life. And somewhere along the way, I turned thirty. And writing a blog about dating and relationships and life in your thirties is a little different. I no longer have a rat-pack of guys feeding me their latest conquests stories. Almost all the rats are married. Or engaged. The girls that used inspire me with broken hearts and awful dates are now talking wedding arrangements, house decor and baby feedings. But I'm not ready to write about any of those things.

Because I'm still stuck in another phase. The one where you're supposed to be a grownup, supposed to have your life together, a real apartment (but you have a really cute studio!), a boyfriend who is marriage material, money on the side... and you don't.

So I'm here, writing. What else am I gonna do? My words, they keep me company. They keep me from driving myself insane. When I write them down, it stops them from growing fangs in my brain. When I put them out there, I know that someone might relate.

You joke about being the Bridget Jones amongst your friends. You laugh about being the seventh wheel every Friday night at dinner because everyone else comes in pairs and you just come with a new hairdo. You smile when the one-hundredth person asks you if you've "met someone yet" when you go home for the holidays.

Until one day, the joke doesn't make you laugh, it makes you cry. You feel a little lonely in your world and you're tired of hiding behind your feelings, because they'll think you're being a drama queen. Or a martyr. God forbid you should actually admit that you're lonely sometimes. That being single isn't easy.

But it's not all drama. The truth is, I'm just having a bad day. A lot of the times, I'm happy I'm still free. That anything can happen, that my life could turn upside down and that the possibilities are endless. That age, despite how much society defines it, is just a number and if people think I still look 23, well then I must be.