“You’re a serial monogamist,” she said in a seemingly judgemental tone and for the entire block to hear. As we closed out our first date, she continued to proclaim how much she was done with relationships and why she was spending the next few years unattached and non-committal. Honestly speaking, I’d also just gotten out of something serious and could almost identify with her sentiment, but the idea of “options” seemed overwhelming. I mean, I’ve never considered myself a “serial” anything, but if an aversion to fleeting romance is any indicator of my habits… I’ll own the label.
Granted, I’ve never planned to be in a relationship—they just always, ALWAYS, work out that way. I meet someone amazing, we date feverishly, I’m wooed beyond composure, and we’re in it. To bring that point all the way home… The person who proclaimed her loyalty to the single life is my most recent ex. Neither of us took her advice and here we are: sifting through our options.
“I don’t have a type” I say as I accidentally check out my ex cuz I don’t realize it’s my ex #lesbiandating
— Sara Anderson (@saraanderson023) June 17, 2017
I haven’t been truly single in years, so the idea of having to jump back into a world of casual encounters and intentional unattachment is unnerving. For a moment, I was excited about the possibility of starting over and the process of meeting people. Now, I’ve become the single friend and, in the most dramatic sense, I’m completely unprepared.
I’ve had the privilege of using my podcast “#SafeWordSociety” to gauge how other QTPOC are navigating the dating world and the consensus seems bleak. Apparently, people are still heavily using apps to compartmentalize their connections and barely make an effort to meet IRL. I mean, I’m sure people are finding love connections through the App Store and congratulations to you… I just don’t want to. I don’t know what “old-fashioned” dating is like for everyone, but I personally don’t want to swipe on you and cross my fingers that you’ll swipe back. A few years later you propose with a card that reads, “I’m so glad that you swiped when you did. Will you marry me?”
… I’ll pass.
Trust me, this isn’t a critique of how people should date—at all. These are the opinions of how I don’t want to have to date. An opinion developed from being privy to experiences of friends and podcast guests and years of lurking on the outskirts. As a feminine-presenting queer woman who dates women exclusively, navigating the dating scene can be pretty exhausting and downright disparaging. Years ago, I remember feeling the need to constantly convince men that I wasn’t interested and that dick pics wouldn’t push me over that hump. How about having to deal with women who assumed wearing lipstick meant my head never left the pillow? Needless to say, that’s the kind of landscape I remember gladly leaving behind and, well, here I am.
I reactivated my Tinder account a short while ago and prepared myself for the onslaught of good-time aficionados. I was warned that the pool had gotten much younger and people were looking for pen pals and hookups. I clearly am not interested in either of those things but chose to lean in anyway. I’ve exchanged a few choice words with men who comment on my audacity to be disinterested, some women who perpetuate heteronormative values I can do without, and even the occasional couple I’ve contemplated joining for a night. All in all, I haven’t been heavily disappointed by anything in particular but I think my time with dating apps has come to an end. Dare I say it, I may have aged out of making online connections.
To be honest, with Brooklyn as my new backdrop, I’ve found more value in striking up conversations in person whether romantically-fueled or not. The queer folk in Brooklyn are working so hard on developing safe spaces that I’ve found comfort in waiting for events to see who’s out there. I think being “single and ready to mingle” this time around means all things on my terms.
I don’t want to feel the pressure to be unattached because being attached isn’t cool and vice versa. I don’t want to share my body with people for the sake of shopping around; I can please myself. I’m setting my own expectations in this next phase (#BestLife101), and you know what my biggest takeaway is? Relationships are my thing and the brevity of life is a constant reminder that having them, in any capacity, is a lesson I want to learn. So until the moment I organically find an amazing woman, date her feverishly, and become wooed beyond composure… I’ll be laying low. No pressure, no shame. Just me, myself, and my affinity for whirlwind and commitment.
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