“I really resent now that people treat my singleness as if it was a flaw that I fixed,” Maris told me.
I would venture a guess that more often than not, a woman expressing sadness about her romantic life is expressing a feeling in search of a witness, not a coded desire for a ten-step, 30-day program to becoming more marriageable.
I believed (and still believe firmly) in dating as a numbers game, and that to get what I wanted (a boyfriend), I would have to keep playing the fucking game.
But when I lamented the shoddy state of my love life, I was frequently told that I was “trying too hard” and that I needed to “just let it happen.” Some even suggested I “chill out on dating” for a while.
When nothing promising was on the horizon, I went on two to five first dates per week.
It was that my refusal to hide a deep desire for a meaningful relationship appeared desperate, thus ruining my potential for getting anyone to want me back.
All of the suggestions lobbed at single women may seem like helpful attempts to improve their prospects, but at their heart is a belief that single women are problems to be solved rather than individuals in need of a little empathy.
It may seem naïve, but I was genuinely surprised by how many women had been bombarded with the “put yourself out there” line when I had so frequently been told to reign it back in.
Underlying both sets of tips was the suggestion that we were fundamentally flawed.