The other night, as I was leaving the library with my coworkers/good friends, Janet heard me badgering Dana about how she needed to get a smartphone so we could properly fangirl over Outlander. What Janet didn’t realize was that Dana and I regularly text message about this series and there’s a major delay, so we’d previously discussed her plans to get a new phone. Because of this, we’d even been looking at them online earlier that evening as I joked about what a disservice she was doing me with her 1999 technology. Really, though, I was just encouraging Dana to take a plunge she’s been planning for months, when Janet jokingly snapped:
“Oh my gosh, Belle, get a boyfriend!”
The good news is, I don’t throat punch my jesting pregnant friends. The bad news is, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this statement and after a while, it’s kind of begun to fill me with rage.
You see, there really is just no good reason to say this to a woman, not even…
… when we love our pets…
About a year ago, I posted a picture of myself cuddling the dog on Facebook, with the following caption:
Top 5 things I say to my dog, that I can never say to my kids.
1. I will put you on Craigslist!
2. Get off me. I don’t love you that much.
3. No. You don’t need any, Fatty McFatfat.
4. I will skin you and wear you!
5. Shut up. No one cares what you think. You’re adopted!
Most people just liked the photo or commented that they weren’t surprised, but my cousin decided to declare, on a public forum, “We need to get you a man! You are having way too many conversations with your dog!” I only commented that my dog was much better company than my last date, since Facebook is a public forum, but I did so while seething.
Don’t MAKE me come through this computer!
For starters, to everyone who has ever spoken the above sentence, “we” ain’t gotta do shit. You are not my gal pal. You are not my matchmaker. You can mark we right off of your to-do list, because I got this.
Furthermore, if getting myself “a man” means I no longer talk to or cuddle my dog, then I’m sorry, but there’s just no room in my life for one. My dog is used to cuddles and ear tugs and Midnight Dance Hour. He wags his tail when he hears my voice, even when I’m threatening to put him on Craigslist. I’m not going to suddenly neglect my pets for dick. If that’s how things work in your world, then I feel sorry for your dog.
… when we love our best friend…
Every person in my life gets one lesbian comment about Gail and I before I commit a federal crime. Fortunately, Gail’s been living with Terry for a couple of years now, so the risk is pretty low these days, but comments like this were rampant in high school. I get it. I wore a lot of overalls back then and our high school was somewhere between Mean Girls and Varsity Blues, but believe it or not, I have heard suggestions since graduation and all I have to say is, them’s fightin’ words.
You know who listened to me fall apart when my ex-husband burned down our house and killed all of our pets… and slept in my car with me the Thanksgiving I drank eight Long Island Ice Teas and finally confessed that my marriage was over… and talked me out of joining the Air Force while I wept over a pizza cookie after failing my graduate portfolio… and has hugged me during every single mommy drama for the last 12 years? Well, I’ll tell you one thing. It sure as hell wasn’t some boy.
I’m not fond of the “you’re just jealous” tagline, but in this instance it fits. There is no possible reason for someone to suggest that what I have in my friendship with Gail is anything beyond sisterly loyalty, other than a lack of understanding that it is possible to love someone that much when you don’t share a bloodline. In fact, if you’re suggesting that my being attached means no more PJ and Dog days at Gail’s house, then you just don’t understand friendship in general. Most importantly, though, it is not my duty to get a boyfriend to prove my sexuality to anyone.
… when we have cool hobbies…
One of the most common scenarios in which I hear someone declare that a woman “needs a boyfriend” seems to be when they’ve done a damned good job of proving they don’t. Perhaps your single friend taught herself to cross stitch, took up community theater, designed her own cosplay costumes, planned a trip across the world alone, or bought tickets to Comicon. Maybe she just crocheted a sweater for the dog on a snow day, while binge watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and making herself sick on Easter candy… ahem.
Whatever the interest, it seems an excuse to insist it be replaced with… what exactly? Sex? If I’m in a relationship, I won’t have time to crochet because of sex? What, am I dating Christian Grey? Do people in relationships not have individual passions and obsessions and hobbies? Can I not hateread alien erotica while he tinkers with his computer? Must we spend all that time cuddling, fondling, and saying ‘I don’t care, whatever you wanna do”? Y’all, I felt suffocated just typing that.
… when we actually want a boyfriend…
So I’ve shared another disastrous dating attempt. It was the one who tried to sell me weight loss pills… or maybe the one who didn’t technically have a job… or the one who told me he lived in a room and the “homeowner” was present. [Spoiler alert: It was his dad. The homeowner was his dad.] For some reason, I’ve opened up to you and shared some of my laughs and frustrations in the dating world and now you’ve finally come to a conclusion: I need a boyfriend.
Why thank you. Thank you so much for closed captioning my pain.
If you are involved enough in someone’s life to know that they’re tired of being single and actively dating, the “you need a boyfriend” comment is particularly obnoxious. You’re just reaffirming the idea that a woman’s life is incomplete without a man, that there’s not much to enjoy in the meantime, and that she’s in a game of musical chairs and the music is about to stop. Even if you believe these statements, your contribution is redundant at best. It is not helpful. Set her up with a friend. Offer to help her take pictures for her online dating profile. Encourage her hobbies. Don’t tell her how much it’s going to suck to die alone.
… when you have no idea whether or not we actually want a boyfriend…
Believe it or not, there are women who refuse to ruin a perfectly good song by fighting over a chair. My friend and coworker, Carla, is one of them. She’s in her mid-thirties and perfectly content to be single forever. She goes to plays, teaches herself obscure hobbies, and is easily the most well-read person I have ever met. That last one is a feat in my field. Telling her that she needs to find a man is, at best, confusing…
… and at worst, implies that her very complete and satisfying life is less, because she’s doing it solo. I am not Carla. Sometimes I wish I were content to dance alone, but I’m not. That doesn’t mean everyone needs or wants a partner.
… when the clock is ticking…
A woman’s life is incomplete without a man. There’s not much to enjoy in the meantime. She’s in a game of musical chairs and the music is about to stop…
Oh go suck a bag of dicks. My uterus is not riddled with IEDs. There is not an expiration date on living a happy and full life, even if my definition of that changes over time. Perhaps, instead of being presumptive and judgmental, we should all be a little more open to the many different lifestyles people choose. Perhaps, we should be a little less concerned with the wear and tear on someone else’s genitals, because as I said this is not a we situation.