The facts: I’m 24 years old. I’ve only had one serious boyfriend. In the last year I’ve gone on a total of two dates. And it has been a year since I’ve “talked” (a term for pre-dating, getting to know one another) to any guy for longer than a week.
Perhaps you think that’s pathetic and if I was a character on HBO’s Girls, it probably would be. But did I mention that I was awarded my Master of Fine Art’s in Creative Writing, found my first big-girl job, and moved to Los Angeles within this last year of little dating? It’s not like I haven’t been busy. And besides, I don’t like wasting my time hanging out with the wrong guy or guys I’m not attracted to or interested in. And I get super bored, super easily (is it so hard to be interesting or different from the masses?) which seems to really hurt my dating record.
This last weekend I binged-watched the new series Jane, The Virgin. It’s about a young 23 year old woman, a virgin, that is accidentally artificially inseminated with her boss’s sperm at a yearly gynecologist check-up. I’m sure you can guess–she gets pregnant. The show highlights her romantic involvements and her mother’s romantic endeavors as well.
Around episode seven, I began to notice myself smiling in a goofy manner over the telenovela-like romantic gestures that kept occurring in each episode. I realized I hadn’t smiled about romance like that in quite awhile.
I read my first romance novel in tenth grade. It was an accident. I picked up a novel off one of my teachers bookshelves with an purple and pink cover without any interesting cover photo that had a pretty general title. The back of the book described two people meeting and how one affected the other’s life. I don’t even think it mentioned romance or love. It didn’t take me long to realize that I had picked up a romance novel, one with quite a bit of sultry scenes, if you know what I mean. After humorously informing my teacher of the novel (she wasn’t aware that there was a romance novel on her bookshelf), I decided to finish reading it because why not? It was a new genre for me.
For the next few years I read romance novels, mostly historical romances but also fantasy romances as well. Go ahead, snicker! It wasn’t that I was so intrigued by the story lines because for the most part they were all the same. And I wasn’t reading them for the sex scenes. Rather, I was in love with the romance scenes, the tale of how two people met and the trials and tribulations they faced, until finally they had their “happy-ending.”
I could fantasize for days about the perfect man for me and how we would meet in some memorable way and he would sweep me off my feet and we’d have the perfect life. For many years I was absolutely optimistic about his existence.
Now please don’t think that I based my entire idea of romance off romance novels. Because I haven’t. Romantic movies helped too.
Ha-ha! I’m joking, of course.
Romance to me are small gestures as much as big gestures. Coming home to a cleaned house–romantic! Opening a door for me–romantic! Telling me I look nice–romantic! Helping me fold clothes–romantic! Surprising me with an impromptu picnic–romantic! Letting me drool on your chest while I sleep–romantic! See, my notions of romance has varying degrees.
But over the last few years, I have forgotten about my romantic fantasies. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Or perhaps it’s because my reading preferences have changed. It’s not that it never crosses my mind, because it does, it’s just that I rarely think about it anymore. I think more about my career than anything.
For the last few months, I’ve heard myself say, “I just want to meet a guy. Someone attractive and fun to talk to.” Where is the romance in that sentence? Nowhere! I just want to meet “a guy?” Who am I?
It’s almost as if I don’t believe that the next guy I meet will be the right guy for me. It just sounds as if my conscious has given up on someone being romantic towards me. And I’m not sure I like that idea.
Am I lonely? On very rare occasions. Do I think about meeting a guy? Sometimes. Do I want a boyfriend? Only if I’m in love with the man. Do I put myself out there to meet anyone? Sometimes.
However the question I keep returning to is: Aren’t I going to run into him when I’m supposed to?
And it’s that thought that makes me realize that maybe I haven’t lost all feelings about romance.
I do believe in soul mates, as cheesy as that may sound to you, and I believe you meet your soul mate when you are ultimately ready to meet them and it is up to you and your soul mate to make things work. I’m not interested in weddings or babies or building a life with someone. I’m interested in living and experiencing life with someone and I’m in no rush to do so because time will work itself out accordingly. Or this is what I believe. And if I’m wrong so be it.
So maybe I’m still a romantic in some ways because I haven’t given up on the idea that there is someone out there for me. When you see me signing up for five dating websites and desperately calling on everyone to find me a guy, then you’ll know I’ve lost that faith in my romantic future. But knowing me, that won’t happen. I always think the best of my future and so far everything has mostly come true.
My future holds flowers, cooking together, surprise gifts, dancing, a fun one-on-one basketball game, massages, and changing my tire when I have a flat (as you can see my notions of romance varies widely). I do want all of that, and thanks to Jane, The Virgin I am thinking about that more often than thinking about “just meeting a guy.” I think it’s healthy to fantasize about romance. Why not? It means I haven’t lost hope; it means I’m not desperate; it means that I’m patient and it means I still have faith in romance and love.
So right now I’m living my life with me, myself, and I and I’m very happy. I don’t mind waiting for the right love for me. I don’t mind enjoying my Me chapter of my life. But I’m glad I’m thinking about romance again. To lose that entirely would be to lose an amazing aspect of myself, the hope that I might share love with someone someday.
I’m not a patient person but for romance I’m absolutely in no rush. There is nothing that I’d rather wait on more because I firmly believe that it can’t be rushed. Thankfully, this mindset has taught me that my happiness does not begin or end with being in a relationship with someone. My happiness depends on being true to myself so that one day I will appreciate the romantic gestures that I hope will be shown to me.
(Although, it’s been so long since someone has been romantic toward me. I probably won’t even know when I guy wants to hold my hand.)
So right now, I’m romancing myself. I’m giving myself a future. I’m surprising myself with more writing experience. I’m wrapping a perfect job in a pretty little box. I’m taking myself on a romantic vacation just for me in Ireland.
And one day, probably sooner than I think, I’ll be swept away with romance by the right person. For now, I’ll just keep fantasizing about our historic meeting even though it won’t be anything near as romantic as the real thing.