With the helpful aid of noughties chick flicks, I ventured into womanhood understanding that being a single lady was a fail, and having a man meant you were on top. Of course, we know that's a load of tosh. When you're single you can canoodle with Ryan Gosling and not give a hoot (although I like to think my boyfriend would allow me just that one.). Hardly miserable spinster territory. Plus, we all know someone who has a hideous boyfriend. But the societal tide is a-turning. Suddenly, being in a relationship seems like the short straw.
Like lots of young, coupled-up women, I have 'the shame'. You know, playing down your relationship because you don't want to seem like you're bragging - almost like you're ashamed of it. I've been with my boyfriend for over three years, yet I still find myself brushing it off when people ask about us. "Oh, we're just seeing what happens". We've shared countless heated discussions about buying a flat and frankly, far too many bodily fluids, for us to be just 'seeing what happens'.
But it's no longer 'the shame', we need to watch out for. Oh no. It's the embarrassment. Y'see, these days, young, career women are prolific. Which is awesome. But also problematic. Because now there's a pressure to be just that; young and career-y. Suddenly, it feels old and boring to be in a long-term, serious relationship when others born in the same year are gallivanting around the world, playing out episodes of Girls (string vests, reckless sex, you get the gist).
So now, I don't feel guilty about divulging details about my romantic mini break to single pals. I feel embarrassed, instead. While I was mini-breaking, they were living it up in Paris, doing shots off of suspicious objects and making raucous memories to relay to envious bores like me.
It's wonderful that society has finally accepted that women don't need boyfriends and we're doing pretty well on our own, cheers. But while it's empowering for every woman, all of this woohoo-ing about singleton freedom has a direct effect on us relationshipped-up ladies. Are we wasting our glory years on in-law visits and holiday saving?
Of course, I don't wish I wasn't with my boyfriend. We're together for a reason; because we're happy being together. And I know that stories about exciting ventures are usually more exciting than the ventures themselves. But that doesn't change the sudden bout of FOMO (fear of missing out) that has hit me recently.
I can't contribute to conversations about wild exploits with foreign strangers. I'm like Joey in Friends. Laughing along, when the closest I've got to a threesome is trying to sleep while my best friend and her man are at it next to me on the floor at a house party.
My complex is further fuelled by questionnaires clubbing 'married' and 'cohabiting' in the same box. They are not the same. I would know, I'm petrified of marriage but I seem to be cohabiting quite comfortably. And my ring finger's all kinds of (happy) empty.
I know, the grass is always greener on the other, party-tastic side. And I wouldn't choose random trips to Amsterdam with friends of friends of friends over being in love, constantly having a great time and getting support and sex on tap. The only way to deal with it? I'll just have to get over it. And tell myself that my single friends' ventures are much like Facebook statuses. Over-exaggerated. Maybe I'll skip the 206 pictures, too. Just in case.