I am not Bridget
January 28, 2007
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I’ve been meaning to muse on this for a while after seeing an ad for a dating agency every morning at the train station; "Find Love!!" it screams, as though I really did wake up on 1 January and think, like Bridget Jones, "will form functional relationship with responsible adult". When I went home for Dad’s 60th birthday a few weekends ago I was thankfully spared the same "no boyfriend yet?" questions I had the previous year; perhaps my aunt and cousin have decided to allow me to slip gracefully into spinsterhood. And all the while this same question nags and infuriates me: what is it with the generalised ‘boyfriend’ anyway?
Allow me to clarify. I’ve never understood when people say "I really want a girl/boyfriend". This isn’t a criticism, it’s genuine confusion. Why are we all so wedded (ha!) to the concept of ‘a relationship’? I’m not baldly stating I intend to be single the rest of my life; if I meet someone who can chip away at my stone cold heart then I want to be with that specific person; my stomach churns, I can’t sleep and I turn into the Dylan Moran routine where he says that when men fall for a woman they say to their friends ‘I have to be with her, my life is just an empty shell without her’ (punchline: ‘and this is how women feel about shoes’). What I’m not doing is sitting in my flat at nights telling the cat that love him as I do, what I really really want is some amorphous ‘boyfriend’. I once met a woman at a work leaving drinks. Within five minutes she was telling me that I "absolutely had" to go internet dating. She made the instant assumption that, because I was single, I must be desperately pining for some random ‘other’ and I wanted to scream.
What I always want to reply to these dating agency ads, these relatives and bizarre strangers who feel they can comment on my singleton status, is that I’m happy as I am. I remember an interview with Michael Stipe where he said "anyone can get laid, it’s just a question of setting your standards low enough". Well, I have quite high standards (these days) and frankly I can think of better ways to spend my time than throwing myself into the paths of random guys shouting "love me! Validate me!" Surely it’s better to be alone and work out who you are and what you want than frittering away time and effort and heartache on something that’s not going to go anywhere? But, hey ho. This is something I will never understand and it makes me look at the world in bafflement.