Single at 32.

Dear You,

To begin, you are not actually single at 32, or at least, not yet. While you are indeed currently single, you are only 22, although that number is quickly creeping forward. Does this scare you? It shouldn’t. You still have many years before you breach 30 and tumble into a wretched existence. As you know, if a woman fails to procure a man by the age of 30, biology dictates that her womb will begin to rot, her teeth will decay and she will be cursed to roam the earth as a crumbling monument of wasted opportunity. Fortunately, you are still somewhat perky and young, with just enough time to avoid that fate.

You recently traveled home for a wedding and despite some inkling of what was in store, you were genuinely startled by how many people’s first reaction to seeing you for the first time in years was to comment that you too would soon be married. You should have understood it all to be harmless banter, but you could not help but notice that more people commented on your ripeness for marriage than your current job status, or even, amazingly, how much weight you had gained since the last time they saw you.

Up until now, you have failed to preoccupy yourself with thoughts of love and romance. You have recklessly assumed that things would happen in due time and have deprived yourself of the joys of worry. As a result of this laissez-faire attitude, at the grand age of 22, you have never been in a serious relationship and have set yourself on a course of destruction and decrepitude. You went through four years of university and despite having watched your friends manage to enter and fall out of multiple relationships, you failed to do so and emerged with nothing but a degree and some confidence; I cannot explain the magnitude of this missed opportunity. Despite having served as a shoulder to cry on for others, you did not concern yourself with actively seeking out a romantic partner. At this point, I hope that you have started to feel a gnawing sense of worry and existential dread deep in your heart. If so, then I believe you have learned from your past errors and are ready to act accordingly in the near future.

As you know, most young women your age have been with multiple lovers, as is the natural order one must follow as a precursor to the ultimate goal of married life. Do you not wish for your parents to see you married? To hold their grandchildren in old-aged bliss? If you continue in your current ways, you are destined to marry the first person you fall in love with and end up wretched, damned by your own naivete and unwillingness to grow accustomed to the ways of the opposite sex. Do not say you weren’t warned.

You should take the initiative to self-reflect on your inability to meet expectations. Is it that you are unattractive? Certainly not. Are you asexual? Also not the case. Is it a fear of intimacy, perhaps? You manage to show great affection for friends and family members, yet for some reason, you have not managed to translate that ease into a romantic context. Are you so scared of trying and failing to connect with another human being that, like a child, you bluff your way out of introspection and maturation with talk of personal preference? Do you believe yourself to be so complex, so unique, so terribly particular that you fear you may never be able to truly be accepted and understood by another human being?

Perhaps you are merely too picky. Maybe if you lowered your standards, you would be able to meet these more than reasonable expectations. I know that at this point you are pondering irrelevant things, such as the fact that by doing so you might be allowing societal norms placed on women to pressure you into lowering the criteria of what you want in a partner, simply to assuage concerns about being lonely forever. But what you must learn is that it is better to be lonely than be alone. You are too content as you are now, too satisfied by the love and affection shown to you by family and friends. You have this idea that in order to date someone, they must be a positive addition to your life. Your sideline experience of watching friends go through unnecessary heartbreak has jaded you and made you incorrectly believe that you do not need a male romantic presence in your life to be happy and that you can afford to wait to meet someone you truly like. I cannot stress how important it is to realize you are wrong in every aspect of this belief.

Perhaps it is a product of your environment. Perhaps, if you were in a different city, a different country, even, you would have found the love of your life and have fallen in love tens of times over and over. Perhaps if you stay where you are, you will be cursed to live a loveless life, weighed down by false illusions of what it means to love someone and crushed by the weight of an unfulfilled existence. But maybe this is dramatic. It could be mere overexposure. You are an avid reader and the possibility exists that in your formative years, you were exposed to too many unrealistic depictions of love as something that brings you joy and does not cause you any form of discomfort. I believe that you view the careful and loving relationships of those around you as something to aspire to and have not yet learned the harsh reality of settling.

You may believe you are happy, fulfilled even, but I write to you from a place of concern as someone who knows more of life. It is not too late for you and I. I promise that all will be well as long as my instructions are taken to heart and allowed to consume your waking and sleeping thoughts.




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