I always try to go on dates on a Friday night because even if I don’t end up sleeping with him, I know I won’t stay alone. It’s 5.14 PM on a Friday in January. I’m dripping with sweat, skipping down Oxford Street to be perfectly late for a drink with this cute boy I matched with on Hinge. I had already gone through his entire internet existence and used my friend’s LinkedIn to judge his career trajectory. I’m crazy like that. But Friday nights are prime real estate in my social calendar, so I needed to know this was worth my investment.
I’m 20 minutes late by the time I arrive. I am wearing this lemon-yellow Dion Lee singlet that used to be white and is now two sizes too small. It’s tight. I’m all sorts of flustered, and the Comme Des Garcons Rogue EDP I drenched all over my body before I threw myself out the door has now evaporated, and I’m rolling on my emergency deodorant from my man-bag outside 10 William St while I catch my breath. I’ve learnt it’s better to be late than early in these first encounters.
He was a corporate hunk with no personality. All our chat had one underlying theme, him making a shit-ton of money. At one point, I nearly lost my left eye from rolling it so hard. Anyway, I wasn’t paying, so I sat politely with my legs crossed, gulping back dirty vodka martinis with extra olives. Another one, please! I barked. I knew how to play this game because I’d played it for so long.
I’ve been single for 28 years. And saying that out loud used to rattle me. There have been moments where I’ve found the truth unbearable. What’s wrong with me? Do I have a whiff of a loser I can’t smell? I work out twice a day. I’ve always been able to hold down a job. I do what I love. I have my own damn home in Surry Hills with a swish kitchen and an air fryer to boot. I’m presentable. Fun when I want to be and professional when I need to be. I’m multifaceted, both deep and light. I have all these moving parts in my life that I was so adamant someone would want to try to navigate with me. But, nothing. I don’t think I’ve ever hung out with a guy more than four times in a row. I get bored and lose interest.
And this truth of mine, well, for so long, it left me feeling empty. I’ve watched my friends and family build other lives around them with people they consider home. And that’s all I wanted, too. I wanted someone to validate my existence because I didn’t think I could do it alone.
As humans, we’ve been force-fed this narrative that a part of our soul, call it our other half, is floating around this big beautiful Earth just waiting for the moment we bump into each other by chance at a bus stop or whatever. Through the culture we consume, we’ve been hardwired into believing we’re not complete if we haven’t found someone to hold our hand through this life journey. And fuck that. Truly.
If I have learnt anything about the lover I once was and who I want to be as I grow up, it’s that I have everything I need right here, right now. I don’t need someone to round me out. I don’t have an opening in my life because of some archaic social pressure to settle down and lay roots. I’ve never done anything conventionally. Normality doesn’t come easy to me. I like to swim when it’s dark. I eat while I walk. I sleep for four or so hours a night. I use sunset lamps instead of lights. I invest my life into my friends the same way others would invest their time in their so-called person. I love my friends deeply. I pour my soul into them. At any given moment, I am in six platonic relationships that require my undivided attention. This cookie-cutter approach of finding love, settling down, and multiplying doesn’t feel right for me right now. Maybe it never will, and that’s okay.
I’ve woken up brighter ever since I’ve relaxed my shoulders and let this pressure about finding love roll over me like a wave. I’ve never felt closer to the people who feel like home to me. I’ve never felt more in touch with my body, from the tips of my toes to the ends of my hair; everything feels complete. I’ve been having better sex. Better conversations with people who challenge my thinking. Better dreams. I feel lighter on my feet, and the gap between my mind and heart doesn’t feel as divided; I can see both ends clearly now. I know I will always have my own back, I’m strong enough to hold myself up straight, but if someone does end up wanting to stay up with me all night until all the lights are out, well, I might just like that too.
Love what you read? Learn more about our RUSSH Love supplement courtesy of the issue's Editor's Letter.