Posted On May 26, 2014 By In Dating For Women, Girlzone

The Undateable Diaries, Part 1: I am a Unicorn


Recently, I was going through some less-than-Beyonce-fabulous feels. I felt jealousy towards certain individuals, low self-confidence, contempt for my outward appearance, and had a desire to disappear. In that moment, I felt poignantly alone. Naturally, I wanted to articulate these sentiments by singing some passionate musical theatre song alone in my bedroom (I promise I have friends, guys.) As I was scrolling through my 370-track-long Broadway playlist on Spotify (again, I SWEAR ON MY MOTHER’S GRAVE that I have friends), I realized that there were zero songs about simply feeling alone. Save “I’m Not That Girl” and “On My Own”, because I think butchered those tunes enough in eighth grade. To continue, most of the songs were linked to romantic love of some kind: every one of these girls gets the guy, or had the guy, or was trying to figure out how to keep the guy. I had a thought: what about the girl who never gets the guy?

The naked truth is that there are hardly ANY representations in popular culture (TV, movies, theatre, pop music, even books), of “The girl who never gets the guy.” In every medium marketed toward our generation, we’re bombarded with couples and their problems. However, we never see someone who can’t manage to become a member of a couple, despite his or her best efforts. I’m this type of person, and it’s about time that one of us spoke about it.

I am 19 years old, and I have never had a boyfriend, nor anything close. I’ve never been on a date, been asked to a formal, never even had a hookup partner that lasted for more than one night. In contrast, many of my peers began dating when they were in middle school and haven’t stopped. My lack of relationship experience indubitably makes me an anomaly among my generation. I’m a rare breed- a unicorn, if you will. I’ve been alive for almost two decades and have never succeeded to get the opposite sex to think of me in a romantic (read, more than a one-night-stand or brother/sister) way. Your standard “undateble” girl.

I’ve spent the past couple of days thinking about possible justifications for this. The first one is the most conspicuous and noteworthy: my standards are too high. See, I have one very physical specific “type”: I fancy ‘em well-groomed and excessively Caucasian. Hopefully looking like they just stepped off of a yacht. The guys who look sexier in seersucker sport jackets than they do naked. The types of guys I’m interested in probably spend more time plucking their eyebrows than I do. To put it plainly: I like pretty, white boys.

This is problematic for several reasons. For starters, a lot of these men are gay. But that’s another story and several more vodka shots. The way I see it, pretty white boys tend to be familiar with their affliction. Most handsome young men know how desirable they are. Therefore, they look for romantic partners who match their level of attractiveness. This is verifiable truth of our species: National Geographic will probably air a special on it soon. There’s my problem: I’m not “hot.” I know I’m not hideous, either. If you saw me on the street, you wouldn’t scream, run away, and hide behind the nearest shrub. With a face full of makeup, hair full of highlights, and body full of J.Crew, I think I clean up nicely. However, I am definitely not the prettiest girl around. The crux of the matter is that insurmountably attractive guys don’t typically go for girls “below” their aesthetic level. If life were a play, I’d be the beautiful ingénue’s less-attractive sister, and the guys I’m interested in would be the debonair leading man. Even the best playwrights seldom attempt matches like that.

In addition to my unrealistic, um…corporeal standards, I am also attracted to very distinct personality traits. I will attempt, right now, to build the internal landscape of my dream man. He has to be respectful, that’s a given. But not too nice, otherwise I’m going to assume he’ll tie me up, throw me in the back of a van, and put my skeleton in his own personal museum. He has to have a good sense of humor, but I can’t feel like I’m constantly listening to an amateur stand-up show. He has to know about my aversion to anything overly romantic, but also that I do require a certain amount of attention; otherwise I’ll be spewing passive-aggressive self-deprecating tweets all night. He needs enough cynicism to appease me, but enough intellect and spontaneity to keep me interested. Not to mention that it’s a deal breaker if he even LOOKS at a pair of cargo shorts.

Simply put: I am the worst. You know the age-old saying: “beggars can’t be choosers?” Well, in my case, it’s “beggars really shouldn’t have the elitism of an Upper East Side socialite.” Let’s recap: a stunningly handsome Caucasian male with a beautiful head of hair, a preppy wardrobe, sharp wit, keen intellect, a boatload of charm, possibly a real boat, New-York cynicism with Southern manners, and hopefully a guilty addiction to musical theatre or Dance Moms. That’s why I never get the guy: he doesn’t exist. He’s something that Swedish physicists are trying to engineer to create world peace. I’m attracted to “perfect” guys, and I’m nowhere near perfect myself. Therefore, it’s a form of masochism, one that I’m well aware of but won’t do anything about.

However, here’s the reason that I’m Undateable: I’m terrified. I’m scared shitless of vulnerability. I’m hypersensitive that everything I do is being judged. Additionally, I fear monotony, and that if I’m around someone too much, they’ll tire of me. If I want to date someone, I have to feel like I know him very well, and can trust him as a human being. However, I also have to feel that he can still surprise me, and that he won’t abandon me, even though so many better things (women) will come along.
So, with my impossible standards and plethora of dating-related anxieties, I have resigned myself to being “the girl who never gets the guy.” At least, for now. Nonetheless, I’m beginning to accept and even welcome my solitude. And this brings me to my final point of this installation: you may be a unicorn, but unicorns are still pretty damn beautiful. It’s OK to not have a boyfriend. It’s OK to never have felt like you were “in love.” It’s OK to not be Juliet. Many of Shakespeare’s other plays are FAR superior (Seriously, read Othello.) THERE IS NOTHING DRASTICALLY WRONG WITH YOU AS A HUMAN. Relationship experience will not bring you to peace with yourself. Being connected to someone else in a “romantic” way does not constitute your identity. Yes, I’m sure that it’s lovely to have someone that you care about, whom you can learn from and give affection to, someone who will accept your faults and bolster your strengths. However, at this stage in our lives, it’s NOT the most important thing.

Be gentle with yourselves, my fellow unicorns. We might feel continually unattached, right now. But, we won’t be forever. Look around: very few people go through life with no romantic companionship whatsoever. There are six billion people in the world, you’ll find your perfect match sooner or later. I’m not telling you to give up. I’m telling you, nay, I’m challenging you, to not let the continual awareness that you’re single be the epicenter of your life. It’s a difficult habit to shake, especially since The Notebook plays on Lifetime about thirteen times per week. However, I believe in you. Isn’t that all you need? Validation from a 19-year-old University of Michigan student who has the same amount of experience as you do? Stay strong and search for joy, you owe it to yourself.

Part 2 will be the story of the time in my life where “being the girl who never gets the guy” hurt the most, and how I did every possible thing wrong to maintain my misery for months longer than I should have. It’ll be a great beach read. But actually, please don’t read my articles on the beach. Enjoy the sun or something.

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Sarah Barnitt is student at the University of Michigan who hails from the crown jewel of the Tri-State Area, Long Island (others might not agree, but to that, she says "eat a bagel and hush.") She considers herself curious, introspective, cynical, and usually theatrical. However, she usually just wishes that anything that isn't related to J.Crew, Buttercream frosting, or Saturday Night Live would leave her alone. In the future, she aspires to become Audrey Hepburn, and doesn't have a backup plan.