I go home and cry for a while. I’m almost thirty-two. That’s not old, especially not in New York, but fact is, it’s been years since I even really liked someone. How likely it is I’ll meet someone I love, much less someone I love enough to marry? I have many friends who are married -not many who are happily married, but many married friends. The few happy ones are like my parents: they are baffled by my singleness. A smart, pretty, nice girl like me, a gilr with so many interests and enthusiasms, a cool job, a loving family. They knit their eyebrows and pretend to think of men they can set me up with, but we all know there’s no one left, no one good left, and I know that they secretly think there’s something wrong with me, something hidden away that makes me unsatisfiable, unsatisfying.
The ones who are not soul mated -the ones who have settled– are even more dismissive of my singleness: it’s not that hard to find someone to marry, they say. No relationship is perfect, they say -they, who make do with dutiful sex and gassy bedtime rituals, who settle for TV as conversation, who believe that husbandly capitulation -yes honey, okay honey- is the same as concord. Give me a man with a little fight in him, a man who calls me on my bullshit (but who also kind of likes my bullshit). And yet: don’t land me in one of those relationships where we’re alwyas pecking at each other, disguising insults as jokes, rolling our eyes and “playfully” scrapping in front of our friends, hoping to lure them to our side of an argument they could not care less about.
I know I am right not to settle, but it doesn’t make me feel better as my friends pair off and I stay home on Friday nights. As I go to endless rounds of parties and bar nights, perfumed and sprayed and hopeful, rotating myself around the room like some kind of dubious dessert. I go on dates with men who are nice, and good-looking and smart, perfect-on-paper men who make me feel like I’m in a foreign land, trying to make myself known.
Because isn’t that the point of every relationship: to be known by someone else, to be understood? He gets me. She gets me. Me.
Gone girl – Gillian Flynn