A Cancer On Romance

Here’s one fact: I’m turning 25 in a few days. Here’s another: I’m a believer that 25 is the ideal marrying age for a woman. That said, does that mean I want to be married in the next year? Ha. Absolutely not. But since we’re here anyway, fine—let’s talk about romance.

It’s common knowledge that if you’re a woman in your mid-twenties, the boyfriend question, if not the marriage question, begins to pop up more frequently. Most of the time, it’s the first question that’s asked, even before concern for your well-being, because sadly that’s where we are as a society. I don’t mind being asked, but it is annoying, because I am quite adamant that my brand is Strong Independent Woman, and I don’t think I have ever behaved in such a way that would make anyone think I’m anything other than a happily single human being. So when someone asks me if I have a boyfriend, followed by why don’t I have one, followed by when will I have one, followed by I should hurry up and find one, it’s exasperating. It’s like they’re pointing out that I’m missing something, when I don’t even feel like I’m missing something. You know? Happily single people exist. People who are not looking for romantic relationships exist. I wish that was the default assumption, but unfortunately we are outnumbered by single people who give us a rep that somehow we should be pitied, that we are all waiting for The Right One to come along. That we all subscribe to the hugot culture, that we can’t somehow have a crush on someone without wanting said someone to crush back. That we all feel pressured to conform to the idea that we should all find partners because society dictates that is what constitutes a happy ending. That singlehood is incompleteness, and loneliness, and … just. No.

I realize I probably sound bitter and defensive. Haha. I’m not! And I’m not an outright man-hater, I promise. (I am, however, tired of the patriarchy and toxic and fragile masculinity and mansplaining and just, everything about the #MeToo movement has also been super disheartening. What is it about penises that can make so many men forget their brains? Is it that difficult to choose decency and respect and logic and reasoning over sexual urges? I was a victim of voyeurism one night last November which made me cry every day for several weeks straight, so that doesn’t help my opinion of men, I guess. But that is for another post, if I ever find the energy to recall that experience enough to write about it.)

All things considered, I, in fact, feel ready for a relationship; I’m just not super enthusiastic about the thought of being in one. Does that make sense? The doors are not locked, so to speak. But they’re not exactly open and inviting, either. (Oops?)

What I am saying is: Hi. This is me, a woman who is nearly 25 years old and who also is not looking for a boyfriend right now. (We exist.) I don’t know when I will start wanting one. I don’t think it will be sometime soon. I do feel like some spaces in my life need filling, but a void that would be filled by romantic companionship? Not one of them. Ever since I quit my job and ruined my fifteen-year-old self’s gonna-be-doctor-in-ten-years plan, I also effectively ruined my capability to believe in any sort of long-term projections of my future, but even so, I do know that by now I am probably heading towards a path with no wedding bells in sight. All while my egg cells are nearing their expiration date. Yet the thought does not come with panic. I’m not bothered. Is that weird?

You know, I’ve always been weirdly fascinated by those sorts of tests that describe your personality—I’m not really sure I believe them, and I know a lot of them only work as confirmation bias, but they’re fun to read. Anyway, this past year I’ve tried reading up on astrology (only for the character analysis tho, future-predicting horoscopes are stuff I can never take seriously) and mainly I am still very, very confused, but what I’ve figured out is that I am a Cancer sun and a double Virgo (moon and rising). Now, Virgo, I can totally get. But Cancer, which is my main sign? They’re always described as emotional and sensitive (okay I can admit this) and romantic and clingy. Romantic. Clingy. Who, me?!?!

Anecdote time. Two years ago, Nikki Gil’s wedding video was released and it trended on social media, so I got intrigued enough to watch it, and there was this line where she says “I prayed for you as a little girl, and again a few years ago, asking God to keep safe the man of my prayers.” I remember being surprised, almost like, wait a minute. Is this what you’re supposed to do? Pray for a man? There is such a thing as a Man of My Prayers?

Now, I know what you’re thinking. There is no way it has never occurred to me to pray for a guy. I can’t be that dumb. Well, I’m here to say that I am that dumb LOL. I have no problem praying for a lot of things, but a man—much less The Right One—has somehow never made it to the list. How do I even explain it? I guess … if life were a cake, I have always prayed for the ingredients of the cake that I wanted. The thing is, I have never viewed a boyfriend—consequently, The Right One—as an ingredient to my cake. It’s a cherry on top. A bonus. And I’m not someone who prays for the bonuses; that just feels entitled and greedy. And let’s face it, my life cake flavor would probably be oreo cheesecake or something similar to that. So a cherry is not the first thing I would think of as a topping. Whipped cream, maybe, or crushed oreos. Not a cherry. Do you get what I mean?

So anyway. I heard Nikki Gil say she prayed for her perfect husband, and God has granted her The Man of Her Prayers. It was a little less than a month before my 23rd birthday, so I told myself, okay, you know what, I’m way late to the party because it seems I should have been doing this since I was a little girl, but fine, when I turn 23 I will start praying for The Right One. I shall do that.

True enough, the night of July 22nd on the year of our lord 2016, after I finished my usual prayers, I began to add in My Prayer for The Right One To Come Along. “God… I’m 23 now…. And it seems I should be praying for a man…… so here I am…… praying for a man………”

Let me tell you, I could not even finish three sentences before cracking up. Can you imagine praying for, I dunno, ice cream, when you’re not even the least bit hungry? You don’t even want ice cream, it just seemed like you should want it, because someone else said that ice cream is good. It was like that. I know that God is generous, but I could not go on. Because I could feel as if God Himself was like, “GIRL. You can literally fool every other entity in the known and unknown universe with this drivel EXCEPT FOR THE ONE YOU ARE PRAYING TO. DON’T ME.” So I was like, “Sorry! I tried!”

And that was that. I have never prayed for a guy since, and the closest variation that I could get myself to sincerely pray for is like, “If that’s what’s best for me, then by all means, please, but if not, I’d rather not, because I am fine now and I am grateful.”

So that’s how I knew I didn’t want a boyfriend. I couldn’t bring myself to pray for one! Extreme, no? And then fast forward two years … one would think I would have changed my mind or softened up a little bit. Well.

I guess one problem is I’m not really the type to succumb to peer pressure. Someone pointed out to me recently that no one can influence me into doing anything because I am someone who, for example, will still work hard even when I am surrounded by the laziest bunch of people. This is probably why I don’t drink; I’ve been with friends while they ordered shots, and I ordered water, and we still had fun and I never felt like I was missing anything. The same applies to boyfriends, I guess.

Another problem is I could not even really picture it in my head. Some girls dream about their ideal man, their dream wedding, their future number of kids, all that jazz, but I am not one of those girls. I love myself some romcoms and romance novels and I even enthusiastically ship real life people but I honestly can’t picture The Right One in my head. I am not even counting on the existence of The Right One. I have also come to realize that a wedding is literally my worst nightmare—a public event where everyone is going to be looking at me, because I’d be the bride, where my feelings for someone and someone’s feelings for me will be discussed out loud because that’s what we’d be gathered there for, where I’d have to socialize with every guest because they’re there to wish me well—no freaking way will I enjoy that. And let’s not even get started about motherhood. I’m terrified of childbirth and I think the best part about kids is that I can return them to their parents after I get bored with them (usually within fifteen minutes, give or take). Come to think of it, I do know one thing about The Right One; he can only be a High Quality Man just to be able change my mind and put up with me hahaha.

Also, my early apologies to The Right One, if he even exists, because a thing about me is, I don’t think I seem available to other people, since I really don’t act like it. I am very good at keeping people at arm’s length. I am an introvert (like, EXTREMELY an introvert), I am a recluse, I am not sociable, I am intimidating. I thrive on low maintenance friendships (my best friend and I only see each other once a year on average, and don’t message each other for weeks at a time, and mind you, she’s my favorite person). I have a daily energy limit for social interactions and when I reach it, I have no problem not responding to people. Outside of family and a handful of close friends, I don’t chat with people (online or irl) unless absolutely necessary. I adjust and code-switch a lot when I’m conversing with anyone (there are probably only seven people on this Earth who I can talk to as 100% myself, no adjustments, and five of those people are my immediate family) and I can literally feel my health percentage drop every time I talk to anyone, so I don’t actively seek out conversations unless I really find them interesting. Because our school cluster is predominantly male, yes, I have made more male acquaintances than female over the past couple of years, but a) they’re all as old as or younger than my younger brother so there is NO WAY I can even see them in that way so b) I treat them all the same, good friends, who I talk to about school, memes, some nerd stuff, and hardly anything else. Surely nothing flirtatious or romantic. Add in the fact that I’m really not that attractive; the closest I can be associated with the word beautiful is probably if you meant it in the comfortable in her own skin kind of way. So it’s not surprising that my romantic life is not buzzing with activity. Admittedly a good part of it is by my own design.

Because I’m not changing who I am and what I’m like just to … accommodate someone else. I am not about that life. Maybe a few years ago I could have been someone like that, but, well. Not anymore. This crab’s outer shell has gotten extra thicc. And to use the cake metaphor again, I know that if I get into a relationship it would have to be give and take—so I’d have to slice my cake to give some to the hypothetical boyfriend. Understandably. I’m pretty protective of my cake portions, though. I worked hard to get here and it’s exhausting to think about giving even a precious crumb away.

So yeah. These past few weeks however … Cancer season, man. I don’t understand WHY, it’s like I invited some kind of disturbance in the Force when I decided to tag along to my cousin’s salon trip and have my hair colored for the first time because I felt like welcoming Year Twenty Six with a bang (lol), but it is as if, after that, God suddenly presented to me Romantic Ingredients and Romantic Kitchen Tools and the Romantic Recipe Book and was like, “Here you go. All you have to do is grab and mix and voilà! Romance! Maybe not The Right One, but at least, ROMANCE, right?”

But what did I do? Did I excitedly put on an apron and cook up romantic magic in kitchen? No, I did not. I downed some headache meds and made regular old seafood pasta, for myself, and prayed that everything would go back to the way it was. Ahahaha.

(But seriously. Last month I innocently met with someone who asked to “discuss something” with me thinking we would be talking about the then-newly-revealed title for the next MCU Spider-Man movie, only to be looked in the eye and be told “I love you.” What. In the actual hell. My reply, out loud: “Are you sure? Are you sure?!??” I was already trying to excuse it in my head, like, surely this is just a crush of some sort, THIS CAN’T BE REAL, but he was like, “I don’t want you to think it’s infatuation…this is not like the movies, this is real….” And I was just literally gobsmacked. I could list three thousand things that could have happened to me on that random ass Monday in June, and still “someone WITH A GIRLFRIEND!!!! confesses their SEVEN MONTHS’ WORTH!!!! of feelings for me to me on a sixth floor balcony with wind whipping in our faces” would NOT be on there. And I mean, he said he wasn’t breaking up with his girlfriend, and I held on to that fact like a lifeline, but he started looking at me all weird and expectant, like there was this possibility in the air, that if I did something to pull the thread closer then that might be all he needed to decide to let go of the other thread, and so it was a no-brainer for me. I refuse to become the reason of any letting go. I Nope’d the fuck out of the situation. Shit, he may be reading this. It’s unlikely that he knows of this blog, but whatever. I sound like I am mocking him. But I mean, I have told him that it was not sinking in for me, because every single interaction we’ve had, it was inside a classroom or, at most, within two meters outside of one. Talking about academics or Marvel or Star Wars. It was as platonic as platonic could get. How does one fall in love with just that?! Okay, that sounded cruel. I have no right to dismiss anyone’s feelings. In fairness to him, he did a really good job of hiding whatever he was feeling all that time because I had NO. CLUE. But still. Looking at the whole situation objectively … The only person who benefited from that confession was him. Not me—I cannot believe I am suddenly a third party I did nothing to deserve being put in that spot!!!!—and definitely not his freaking girlfriend!!!!, what the hell? And as a friend, I was like, you know what, let all your feelings out, you sound like you badly need to do it, otherwise we wouldn’t be here, so I’m going to listen to you. And I am going to generously ask what you want me to do. But if you think I’m desperate enough to involve myself in the middle of this, not a chance. I’m going to forget it happened. I will keep being your friend, but no, sir, that’s the first and last time you get to sneakily touch the inside of my elbow like that.)

(And after the conversation, he had the balls to ask something along the lines of, “It’s been a while since you talked to a guy this way, right? I could tell.” AND I COULD HAVE ROLLED MY EYES INTO MY HEAD. Fucking wow. Boy. How could you even manage to be condescending in this situation?!? I was pretty proud of myself actually, for standing there patiently listening to you and for managing to articulate my thoughts as politely as I could. I did not freak out, I did not throw a hissy fit, I did not visibly cringe away from you. I definitely did not point out that the obvious reason I was so stunned that this happened is because I never felt any spark or attraction or chemistry between us—there was not a second I even thought of you suggestively, how could you be attracted to that what the hell—I figured that would be too mean to say to someone who was obviously vulnerable at the moment, so I didn’t. I calmly and respectfully conversed with you, adult to adult. Maybe I leaned in a little too much into the pretense that This Was Not A Big Deal We Can Move On And Pretend Nothing Changed, but, I mean, what did you expect?! Did you forget you just confessed your feelings to someone who is NOT YOUR GIRLFRIEND??????? And you think that saying “real life is not like the movies, you can fall in love with two people at the same time” makes it okay????? That because you were gutsy enough to admit your feelings out loud because an indie movie urged you to do it (u cant be serious but oh wow u are), it will make me chalk it up as a grand romantic gesture?!?!?? Uh, no? Unfortunately for you, you managed to fall for me, the cynic, who believes you have to THINK THINGS THROUGH before you do anything. That some things are better left unsaid and that some urges are DEFINITELY better left not acted upon. We’re not classmates anymore, so it was likely that we would’ve never seen each other again anyways, so why alter that course? Is this one of those times where the penis overpowers the brain again?! Am I really to believe that you couldn’t have gone on without telling me your dirty secret? Because boy. We have not talked all summer. You could have continued loving your girlfriend without even thinking about going near me and things would have been FINE. And yet, here we are! Be glad I am non-confrontational because I could have 100% been outright mad. Damn. Maybe I am a man-hater. At that moment I honestly cared more about your girlfriend’s welfare than I did for yours. I don’t even know her, but I was sure as hell not about to do anything to meddle with what she currently has, because she does not deserve that, whether she knew about what you were doing or not.)

(He did say sorry. On a freaking Secret Conversation on Messenger, which, I’m not even joking, is the first time I found out that there is such a thing as a Secret Conversation on Messenger. This is how social-averse I am. But also MY CONSCIENCE IS CLEAN I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE. And I was like, okay, apology accepted, and I do feel bad for you, it was obvious that you really did not mean for any of this to happen, but like, also, I don’t want none of these Secret Conversations, nope, I’m not guilty of anything, let’s just go back to our old chat and talk about nothing but Marvel and memes thank you very much.)

(And THEN. Someone else was like, can we go out sometime, with other friends of course, wink wink—because at least this one understood me well enough to know that if the offer was one-on-one I’d have easily said no—but by God if I was not EXHAUSTED. I had YEARS of ZERO ACTIVITY, and suddenly THIS, which is really just the bare minimum lmao, but I was like, why is so much participation being asked of me I want my empty social life back please HAHAHAHAHAHA.)

(And then! Yesterday, another male friend who has never so much as flirted with me before, for all the three years I have known him, has sent me a reply to a photo with my face on it saying that he thought I looked like his Type—that’s his choice of capitalization btw—before he realized it was me he was looking at. And like I should be careful because he could develop feelings. I know he meant it as a joke. But like. This has never been the tone of our conversations??!?!? I understand that he’s newly single and is probably looking for someone to flirt with and look, here I am, an available female within the vicinity. But I am not here for this. He is my friend friend. They are all my friend friends and they have been for years!! so WHAT IS HAPPENING. I have literally not done anything to trigger any of this?!??? WHY HAS CANCER SEASON BEEN SO CRAZY LMAO.)

(I am so disoriented that I am blaming the hair and seriously considering dying it back to black because this energy is all so weird.)

(I dyed it for myself!!! It’s not for the attention of boys!!!! She screams into the void.)

So … There you go. What even was the point of this post? I guess I just needed to rant. And expose myself for being a twenty five year old heterosexual female who doesn’t want a boyfriend. Who doesn’t even enjoy being flirted with hahaha. Wow. Such a creature exists!

Last year one of my closest girl friends described herself as feeling so “dry” which was … definitely not a word I ever associated with my similarly inactive love life lol. We were both single at the time, but now she’s no longer dry, if you get my drift, and that has been one of the beautiful surprises for me this year—as well as a favorite college friend getting married last January—the fact that they have found happiness that way, it’s seriously the best. I SHIP IT. The problem with people finding happiness, however, is they do want the people they love to find it too, and that means that because I remain single, I keep being given advice, and I have been urged to be more open, to give more chances, to be receptive because The Right One is going to come along eventually. Hm, sure. I end up just laughing at them, really. Their concern sounds very close to pity, but it’s also cute. I’m good, though. That’s what I’m trying to say. Right now I am perfectly content with the wetness I get from baths, precipitation, and three+ liters of drinking water a day. That’s it. God has provided enough. Haha.

And there you go. This Cancer already has too many feelings to begin with. All she wants right now is to be finished with her remaining academic units so she can finally find work to help pay the bills. And maybe pay for a new dye job. Who even has mental space left for romance? Don’t @ me.

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