This year, I sincerely considered just putting up a list where every reason listed was COVID-19. (For those new to this game, every year I list real stories and real results of why I’m single. Don’t worry; it’s a joke! I think… See 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34, if needed for reference).
But, I had six months of my 34-year-old life before we were locked down, so I should have some other stories, right? Is it OK if just half of my reasons are straight-up COVID-19 with no explanation?
Listen, 2020 was going to be MY YEAR! I was feeling so good about my goals and my life. But what a year! Has there ever been another year where you had to agree with or at least tolerate another’s opinions on so many extremely super-charged issues? I would submit not in my dating lifetime.
I mean, most likely those who married before 2020 did not have to talk through feelings about how to manage a pandemic. I’d like to believe that some of you did talk pre-marriage about some of the other really important issues that have become more prevalent this year, but I really don’t know.
This year there’s no way around it. In some ways that’s good for me because I can more easily get an idea of a person’s feelings on and reactions to a lot more things before a committed relationship. But tons of room there for disagreeing strongly early on. Whatever the good or bad, it has certainly made dating life different.
Also, side note, is it even legal to laugh this year? I wasn’t sure so I made half of this blog sad and very 2020 for good measure. #oops. Thank you, 2020.
35 Reasons Why I’m Still Single at age 35
- I HAD TO! It IS a reason for sure. It has changed the dating game in SO MANY WAYS. IT HAS MADE ME WRITE IN ALL CAPS EVEN MORE OFTEN TO EMPHASIZE THINGS! I mean, really, how do you meet people during a pandemic? In the COVID testing line? No. You don’t. You meet them on dating apps which I hope have finally and completely lost any stigma attached to them. Because on the plus side, thousands* more guys have joined dating apps because there is nowhere else to meet people unless you are “young/dumb” and I’m not EVEN going to get into that. (*rough estimate based on 6 months of isolation dating on Mutual and a range of 10-50 new guys adding per day in my age range alone which is actually a smaller demographic than the youngsters who mostly use this app so this is likely an underestimate).
- For good measure, and for other good reasons, make sure to read my blog post Dating During COVID-19, Part 1.
- Way back in pre-pandemic times, one of the things I put on my list (yes, I prepare this list all year) is that the Church work campus WiFi blocks Mutual (the dating app). OK, I sort of understand why because it is a total and complete time waster and black hole. However, this is the Church THAT WANTS ME TO GET MARRIED. Let me at least waste time on my lunch break without having to use my data!
- Nevertheless, this excuse was completely invalidated in March when I started working from home where my “work” WiFi definitely does allow this app to be used on my lunch break, but in which time I have had a waning desire to even be on any dating apps at all anymore.
- Side note: This waning desire has also been a terrible detriment because I hardly care if I message people back in a timely manner or…at all anymore. It’s been gettin’ really bad lately.
- BUT even if I had wanted to meet up with people or to video chat date as many started to do a month or two in, don’t you worry. Since I was staying away from people so much that I really couldn’t get anything, my body decided to attack itself and gave me shingles. Yes, shingles. That fun thing you hear that only old people get. That resurgence of the chicken pox virus in a completely new, skin burning, rash creating, pain-inducing, fatiguing way. On my chin, neck, and shoulder. It was a super fun life for a few weeks. And by fun I mean miserable.
- You know how everyone was taking porch pictures in the beginning? I took a porch selfie! This just barely showed my shingles line because seriously that’s gross and who shares shingles pictures? Also, the chin shingles broke out later so that was fun. So there was no way I was even going to video chat someone and I had no energy to put into even chatting with people much.
- So that porch picture is what I look like most of the time now (without the shingles). AKA no make-up (ok honestly most people don’t know I wear any anyway) and no actual hairstyle. Working from home for six months has gotten me really used to this look and it’s awesome. For me. Hahaha. Most days, I can be found at my home office desk with my fuzzy socks on, wrapped in a blanket, letting my hair air dry as I drop in and out of video calls. #superattractive
- But where this could fall apart is when new people actually meet you. Yes, I have gone on a couple of dates in a ball cap and without make-up now. How’s that working out for me? Well, if you always try what you’ve always tried, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten, right? Time to try new things.
- However, I was recently chatting with a guy I met on Hinge (another dating app) and we moved to texting (you know, gettin’ more serious. Ha. Ha. Ha.) He was very concerned that I might not be a real person (sounds like he’s been catfished/scammed a lot and/or I sounded way too good to be true. Probably the latter, right?) Anyway, after I sent enough texts that didn’t sound fake, he sent a picture of himself to prove he was a real person.
- Now, sorry to disappoint those who don’t know this, but usually that turns into a guy requesting a picture of the gal, and usually that is a setup for him to request inappropriate pictures. I know. The world is awful. But I’m not into that game as you may suspect. We kept chatting a bit and he wisely told me he didn’t expect me to send anything back. He just wanted me to know that he was real for my safety. Well, I thought, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to send a head shot for the same reason. I pulled up my camera. Tried to take a nice selfie. Looked like I’d been working from home during a pandemic. Did not send a selfie.
- Speaking of my home office, I have a good setup. But it used to be my actual home office and it has now become my work office, so I actually struggle to do a lot of my other creative writing, freelance projects, and family history in there anymore because it represents my job (I love my job, I just need to feel some separation from it). So I’ve realized my bed has now become a sort of office for my other projects–an extra shelf/desk really, if you will. #oops. So basically what I’m saying is there’s no room for anyone else.
- So…surprise! I actually did kind of sort of date a guy during all of this. I know, right? How? (And feel free to judge away). I had gone out with him a couple of times before we shut down. We played it safe and just texted for about two months (past my shingles episode). As things started opening back up, we planned how to meet up and made sure we both were well and hadn’t been around others. Honestly, I’m telling you all of this because this is how complicated COVID dating has become. It is hard to even tell people about going out because I don’t even know how I feel about it from day to day, but I do know how others feel about it. But being wise and prayerful was my approach. And moving forward was something I felt I needed to do, as long as it was with wisdom and concern for others at the top of my priority list.
- So what do I mean by kind of sort of dated a guy? Well, first, it did not last very long. And second, I definitely thought we were a thing (and others have since concurred) but he apparently did not (or maybe just didn’t want to admit it because #commitment? Still don’t know) (also, not a cool thing to find out)…
- … We also found we didn’t actually agree on our approach to COVID-19. Now, I know that none of you out there have had any strained or hurt relationships because of differences of opinion on the matter. But I am weaker than all of you, and we had different opinions. And it strained and hurt that relationship. But ultimately, it wasn’t even that that ended it.
- Now, I have wondered a lot this year if it’s really OK to even share some of the not-so-good things that happen in dating. I really want my blog to be a place of goodness and light and don’t really want to sound bitter, mean, or judgmental. There’s enough of that. I really just want to be a positive force. Naturally, I almost didn’t write this blog this year because I have a hard time writing about dating without my hurt feelings getting involved. I can’t imagine why… *shoulder shrug*
- And ultimately, I am weak-sauce in many of my convictions to be a better person. And life is life. So the rest of the story… dude-face that I sort of dated turned out to be a bit of a jerk in how he handled conflict. I’m super grateful I discovered that pretty quickly, but honestly was super bummed because he’s a good, smart, kind guy otherwise. But in my expert opinion, he could use help learning how to: accept or even just validate an opinion that’s not his; care about others’ feelings in a deeper way than his own priorities; and apologize for saying hurtful things (especially if it was explicitly stated that it was hurtful). That is all. *end rant*
- I learned more about why it was good we ended things from a recent read, How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk: A Foolproof Way to Follow Your Heart Without Losing Your Mind. Book review to come in a later blog post.
- Granted, I also learned a lot from that book about how I can be better in relationships, too. You all know it’s a two-way street and I clearly have lots of work (oh so much work) to do myself. But on to lighter things…
- At the beginning of the year, I started chatting with a guy on Mutual who lived out of state. We even called a time or two. He asked if he could read my blog and I told him that he wouldn’t want to talk to me anymore if he read my blog. He laughed. I sort-of laughed. But I relented. To all of you who told me these blogs were a detriment to my dating life, YOU ARE RIGHT. Out-of-state guy said he read my blog and wasn’t sure he still wanted to talk to me for fear of ending up in the blog. He was joking, but…a completely justified fear. #caseinpoint
- But also, he read through my “reasons I’m single” blogs and started making a list of all the reasons why I wouldn’t want to date him… #ohmy
- However, in my defense, one of those reasons is he hasn’t read Harry Potter, so… what can I say?
- One guy on Mutual sent me a pick-up line as an intro (FYI–I really really just don’t like pick-up lines). “Hey Liz, are you running out of toilet paper during these crazy times? Because I could be your Prince Charmin (smirk emoji).” Nope, nope, nope. Didn’t respond. Several weeks later, he said he thought for sure that line would get me to respond. I asked, “Really?” because I’m a snark-face. Much later, Prince Charmin and I actually did end up going on a walkabout date (the dates I’m most comfortable with nowadays). And he was a totally normal and nice person. So why resort to pick-up lines???? Just why???
- Another pick-up line, another guy: “Are you my appendix? Because I don’t know anything about you but this feeling in my gut is telling me that I should take you out.” Clever…ish. We never went out.
- In the Facebook world, there are many groups people join because they have similar interests or similar life situations. One of these groups is a group for parents of multiples (twins and such). Earlier this year, a gal in the group who was set up with her husband by a really awesome guy wanted to return the favor. So she posted this very eligible bachelor’s bio in the group and said “Bring on the single ladies you know out there.” How do I know this? Because not one, but TWO friends apparently are in this group and messaged me about him. I consented to passing my info along. Alas, nothing.
- One of these friends seriously gets a gold star for trying to help me out because apparently these types of bios either float around in that group or other groups she follows. She has sent my info along several times. Why not, right?
- You know what line I never hear from people anymore? “Oh, don’t worry about being single; you’re still young.” Hmmm.
- But comparatively, I am still young. Once upon a time, a few years back, I went to an extended family member’s celebration of life (he passed away at nearly 80). At the celebration, one of the guy’s best friends especially wanted to engage in conversation with me. Somehow, a few weeks later, I got a call on my office phone, and this guy had tracked me down because he thought I was so interesting and really wanted to go to lunch with me. I did not think this situation was a good idea although extended family members said nearly-80-year-old widower man was harmless. Nevertheless, we did not ever go to lunch.
- Here’s a blunder from me! Again back in pre-pandemic times, there was this guy that I saw around work all the time who is single and seemed like a nice guy but I never had occasion to actually talk to him. One evening I was at the work gym before heading to the symphony #allbymyself because a friend had canceled. And the guy was there working out, too! So I tried to strike up a conversation and he was majorly awkward about it. We had established our singleness, so that part was A-OK, so why the awkward? Regardless, I just went for it and asked if he was interested in going to the symphony that night as it was showcasing Broadway tunes, and I happened to have an extra ticket. He said thanks but no thanks because…he doesn’t like Broadway. He. doesn’t. like….. Broadway??? But, but, but, but….how? #ForgetAboutTheBoy
- So does that sound kind of creeperish of me? Yeah, maybe, and I HATE it when that happens in the reverse. A handful of years ago, I was asked to do a family history training for a ward group in my stake. It was a relatively small group but a guy showed up that I had seen in a few other places and always seemed to be creepily watching me. I’m sometimes a nice person, so I tried to get to know everyone anyway. And it turns out the guy wasn’t even in that ward. He had just heard somewhere, somehow that I (like me, Liz, personally) was going to be doing the training and wanted to come. There is a maybe sometimes a fine line between creepy and cute. But this swung way on the side of #creepy. Speaking of which. This video. So much truth. *sorry for the swear
28. Oh, oh, oh. This one I sincerely feel bad about. Pre-pandemic, chatted with a guy from Mutual. Decided to meet up for dinner. He asked if I could recommend a good Asian restaurant in my area. There’s a place nearby that has 3 Korean restaurants all within a short distance so I recommended we go to one I’d been wanting to try. He was jazzed about it. I sent him the link.
I went on the proposed day. He was not there. I looked at the link. I had sent the link to one of the OTHER restaurants. I raced to the other place to meet up with him and he said he thought it might be more fun to go to the one I originally thought of. So we did. However, turns out the one I originally thought of is twice the cost of the other place. Korean BBQ is expensive. During the course of the conversation he talked about how he was really working on budgeting so he could save up for a house, etc., etc., etc. By the end of the date, I felt REALLY bad about his financial situation. I told him I wanted to pay for my own meal because I hadn’t anticipated the cost when I suggested that place. I seriously insisted, so it’s not on him that he had to relent. But that was the end of that.
29. I am a Lord of the Rings fan and recently re-read the series. I really love Arwen and I really love Aragorn. So this meme resonated: “It took Arwen 2778 years to get married. But she did. Never give up.” [Note: I did not 100% Tolkien research fact check this meme’s math but Wikipedia says over 2700 years so close enough to make the point. Never give up. Never surrender.]
30. So you know how at the end of a first date, that hug is kind of awkward? Guess what? COVID makes it more awkward because it’s like, “Is it OK to just wave goodbye? Yeah?” Thankfully, I found a way to make it less awkward by having an even more legitimate excuse. Several weeks ago, I managed to bruise/crack a rib in a bike incident. It was totally my fault because I wasn’t paying attention for a split second on a narrow part of the road, and my dog ran behind me because she didn’t know what to do because I usually pull her in at that spot. Well, she wound herself in my tire, and I flew into my handlebar or my attached light or both. Yeah. And so much pain. So so much pain. Anyway, makes it pretty easy to say, “Nah man, you know, COVID, of course, but also I cracked my rib (probably) and I ain’t huggin’ no one.” (PS–the dog was miraculously unscathed).
31. Wait, wait, wait. Did you just say your dog basically caused this incident? Like…Liz has a dog and we have never heard about her?
Yes, it is true that as of two months ago, I succumbed to pandemic brain and loneliness and purchased a one-year-old pure-bred fox red labrador retriever who needed to be re-homed. She’s (mostly) well-trained, beautiful, and a total sweetheart who is also naughty because she does happen to be a dog. After one night of having her (in which she did nothing wrong, mind you), I had a complete freak-out and wondered how I was going to live down the shame if I had to re-home her because I could not figure out how I was going to completely change my life and my schedule to fit a dog in (even though I knew that was what I was getting into when I bought said dog)!
Oh little Liz, how hard it is for something to ACTUALLY and not just theoretically disrupt your carefully scheduled life. How hard it is for something to depend on you so you can’t just do whatever the heck you want whenever you want.
32. I put her on a 30-day trial. She passed (fortunately??? I still wonder if I should move to a 90-day trial). But seriously, if I have this much trouble committing to a dog…
33. Her name is Ginny, by the way. Like Ginny Weasley because she’s a redhead and I heart #HarryPotter. The problem with getting a dog when you’re single is that now the people you date have to 1) like you (hard) 2) like having dogs (harder) and 3) like YOUR dog (hardest) IMHO.
34. Also, it makes me pause before swiping yes on guys who have dogs in their profile pictures. I have to look at the breed and how many dogs they have and think if our dogs could get along and if I would like their dog or not and if their dog is as well-behaved as mine and so on. I wish I were kidding.
35. But the last thing? I didn’t really want a COVID wedding anyway. #truth
Alas, being a single woman in the US of A in 2020 is actually not that bad. I lead a very #blessed life. I have a home, a great job (yes, even a new job this year amid the pandemic), and the best of family and friends who constantly watch out for me. I have what I need and even a lot of what I want. And also what I think I wanted but now am not so sure (#Ginny….I kid…sort of). I can vote, I can make so many choices on my own, and I live in a relatively safe place. I can have faith in a God I believe in and who I believe speaks to me. And I can practice and share my faith in public worship. I don’t mean to sound braggadocious, just grateful.
But it has been hard to live through so much isolation this year. Loneliness is a thing. I believe we were made to experience connection with and depend on each other and we can’t do that in all the same ways we used to. So we’ve still got some rough time to navigate through yet.
But as you and I both know, even without the challenges of 2020, there surely are a lot of reasons I’m single. Indeed, I came up with WAY more than 35 reasons this year and had to narrow it down. But that doesn’t matter to me as much as it matters to be moving my life forward in the best way possible. And doing as much as I can, for as many as I can, as often as I can, however I can. And we’ll just see what happens from there. Most of the time, I don’t actually feel bad anymore in thinking this single situation is the culmination of a whole bunch of mistakes and a sign of my unwanted personality or my rugged looks. Rather, I just haven’t found someone that works for me yet. It’s super lucky that I live in a time I get to even have that choice.
And as another writer aptly summed up about dating, “What’s wrong with me? Plenty. But that was never the point” (New York Times. Modern Love: Sometimes, It’s Not You, or the Math).
This blog has been brought to you by LizWritesThis. Thank you for making it to the bitter and very long end of this year’s installment. If you would like to see future installments, you will have to take this up with my mother, who is ready for these blogs to end.