Woes of a High School Singleton This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     My name is Caitlin Lang and I am single. There, I’ve said it; my supposed life failure is out there for the whole world to see, running around in the school hallways with nowhere left to hide. Now all I have to do is wait for the clichéd bolt of lightning to strike me down for admitting to such a crime.
To some, confessing that you are single is as hazardous as stating that you have contracted a contagious, incurable form of chicken pox. And while this “disease” does not leave an itchy rash, it does seem to leave an unfavorable impression of you.
One of my male classmates seemed absolutely horrified at the idea of a high school girl being single, but that didn’t surprise me. His reaction to the abhorrent notion of my stale romantic life was one that I’ve found from many who are supposedly wiser about relationships: my friends (who have never had a relationship last for more than a month) and my parents.
“Caitlin, have you ever had a boyfriend?” my classmate asked after the traumatic shock. Usually I have a well-planned excuse for my lack of romantic high school attachments, but for some reason, at that moment, I was perplexed. I furrowed my brow, and before I could start preaching about the life of a singleton, my teacher called for our attention. The conversation about my relationship status was over, but his words stuck with me for the rest of the day, pinned in my side, like a needle in a cushion. The taunting tone in his voice had been mixed with amazement. He had seemed horrified that I did not have and have never had a boyfriend. I guess that makes me an outcast, in the category of the unwanted.
To many young females I know, a boyfriend is something as vital to life as water is to a fish. I, on the other hand, couldn’t care less whether I have a boyfriend. Being single doesn’t bother me. Despite the case studies and field tests, it does not kill. It is actually more painful to hear the continuous taunts at being a virgin, the questions about why. At 17, I have already experienced the pain of the single person’s questionnaire on dating. This fun and harmless game usually is imposed on a young woman who is unattached in her thirties. But I have become a high school Bridget Jones (another famous singleton), already mocked for not being in a relationship.
It is always the same questions: “Will you ever get married?” I don’t know, and at 17, I really don’t think much about it. “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” or to put it more directly, “What’s wrong with you?” Nothing is wrong with me, and nothing is wrong with the guys at my school, except perhaps that we are not romantically interested in each other. It is strange that our advanced civilization cannot understand that in this generation girls and guys are allowed to be just friends.
“Wouldn’t having one make school less boring?” Apparently no one realizes that young women may have other things on our minds than improving our relationship status. My brain, for example, is cluttered with extracurricular activities, schoolwork, family, and friends. I suppose to some that is not enough.
“But don’t you want to have fun with someone?” I’d like to take this opportunity to state that this horrid “disease” has not affected my social life. I am perfectly happy with my situation. I am not saying that I never hope to have a boyfriend or be interested in a guy, but I am certainly not suffering without one.
“It’s such a waste, all that beauty.” Appearances are only skin-deep, and not having a boyfriend is not a waste of anything. A girl shouldn’t have to wear makeup or lose weight to catch a man. All girls, including me, should only beautify ourselves for ourselves.
“What about practicing for marriage?” Marriage is a popular topic, since it seems we are sinking back to the days of the 1950s when girls were thinking about marriage as soon as they stepped out of high school. That, however, is probably one of the worst reasons to have a boyfriend. To me, people should stop romanticizing the high school sweetheart fantasy and grasp the reality. When a marriage ends, it does not end in a “Dear John” break-up note - it concludes with an expensive, ripping-at-each-other’s-throats divorce.
After watching my parents’ 21 years of marriage, I like to think that my thoughts on love are as qualified as those of an overpaid therapist. I should not be misinterpreted as being cynical or cold. I have feelings because I have seen many relationships take off into the clear sky smoothly, heading for that paradise dream, and then collide into mountains and smash to pieces. I don’t believe that all love is phony and full of bittersweet cream-cheese filling.
I don’t choose not to have a boyfriend, but I won’t pretend to be interested in one just for the sake of bragging to others that I “got me a man.” I want to be true to myself, to what I want out of life, and respect love or attachments, which I see others abuse. A young woman should not be treated as a leper because of her desire for something real (and not phony). I, and others out there like me, should not be defined by men or even a lack of man, because despite what my wonderful relationship-advice-giving gurus think, having a boyfriend does not make you prettier, sexier, cuter, smarter, or more successful.
Actually, I feel more empowered and self-aware because I know what I am looking for from life. Right now, I am enjoying my friends and family (despite their comments), school, my clubs, and overall life. I feel complete, content, excited about my future, and fully satisfied with who I am.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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pageturner This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 17, 2010 at 5:39 pm
I agree. What's so wrong with being single? I have way too many friends, who already have boyfriends and ex-boyfriends? And it used to drive me nuts. Now I'm trying to focus on writing. Nice article. Can you check out my articles?
 
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