1. Our lives are incredibly glamorous.
A lot of my friends have procreated. What this means is that from the time they tell me they’re pregnant, and I don’t see them for about four years. That’s about all I know of motherhood: it’s a black hole that swallows women whole. It’s the Bermuda Triangle for women that used to slam Tequila shots and dance on tables until they sprained an ankle. And once I see them again, once the babies are toddlers hobbling around and stringing together sounds that almost sound like words so that toddler whisperers (people who can somehow magically converse with children) can understand what they want, my friends will dare to get a babysitter or ask the husband to give her a night out for her sanity and she’ll crawl to me from her dark cave and meet me at a bar for dinner.
It’s always a curious encounter, and after it, they go right back to the abyss, not to show their face until the kid goes off to kindergarten (not even on social media! It’s overrun with baby photos! It’s as if the thing — baby, I mean baby — wiped away their whole identity). But in that magical few hours when they reappear, we face off and study each other like we’re encountering alien life.
They all tell me the same thing, “Oh, it’s hard! It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do! But it’s so worth it! You will never sleep again. I’m so tired all the time. I barely shower. I never get to do my makeup. My hair is in a permanent ponytail. Diapers are disgusting but you become immune. I don’t do anything for myself anymore. I don’t read or write or know what the cool television shows are anymore because I only watch kid’s shows. Have you seen Baby Einstein? My baby is so smart!” And I sit in awe, thoroughly unconvinced at how worth it this all sounds; they lost me at the no sleep part.
And then they want to hear about my dating life, and I rip off a few funny stories and we laugh and laugh, and their wide eyed wonder becomes a mirror for how they see me. They think I’m living the Sex and the City life, sashaying through a whirlwind of martinis and glow-in-the-dark condoms.
Sex and the City was a great show — I always thought my life would be like that someday, and it is, if you only look at about 10 days of my life out of the year. For the other 355 days, it’s not so different from motherhood, except I get tons of sleep and a bed all to myself.
I skip showering, I see how long I can go without shaving my legs, I don’t wear makeup. Instead of diapers, I scoop litter boxes. (I admit that’s probably easier). Instead of Baby Einstein, I talk to my cats and become convinced that they’re understanding a pretty significant amount of language. Sometimes I faceplant them for hours. Sometimes I forget their names and just call them “best friend.” We binge all the hip TV shows and never miss an episode of The Real Housewives.
2. We are having all the sex all the time.
Again, pop culture has given us this rep, and I’m a little flattered that people believe in me enough to think I could attain that much sex. Getting a man to sleep with you is pretty easy no matter who you are, so I could probably have more sex if I had the will, but the truth is, I don’t have the energy.
Getting to the sex part is a real commitment. You’ve got to talk to them, get to know them, spend money on cocktails, (maybe even dinner if you meet a real life man who wants to date — but those are practically unicorns). You’ve got to do your make-up and hair and glue on all those eyelashes so you can be flirty and coy. You’ve got to shave your legs and vagina and wax your upper lip and eyebrows. You’ve got to update your panty selection because period stains sabotage even your best pairs and you might need to get new bras because they’ve gotten all stretched out and unsupportive. You’ve got to have the awkward sex and, if you can see that through, you might be able to get to the good sex. And then the sex is new so you go over and over again and lose whole nights of sleep and come in to work like a zombie and tell everyone you have the flu when really you have a dick hangover and you wish you were dead.
I feel tired just writing about it. I’m like every 34 year old working woman, single or married — I feel like I’m 104 and I break out in hives just thinking about going to a club or the ways I used to party in my 20s. There are a few times a year when I have the energy to have sex, but I’m not having all the sex. I have amassed an impressive collection of lovers, but if you have sex 5 times a year with different men for a decade, it all starts to add up faster than you realize. Sometimes I’ll like a guy enough to have a streak of sex that goes for some time, but then sleep casts the demons out of me and I find peace again in my cats’ embrace.
3. We are selfish.
Thankfully, feminism has been doing a good job calling bullocks on this myth. (I’ve been sleeping with a Brit; I love when he says bullocks). But I still hear people say to me, especially men, “Don’t you think it’s selfish not to have a husband and kids at your age?” There’s only a sliver of truth to this: I’m selfish about having my bed all to myself and I’m selfish about getting ten hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Otherwise, it’s bullshit.
First of all, I want you to come to my house next time I have the flu or cold and watch me drag myself like a serpent all over my house to gargle saltwater, attempt to bathe, heat up some chicken soup, make some tea, soil some Kleenexes. I want you to see the goddamn effort it takes to be alone at the most difficult moments and then I dare you to look at my collection of snot rags and declare me a selfish twat.
Second of all, I’m sorry parents, but procreating is about the most selfish thing there is. Sure, you dedicate your life to raising that blob of tears and poop into as decent of a human as you can shape it into, and there’s a lot of sacrifice. But ultimately, you sat down one day and decided that you were awesome enough to want to foist another version of yourself onto the future generations — that’s selfish. And you pretty much said fuck overpopulation, fuck global warming, fuck all the orphans in the world, fuck all the disposable diapers clogging up landfills that are never going to decompose, fuck the strain on the world’s resources, and you had a kid anyway. In not marrying and making spawns of myself, I’m doing the world a pretty selfless favor.
4. We are lonely and insecure.
LOL. This one is my favorite because it’s kind of the most evil. This idea permeates into the mind’s of poor women all over the world, unaware that they’re being duped by the patriarchy again. I have friends all the time who bemoan their loneliness, who wail, “What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t any man love me?” And I want to grab them and shake them until they snap out of it, but that would probably be assault and I can’t risk jail time when I have to go to work in the morning.
Look, stupid ass Disney movies and stupid ass rom-coms and stupid ass dating reality shows and stupid ass commercials about toilet cleaner are all telling you that you’re worthless without a man. They are also telling you that a man is the one doing the choosing and you’re just a helpless flower waiting to be plucked or waiting to wither away.
You have agency in your life. You can choose who you date and you can even do the dumping. You can also be fly as fuck and single. If you’re lonely, call up your girlfriends, get in your onesies, get several bottles of wine and a cheesecake, and watch Dateline episodes until you’re sure that all men are killers and you don’t want them around anymore. It works like a charm for me and my friends.
I personally never experience loneliness for the same reason I never experience boredom: I’ve been a writer since I was a kid and I’m accustomed to talking to myself.
5. We are unfulfilled without a partner and/or kids.
HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO REMIND YOU THAT MY CATS ARE CHILDREN?
But there’s more to life than cats, as much as it pains me to admit that. And there’s certainly more than kids and boyfriends and husbands. For one, there are girl’s vacations, which are nothing like the clip-on extension hair pulling brawls you see on The Real Housewives if you’re hip to the sisterhood and you have some fly women in your life. I have traveled the world with my girlfriends and there’s nothing like it. It’s just like when you see Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj in their “Feeling Myself” video — it’s all laughter and lounging in the sun and squirt guns and sharing burgers. I’ve traveled by myself too, which is admittedly terrifying as fuck at first, but after a few days conquering maps and public transportation, it’s liberating — you realize all the things you’re capable of alone and that you’re some damn good company. And I’ve traveled with my gay friend, which was also great, because I could take naps while he met his Grindr hookups. So, I feel pretty fulfilled.
I also have a job I love and I’ve written a few books. Making some art might not be the same as making a human, but I feel pretty good about it, regardless.
6. We can’t commit.
Show me a brownie sundae and I’ll show you just how deep my level of commitment can go.
But if you’re referencing commitment to other people, I can do that too. I’d love to commit to a man someday, but I just know what I deserve now and I’m unwilling to settle. If you found him in middle school and you’re still married at 35, that’s awesome — but that lightning didn’t strike here. So, I’ve done a lot of dating and with all of those test runs, I’ve deepened my sense of who I am, what I want, and what I’m worth. I’ve been a dream girlfriend and got cheated on. I’ve been a housewife and almost lost myself to madness. I know I can be a loving partner, and I hope to find someone who genuinely deserves that someday. Until then, I’m practicing commitment and good communication skills on my girlfriends and my cats.
7. We are doomed.
This one is true: I’m doomed to being a grown woman. I can do whatever I want. (Cue the Beyoncé — I’m about to dance in my underwear in front of my mirror.)