"I hope you fall in love this year," is actually a huge insult.
An unspoken rule of New Year's Eve is that you pretty much have carte blanche to send as many ridiculous, confessional, and candid text messages to people you harbor any number of feelings for. In the spirit of renewal, I send a few of those texts every year. And, not to be left out, I receive a few of those texts every year. But never in my life have I ever been so upset by a post-midnight missive on the first of January as I was in the wee hours of 2014.
"You are a minx. I hope you fall in love this year," the 3 AM text message read.
It came to me minutes after I'd safely arrived home from a pleasant night dancing at a club with my best friends. A night where I'd successfully navigated around three puke piles, a drunken stranger's advances, and a tirade about Brooklyn from a girl on the G train sporting those fuzzy leg warmers psuedo-ravers like to wear. The anger vein on my forehead immediately began to bulge. I deleted the message and threw my phone on my bed.
The sender was a man I have repeatedly rebuffed for the last two years. I'd met him when he responded to a Craigslist ad I posted for a potential roommate. A young woman ended up taking my free room, but the man and I had seemed to have enough in common during the interview process to stay in touch. We began a stilted friendship where we ate food and went mini-golfing a couple of times. Within weeks of knowing me, he confessed his feelings for me. "I adore you," he would send to me. I was polite, though blunt, and told him I only wanted his friendship. I had never expressed anything otherwise. I just wasn't attracted to him and didn't want to be misleading. Over the next two years, he's flitted in and out of my periphery because, truth be told, I wasn't that enthused about continuing contact.
He would occasionally send me texts asking to hang out, mostly when he was recently single and reminded himself I existed. I would always reply with bland stock answers like, "No thanks!" I didn't want to encourage it, but I didn't want to be a dick. This admittedly boring back-and-forth lasted up until two months ago when we had an exchange about vastly different world views that got me pretty heated. I deleted him off of my Facebook friends list without comment. I never delete people off Facebook. Not even those old high school friends who post inspirational Bible quotes.
I suppose he didn't notice. Which is why that smug and falsely kind, "I hope you fall in love this year," stared up at me with its glowing evil LCD eyes at 3 AM. It was presumptuous, condescending, and basically supported every notion of "singleness as a disease" that I despise.
Do I have love in my life? Yes. Certainly. A lot of it. Boundless amounts of love from friends, family, even past and present romantic partners. My love could fill a subway train faster than buckets of New Year's vodka vomit. I don't even feel I have to prove it to readers or anybody else, because I'm a fairly happy and fulfilled person who luckily never even has to question the fact that I have a warm group of people who love me.
Have I been happily dating people who make me laugh in the year 2013? Am I still currently in those types of relationships? Have I been in love with anyone in the past year? The answer is yes to all. I'm just, according to this fellow, a "minx." He considers me an "impudent, cunning, or boldly flirtatious or promiscuous woman." Hark: a harpy! What I read in that text is not that he doesn't wish the best for me, but that I won't comply with the rigid structure of what a happy and fulfilled woman in her 20s should be doing—being in a serious relationship where one presumably "falls in love." And that bothers the man I rejected. It gets his goat that I am laid up with the dreaded single virus and I'm not scrambling in hysteria.
What his text tacitly said was, "God, that non-relationship thing you have going on is embarrassing. You need to clean up that mess in 2014 cause it's disgraceful." It confounds him that I am extremely satisfied with the kind of love I have and the types of romances I privately engage in. I don't need a cure if I'm not remotely diseased. And if there was an antidote to my single poison, it certainly wouldn't be him.
Before you ask, I'm not a love Grinch in the least. Is falling in mutual love something I very much desire? Totally. I have been in those types of relationships before and I know it will be incredible when it happens again. I comb through Missed Connections with just as much of a twinkle in my eye as the next romantic with an internet connection. But if my "falling in love this year" was my one wish for 2014, I'd be a completely different kind of person. One who more closely resembles a Cathy comic. I have a huge bag of aspirations for the world following close behind me and only one of them is my hopes of romantic love. I'd miss the entire concept of real love if it was my resolution to find it this year. It is not something we wish upon ourselves or others and make instantly happen because of that wish. It's something that happens organically, wonderfully, and on its own timetable.
Maybe his New Year's text was sent with a nudge of pity, maybe it was sent with a touch of spite. Maybe it was a last-ditch effort to win my affections. Whether I am single or not currently, whether I maybe received post-midnight texts from other gentlemen on New Year's —that's for me to know. What I can say is that my singlehood isn't something that needs a remedy. Nobody can determine whether I have love in my life or whether or not it's something my life is lacking. That's the cool thing about personal autonomy.
Besides, love is like that puke that was lingering on the train platform: I might not be stepping directly in it this second, but I'm very aware of it, and believe me, I can already smell it making its way over.
Image via Flickr.