Single Women Don’t Owe Anyone Chastity
We don’t have to do these mental gymnastics or mold our behaviors to the expectations of men.
“C’mon Rachel, you’re sending kind of a mixed message there,” one of my male friends pointedly texted.
I had been texting one of my friends about our post-COVID plans and the conversation got rather salacious. I was taking a swig of coffee as this message was coming in, and summarily spilled some on my two-day lounge pants that belied some of the sultry topics at hand.
“The fuck do you mean?” I retorted.
“Well, you’ve gone on about how much you want a guy to raise a bunch of toads with…”
It’s not like I got monogamous relationship-minded men with similar life goals lined up outside the door, there’s the whole impending cross-country move deal, can’t date mid-pandemic…
Maybe he was just expressing this sentiment now since he has a happy stable relationship with his boyfriend as of the past year, and all my friends regardless of gender seem to have gone through this lecturing phase as I’ve always been the last single gal standing — whether I did so out of choice or not.
“…but now you’re talking about how much dick you’ll get in LA. Which one is it?!”
Admittedly, this gave me some pause. I thought about it and simply replied, “What? A girl can’t stop at Arby’s when she’s been on the goddamn road for more than 72 hours with no exit in sight and no idea if that exit even EXISTS?”
I know my friend here meant well. But there’s nothing about the message that’s mixed: I’m simply enjoying single life since I don’t know IF, let alone when, I will cease to be single.
Before the pandemic, my life was also on hold due to waiting for a major surgery, having it, being in recovery, then having said recovery interrupted by declaration of a pandemic. Ain’t life a big fucking ball of sunshine?
So since I don’t know what my romantic future could be, and got so many factors beyond my control and purview of my personal choices — hello, did ANYONE want a freaking pandemic and resultant public health and economic crises?! — girlfriend has a severe case of Pandemic Horny here.
As in I was watching that Todd in the Shadows mini-documentary about Jars of Clay and all I could think was, “Woah. Christian rock dude can GET. IT.”
Yes, I want a relationship. But when we get the vaccine and my shipping container arrives in LA? I am behaving like a Senator not up for re-election. And you know what? I have nothing to apologize for, let alone rationalize. I’m 35 and single, not fucking dead. So long as the gentlemen I do this with enthusiastically consent, why does it matter to anyone?
Having known two women in my life who ended up MARRYING men they met through random one-night stands when we were out bar-hopping after hardcore shows? For all I know, the same thing could happen to me with the first guy I meet out west— or the first gentleman friend out there I reconnect with. Maybe I’ll just have a few no-touch dates that don’t go anywhere, or end up with several more legendary tales, like that time I unexpectedly hooked up off of LinkedIn. Perhaps my sex life will be a total utter nuclear holocaust, but at least I’ll be near my friends again with 2,300 miles between the present and my past.
I HAVE NO IDEA, and that is honestly part of the whole appeal of completely upending my life at this age!
The unknown can be suffocating and fearsome, like COVID. It can also be this beautiful chaos whose sweet embrace fills you with indescribable longing. I toughed out a global crisis and the worst parts of entrepreneurship by myself: so I’m more than ready for the joyful parts of a post-vaccine world, some of which go far beyond simply being pandemic horny.
So why do we expect single women to be totally chaste if they want a relationship?
This is baffling. We don’t owe anyone chastity.
Single women get so much conflicting information about dating etiquette these days, and so many unwritten rules to follow. The best part of being in your thirties and treading an unconventional life and career path is that you just don’t give a shit about these things anymore.
Did following a million unwritten rules about when you should text back, how soon you should sleep with him, and so forth REALLY do anything to make your life better?
Because all it did was crash my brain with futile mental gymnastics that the Geneva Convention would declare to be a form of torture.
My socialist organizing pal on Twitter then made this brilliant observation.
It goes hand-in-hand with this brilliant essay I read on Human Parts, about how a relationship should improve your life and expand your world, not merely find a way to fit into it — but persistent social mores dictate that women must constantly accommodate men and fit into these superficial molds in order to land one. The crux of this is that men don’t need to be seen by women to be validated in their life choices, while women still must constantly get male approval for everything they do.
The ones who don’t care about that approval are a threat.
I Want a Partner Who Expands My World, Not Fits Into It
But according to the men I know, the feeling’s not universal
It’s not just men who partake in this. People who are fed up with these inane and often conflicting social standards as they pertain to gender roles can end up taking it out on people who don’t care about them. But a woman who is not just sex-positive, but incredibly affirmed in her life decisions and gives no fucks about other people’s approval, is a major threat to the status quo.
The fact that a woman is expected to totally abstain from sex if she does eventually plan on a long-term relationship or marriage, but a man is not held to this standard, is an act of deference that really serves no purpose at all if she doesn’t choose abstinence in whole or part.
What, I’m supposed to worry he thinks I’m “easy” in a world of hookup and “adult friend finder” apps? Oh please.
People who are so up in arms about this just don’t want to admit we can have more choices than “get married” or “don’t”, and sex-positive women are capable of having rich, full lives without a relationship being her major life achievement here.
This was addressed by The Take: not apropos of the show’s writing and unrealistic classism that didn’t hold up after the early 2000s, more sex-negative attitudes towards Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones have surfaced in recent years. People can’t comprehend that you can be over 40, love to have sex, and don’t need a man for financial security or emotional fulfillment.
Based on how my friend slightly chastised me earlier for wanting to make the most of single life even though I personally would like a relationship, should it happen? It shows that we still have a long way to go because marriage is viewed as a side quest for men, the endgame for women.
Well, I want to download some different DLCs before I go to the end, okay? Because I don’t know if I’ll ever even finish the damn game at this rate.
Rather than agonize about who does and doesn’t subscribe to this mindset, I’m going to fucking enjoy my life and the self-assurance that being in my thirties brings.
Because WHO am I being chaste for? If I have to worry that some guy thinks I’m this irredeemable slut and therefore he won’t marry me, cool! I’ll end things right there with the surety that I’ve saved myself the trouble of getting into a relationship with a man who’s so insecure that he’d probably think I was having sexual relations with my business associates!
Single women reading this, don’t contort yourselves with the mental gymnastics. YOU DON’T HAVE TO. If you personally don’t want to have sex while you wait for The One, that’s okay and it’s your prerogative. But if every telephone pole you passed on the highway is starting to resemble a dick, armor up with suitable protection then go to freaking town with that lucky guy (or person).
Life is short. You do not owe anyone chastity. If the right one comes along, he’ll be more concerned with building your future together instead of who was in your recent or distant past. If he never shows up, and you’re approaching or just past 40, you also might find yourself in what I dubbed an “Unexpected Cougar Phase”. Don’t question it. Just lay back and enjoy it, if you choose to.
Let’s banish the status quo in tandem with this loathsome coronavirus.