Sleepless in South Florida

I, like many people in their 20s, find myself in a position of singlehood that seems to have no end in sight. As a fairly intelligent 26-year-old woman, I find that attempting to date strangers is not as easy as it sounds. Meeting people is not the get-out-and-do-it process it was before online matchmaking services and MySpace.

In order to meet new people, singles have resorted to online dating and the like. But what’s left for those who don’t trust this method? Sure, there are bars, nightclubs and other old favorites, but even those avenues have become seedy and dangerous ventures.

Handing out a phone number in person isn’t as easy as it sounds, either – especially if no one is asking for it.

For high school sweethearts and best friends-turned-lovers, there is an obvious connection: they’ve known each other for years and already trust each other.

So how does one find intimacy and trust in a world that has become so used to the fast pace of modern life?

I don’t even like to cook for myself sometimes, let alone put in the effort to start a relationship. I see the time and energy I put into a meal and I know that I can go up the road and buy a meal for $4.99 with much less effort. I know that to some this may sound like laziness, but I think it’s more a weariness of will. By the end of the day I just want to satiate my hunger and move on to the next item on my agenda. Has dating turned into a meal that I expect to be hot and ready with no actual time or effort put in for the end result?

Frozen dinners, turkey sandwiches and ramen noodles are much like my dating habits: I expect immediate results. I want my relationship cooked to order and my hand-in-hand strolls through the mall right now.

So how are people finding each other, marrying and having children?

I find that I am increasingly bewildered by the fact that some of the least desirable people have already found each other. Together they throw it in the faces of those of us who are moderately attractive and yet eat dinner alone every night. Even more disheartening is the thought that while I go to bed snuggled up to my Miniature Pincher, my ex-boyfriends have moved on to new relationships – and in some cases, married.

I watch some of the oddest couples and ask myself what it was that brought them together. I think of all the moments between them that must have transpired before each decided to commit to this specific person and wonder how many days, weeks, years it took them to get where they are.

I know how this sounds – poor single girl can’t get a date for Valentine’s Day. But this isn’t my point. I think that anyone who has ever been single for more than a year has thought these thoughts and considered these dilemmas. They sound petty and mean, selfish and bitter.

When I am in love I see couples and think how adorable they are, and when single I secretly hope that they break up. Perhaps dating remains elusive to me because I expect too much too soon. My sister recently told a single twenty-something that I was “a bit picky” and therefore not really an option for him.

All I could do was laugh and consider it an opportunity to see further into myself and question how picky is too picky. I wonder if it will lead to a lifetime of crawling to bed with my dog instead of a lover.

Jessica McGuire is a junior majoring in English literature.