I complain about being single all the time. But I sleep on a bed frame, I rock a mean pair of denims, and I don’t whine, cry, or say I don’t care when I, in fact, do care. I mean, I genuinely don’t understand why no one wants to put a ring on this. I’m a catch.
One day, I was complaining to my oldest, wisest brother who is a nice, down-to-earth software engineer with a good heart and a sweet face. He is proud of me, thinks I’m funny, and is overall a much better human being than I. But mid-singledom rant, he snickered and rolled his eyes.
“You do know why you’re single, right?” he said. I shook my head. “Christine, you’re really mean.”
WHAT?! I’m not mean. I don’t bully people. I’m never rude to waiters. I sometimes donate to charity even though I’m broke. I said this to him. He disagreed.
“You literally tell guys to fuck off, to their faces, if they ask you a question wrong,” he countered.
He’s not wrong. I have done that.
On a recent night out ‘n’ about in NYC with two friends, a guy comes up to me. He looks me in the face.
“You look like a bitch.”
“I beg your pardon?” I said. “Do you want to try that again?”
The hell kind of approach is that? Maybe he got nervous and word-vomited. Honestly, props to dudes. Walking up to a bunch of chicks must be a frightening endeavor. So, I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
“You look mean,” he continued. “Let me guess. You’re a writer. Or, you work in fashion.”
Now, as a magazine fashion editor, I’m not amused in the slightest. He has this big stupid smile on his face, and I immediately want to punch him in the throat.
“Can I buy you a drink?”
Much to my friends’ delight, pure instinct took over: “Are you kidding me? This isn’t The Pickup Artist. You can’t just walk up to a female, insult her and her life’s work, and then think you can get her while she’s vulnerable, you tiny prick of a human. So, no, you may not buy me a drink. But you can fuck off.”
So, you see, it’s not my fault I’m so cynical.
I have always held tight to my sarcasm. (It’s part of my charm, MOM.) At best, people enjoy it. At worst, people see me for who I really am: an asshole.
And here’s the worst part: Big bro was right. Not only am I like this when I don’t like a guy, I’m also like this when I do like a guy. Confusing, I know. But when I’m actually into someone, my first reaction is to be mean. (Some refer to this as a “defense mechanism.” (Mom.) And not, like, cute mean. More like, let me get down into the depths of your soul and make you question everything mean. I don’t know why I do it. I don’t know why I can’t stop.
Sidebar: My best friend texted me one night in college.
Her: “You’d be so proud of me. I flirted with a guy all last night.”
Me: “So proud. How’d you swing it?”
Her: “I punched him in the chest for an hour, and then he asked for my number.”
Chick is a god, I swear it.
I’ve tried on some other personalities for size, and I’m straight up terrible at all of them. Laid-back and vanilla? Nope. Cold, standoffish ice queen? Close, but no cigar. Sweet and bubbly? A hard no.
I envy my friends who can bat their eyelashes and talk about god knows what with strangers they don’t like. They flirt their way through rounds of free drinks and score a bunch of numbers. They leave the bar—albeit, alone—feeling quite in-demand. They might still be single, but their singledom is a little less…sad?
They’ve tried to coach me. They’ve sat me down, told me how to tone down the sass and turn up the flirt. It lasted as long as me batting my eyelashes, him coming over, and me immediately reverting back to myself. Another one bites the dust. .
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