I was quite nervous to start a website with a name like The Anti-Girlfriend. It wasn’t that I was uneasy about relaying the story of how the name came to be–I actually thought that it was quite an amusing yarn–since it had little to do with me. It was mostly about the other person involved, the guy who dubbed me with the moniker.
But I knew that in order to sustain the blog, I would have to plumb deeper. The site, at times, would likely have to become about me. And this, despite owning a great domain name, gave me pause. When he called me the “Anti-Girlfriend” it struck a nerve. He thought he was being cute, flip, complimentary even in a very backhanded way. But unwittingly, he had zeroed in something that had been troubling me for a long time–that I had been perennially single through my teens and twenties.
At the times when I felt the most down about this fact, I frequently lamented that the guys I seemed to like the most never seemed to like me back. In these scenarios, the choice to be single was not my own, but was subject to preferences of others.
I covered some of my feelings of ambivalence in the first post I wrote for the site back in September. But since then as I’ve had to think more about the subject in order to create content and some of my conclusions have been a bit surprising.
In the last six months, I’ve actually dated a great deal, more than most other periods of my life, and in analyzing these encounters, I’ve come to realize a couple of things.
First–I reject at least as much as I get rejected. Not that I deserve any prize for (gently) rejecting men. It just puts some of my past thoughts on the matter into the proper perspective. Others are not always making decisions for me.
Second–I am super protective of my time.
I’ve always been the type of person who has been passionate about the things I do–whether it is a sport or artform. I’ve always devoted tremendous amounts of times to these pursuits, which come at the expense of other things.
In grade school, I dropped out the sixth grade production of Annie, which was a big deal especially since I had a leading part. The reason–I didn’t want to miss too much gymnastics practice. Everyone tried to reason with me about it–my teachers, my mother, even my gymnastics coach. All assured me that I could resume practicing once the play was finished but I was adamant. And while I did feel left out as the play date drew near, I didn’t regret my decision. All I really wanted to do was gymnastics.
This pattern has continued into adulthood. While I’ve mellowed and learned to be a bit more flexible to make time for my friends and family, I still need a lot of alone time to work. I would never accept a date offer just because I had the evening free because in theory, I never have a free night. I can always be working on something important to me. I am less likely to go out on second, third, fourth dates as a result. I’ve got to really like the guy to prolong it.
Yet when considering times when things didn’t work out for me, I’d forget about these tendencies. I’d insist that I have always been completely open to a relationship. In reality, my openness to this arrangement is a much recent phenomenon, perhaps only over the last year or two, when I started to feel more settled in my career.
Recognizing this is actually pretty liberating. Working on this site has gotten to me realize just how much agency I’ve possessed all along. And hopefully it will keep this site from becoming a part of self-pity-blame-the-guy ouevre.
So I guess my only resolution for 2012 until the Mayan apocalypse kills us all is to continue feeling as I do now–pretty happy with being alone with my work but also open to whatever else is out there. And to never feel like I have no control over the situation. The only thing that controls me is the internet.