On a warm summer night over a bottle of red wine, my friends and I sat around a table and swapped stories of adventures abroad. The conversation eventually shifted from our various brushes with the jaws of death to the closely related topic of romance.
One friend popped the inevitable question—"are you seeing anyone?"—and my reply must have been accompanied with a betraying sigh, as it prompted him to offer a word of encouragement. I quickly reassured him that I was in no hurry to meet someone, "In fact," I shrugged, "I would much prefer to remain single my entire life than potentially enter into a bad relationship." My friend looked me in the eyes and asked, "You know it does not have to be one or the other, right?"
My only intention was to relieve any concern that I was foolishly waiting around for my knight in shining armor, but his response left me wondering: Am I feeling jaded?
I have never been a serial dater, but I think I am not alone in sometimes feeling just a little bit, well, weary of it all. It can be hard not to feel run down at times, whether from personal experience with hurtful relationships, seeing your friends suffer, or even just overhearing guys at a bar plotting to "score" for the night.
Despairing of the entire male sex or even healthy romantic relationships is a tactic to which women can subconsciously default in an effort to defend themselves from hurt or disappointment. This mindset, however, is a discredit to the rare, but not extinct, gentlemen in the world.
It is hardly fair to judge the entire male sex on the population of one bar, or even two whole bars for that matter. When I'm in my most unforgiving mood, I find it helpful to remind myself of the kind of man that I am attracted to and ask myself, "would he enjoy himself here?"
It's easy to get sucked into a kind of Law of Large Numbers mindset, believing that your chance of meeting Mr. Right is greater at a place where the quantity of people I have not yet met is high. Perhaps I should instead be more optimistic about meeting men in places where we have more in common, like through mutual friends, family, church, volunteering, or sports teams?
It's okay to go ahead and take those weary sighs, but then also be sure to take a fresh breath and look around. I know fairy tales don't exist, but I also don't have to look far to see that good men do.
Photograph via Jocelyn C. Photography.