Be­ing Blanche Dev­ereaux

Why I choose ro­man­tic soli­tude over re­sent­ful com­pan­ion­ship

GA Voice - - Mating & Dating - View­point By Ryan Lee

I feel like I’ve wan­dered into a ro­man­tic funeral any time peo­ple change their Face­book sta­tus from “in a re­la­tion­ship” to “sin­gle.” The front pews are filled with cy­ber mourn­ers of­fer­ing their con­do­lences in the com­ments, some­one might (mis)quote re­deem­ing words from God and I can al­most hear folks in the rear gos­sip­ing about the re­cently de­ceased union.

There have been spe­cific break-ups where I knew how mis­guided it was for peo­ple to ex­press re­morse; any­one who ac­tu­ally wit­nessed the re­la­tion­ship would re­joice at the death of such empti­ness and con­tempt. More gen­er­ally, th­ese on­line re­quiems for­tify our in­stinct that two is greater than one, and that be­ing sin­gle is be­ing in­com­plete.

It’s a sen­ti­ment I hear when out min­gling, or dur­ing small talk while get­ting dressed af­ter an on­line hook-up and the guy asks, “So how come you don’t have a boyfriend?”

I’m of­ten con­fused by whether I should be flat­tered or of­fended by this ques­tion. His in­flec­tion sug­gests that what he’s try­ing to say is that I de­serve a boyfriend, pre­sum­ably him. That’s sweet enough, but there’s also the im­pli­ca­tion that hav­ing a boyfriend would rep­re­sent an up­grade to my life, my worth.

“I en­joy be­ing sin­gle,” I usu­ally say with del­i­cate con­vic­tion. “I’m much bet­ter at be­ing sin­gle than be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship.”

More than once, a guy re­sponds, “Oh, so you like be­ing a hoe.”

I take lit­tle of­fense to this over­sim­pli­fied char­ac­ter­i­za­tion. It would be disin­gen­u­ous for me to not cite my sex life among the lead­ing perks of bach­e­lor­hood.

I’d hate to em­body the pro­mis­cu­ous gay stereo­type with­out also in­dict­ing the en­tirety of man­hood, so I at­tribute this in­dul­gence more to my chro­mo­somes than my queer­ness. Pri­mal con­structs have long led men to try to sex­u­ally con­quer their way to im­mor­tal­ity, and, for me, that makes the thought of hav­ing sex with only one per­son more mor­bid than death it­self.

Of course, en­ter­ing a re­la­tion­ship pre­vents few men from hav­ing sex with more than one per­son, so it’s not my vi­brant sex life that keeps me sin­gle.

There is no com­pany I en­joy as much as my own. I en­joy cook­ing for my­self, and at­tend­ing mati­nees solo. I en­joy go­ing out for cock­tails and danc­ing with friends with­out any pres­sure to find a life part­ner.

The peo­ple I have most of­ten fan­ta­sized about form­ing a life­long bond with have been pla­tonic friends, with me en­vi­sion­ing us grow­ing old to­gether a la the Golden Girls.

“There is a fine line be­tween hav­ing a good time and be­ing a wan­ton slut,” Blanche Dev­ereaux once ad­vised. “I know, my toe has been on that line.”

There are some who would call my life­style self­ish and im­ma­ture, an­other char­ac­ter­i­za­tion I can­not out­right re­ject.

Mil­i­tantly sin­gle as I am, I con­cede that there is more to my re­la­tion­ship sta­tus than lib­er­a­tion, rev­elry and or­gasms. There are wounds and in­se­cu­ri­ties. There is a stub­born, mas­cu­line pride that has gorged on fleet­ing af­fir­ma­tion un­til there is no room, no ap­petite, for the gen­uine love of­fered by my former boyfriends or po­ten­tial suit­ors.

I miss the well­ness that comes with part­ner­ship, the com­fort of in­ti­mate sol­i­dar­ity. I yearn to heal and cleanse my spirit, and to stay vig­i­lant of the dif­fer­ence be­tween in­de­pen­dence and iso­la­tion.

Gay cou­ples, whether monog­a­mous or less tra­di­tional, in­spire me, as do ho­mo­sex­u­als who are un­afraid of be­ing sin­gle. With gay monogamy go­ing from trendy to or­dained, I think in­tro­spec­tion be­comes an even more im­por­tant, yet of­ten skipped, part of courtship.

I do not feel un­whole, or un­holy, for rec­og­niz­ing my present char­ac­ter and choos­ing ro­man­tic soli­tude over re­sent­ful com­pan­ion­ship. I wish we could make our laws and cul­ture more ac­cept­ing of gay re­la­tion­ships with­out mak­ing it un­fash­ion­able to be un­part­nered.

Be­cause though I am sin­gle, I know I am not alone.

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