The Baron and I met through Match.com. I imagined him to be a sporty guy who often left town on the weekend for an adventure because his online photos had him on snow-capped mountains in ski gear. A rugged outdoorsman was just the alpha male I was interested in at the time.

This is generic advice, aimed at no one in particular (except a few older men I work with who won’t ever have the opportunity to read it). I’ve been mostly single my whole dating career – a few three to four month interludes throughout the years – and I’ve only recently come to terms with it. Throughout those years, though, some things are constant.

1. Always (always, always, always) think before you open your mouth. This is especially true when conversing with a single woman nearing 30. So, if you find yourself in a situation where you’re not quite sure if what you’re about to say is going to offend me, take a few seconds to consider just how awful your own foot might taste when it’s stuffed into your mouth.

2. Don’t worry that there’s something wrong with me because I’m approaching 30 and haven’t yet had a stable, long-term relationship. It’s like Deborah Kerr said – “Personally, I think if a woman hasn’t met the right man by the time she’s 24, she may be lucky.”

3. Stop telling Cat Lady jokes. Seriously, just stop.

4. Just because I’m happy without a romantic relationship in my life, doesn’t mean I’m prepared to walk into a room full of couples by myself. Bravery is one thing, but stupidity is a whole other. Cosmo Magazine would never tell you, but that’s why gazelles travel in groups – because it makes it harder for the lions to pick one out for dinner.

5. 99.9% of the people who are in loving, wonderful relationships are the EXCEPTION. I think it’s wonderful that you met your husband or wife by chance while choosing melons at the local market, but stop telling me that I need to shop for melons on a daily basis so I can meet the love of my life. I don’t even like melons.

6. Please stop telling me that it will happen when I’m no longer looking. The reasoning here is twofold: first, because I’ve stopped looking and it’s still not happening and second, because if this statement applies to dating then shouldn’t it apply to most other things? For instance, if I’m constantly looking for a bus and it doesn’t appear, then the minute I stop looking for a bus one will show up…and most likely run me over. This seems unpleasant.

7. Hollywood: STOP MAKING ROMANTIC COMEDIES. They’re not funny, they cause damage to one’s self-esteem, and they create unachievable goals in a world already filled to the brim with broken hearts. See here.

8. Not everyone gets a “happy” ending. Some people get the ending that makes them happy.

9. Do not (I repeat: DO NOT) suggest online dating to me when I complain about how difficult it is to meet men in this day and age. I won’t even say anything. I’ll just throw something at you (most likely something soft…maybe). Just let me bitch and moan and then tell me to suck it up and eat a cupcake.

10. Don’t worry so much. Life happens at a pace it sets for itself. You’ll be the first to know when I’m head-over-heels in love. Until then, let me be. I have a wonderful group of friends and for now, they keep me sane.

The 6 month sabbatical was supposed to end this month. I don’t think it will, at least not officially. I’m not saying that if some approximation of my better half pops up in front of me and asks me to dinner I’m going to say no. I’m just saying I need some more time to figure it out…whatever the hell “it” is.

Dear Generic Online Dating Site,

While ruminating on my single status, I tempted fate and examined one of your websites. I perused the gallery of eligible men. I even went so far as to fill out a questionnaire and wait with bated breath while your “Romance Experts” (and yes, the air quotes are definitely implied there) tallied my results and told me my most likely matches were a man who lives in his mother’s basement but is “seriously working on moving up to the second floor” and a goat farmer who misspelled the word “goat” in his profile narrative.

(Seriously, it’s a four letter word. How does one misspell a four letter word? How?!) 

Amongst all of this dating excitement, I have discovered that your website is, quite possibly, the most useless invention this side of a melon baller. Now, thanks to the advent of technology, I can be rejected through various online means by the very men whom you claimed were “destined to be my soul mate”.

This is, perhaps, the greatest irony of all…seeing as how in your delightful little questionnaire I indicated that I DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE CONCEPT OF SOUL MATES.

Haha…hoho…funny little online dating site, oh how you amuse me.

It’s amazing, really, how you have created a subcategory of desperation. I know that before your arrival on the scene I wasn’t exactly sure how to define my own desperation. I feel much better about it now. It shouldn’t be too surprising, then, that your television commercials and magazine advertisements have convinced women over the age of 15 that the most horrible thing in the world would be to live their lives without a wedding ring surgically attached to their ring finger.

“What do you mean you’re 22 and not married?! Inconceivable!”

“You do realize that if you’re not married by the age of 30, you’ll never get married. You’ll die alone, eaten by cats, and your neighbors will find you wearing a housecoat and granny panties instead of a silk kimono and a tasteful thong.”

And so on, and so forth. 

Being single has been reduced to a disease, an illness that should have a cure and proper course of treatment. Perhaps your “Romance Experts” could write an article for the New England Journal of Medicine on the Great Plague of Singledom. They could suggest pina coladas and getting caught in the rain as two excellent medications for this horrible sickness.

Single women all over the globe are slowly but surely convincing themselves that joining a leper colony would be preferable to being unmarried at the age of 35. We never worried about these things until your quaint commercials began popping up and telling us that being worried isn’t enough, that we should be absolutely terrified.

Shame on you, Generic Online Dating Site. Shame on you for making us so concerned about a future spent without a husband. Shame on you for telling us that it’s not okay to date just to date, but that we should, instead, be seeking out a long-term commitment. Shame on you for suggesting that I cannot hang my own shelves or unclog my own drain or kill my own mutant spiders.

I could probably even milk my own goats…

Regards,

Meghan E. Hunt