There are tons of facts that can be used to define me; some make me feel special, I love March Madness but only like the NBA and I don’t like mixing sweet and savory breakfast foods, but there is one that has felt like it has been pulling me down for a long time: I am single. Being single may not seem that bad, but for me I just can’t seem to shake it. I am 22 and have been single for (literally) ever. People love to reiterate that I am still young and have plenty of time to find love, but most days it feels like that day will never come, and that I wish they would shut up about my youth.
I don’t know of anything that is wrong and unlovable about me, but I definitely have moments where I wonder if I am just missing something. Most days though, I understand that these are just the depressing cards that life dealt me. Although, with every passing year that gets harder and harder for me to believe. There are moments that stick with you where your brain is like, “see, I told you it was your fault.” Like the time a guy saw me dancing in high school, shook his head, and walked away. Maybe he just had somewhere to be, but I doubt it. Or the time my aunt told me I was destined to be the old maid of my family, because every generation has one. I was fourteen.
I would not describe myself as boy-crazy, but I don’t think I could recall a time growing up when I didn’t have a crush. My first “love interest” was a boy who went on to “date” my best friend off and on throughout the entirety of elementary school, which was always a bit tough. When my best friend recently announced her engagement, to another man, my mother was crushed that the two young lovers hadn’t ended up together. Because apparently, I am so unlovable that my mother didn’t even root for me in my own love triangle.
Elementary school passed with the sting of lovers gone and the promise of those to come in middle school. Unfortunately, something else came as well, acne. It started out on my forehead, so I could easily cover it with my thick, straight-across bangs, but sooner rather than later it started to spread, and with it my self-confidence started to slowly slink away. To cover up for my lack of confidence I got loud and abrasive. People started to call me “sarcastic,” and I really leant into it.
Middle school wasn’t all bad though. My class now consisted of students from three different feeder schools and all the new man meat I could ever want. One boy in particular caught my eye, and I would do anything to catch his, including picking a new favorite NHL team, despite the shock and confusion of my parents (maybe it’s a Canadian thing).
I was not secretive about this crush, because I knew that if he knew I liked him he would obviously fall in love with me. (I stand by this rule to this day). I would laugh at all his jokes, start buying a snack in the cafteteria so I could see him instead of eating my free snack that my mother packed for me in my lunch box, and once, in a class project I ceremoniously coined our group, “Ekaj,” which was his name spelt backwards. (Shoot, if he is reading this he definitely knows who he is now. I went to a very small school). And, yes, this was a project we had to present in front of the entire class.
My best friend decided to help me out with him by using a fun question game. She would ask questions about his dream girl leading his answers towards me. This plan slightly back fired because Jake would tailor his answers so that instead of fitting my description, he was describing my best friend. (I want to just state for the record, that I do not hold her responsible for this. She was, and still is, gorgeous and she was honestly just trying to be my wing woman #WomenHelpingWomen). She eventually got fed up and asked why he didn’t want to go out with me and Jake gave the very honest, very real answer, which still haunts me to this day, “Because she’s Kasadee…”
With each passing year, since I was about 13, I have made a pact with myself that this is the year that I will get a boyfriend. I have let myself down a lot, and high school was no exception. One day I looked around and suddenly felt very behind. Kids my age were drinking at parties and hooking up, and I was still trying to trick a boy into kissing me. There is only so many times you can lean into a guy and whisper in his ear that “the stairs are so crowded” before he starts taking a different route to Pre-Calc.
The feeling of failure and that there had to be something wrong with me took hold and the bitterness started to creep in. I got angry and stayed angry for the next four years. I got sarcastic and tough and told myself that if I didn’t want anyone they couldn’t not want me first. It mostly worked, but for some reason my stupid teenage brain still wanted that guy who pushed all my buttons to also push me up against our lockers between French and Chemistry. Or between any two classes, we had the exact same schedule, so I really wasn’t picky.
I wanted so bad for a boy to kiss me, or just to notice that I was a girl, but I was also a very angry and competitive teenager, and that just doesn’t go away because I thought a boy was cute. My aggression often led itself naturally to be the best in gym class. I am sure I could have kept score during the lacrosse game and gotten my credit, but instead I decided to play. This led to me being very sweaty and losing the grip on my school lacrosse stick and whipping the ball into a boy’s leg and giving him a welt the size of my fist. I probably could have stopped demurely and offered to take care of him, but I yelled “PLAY ON!” Now that I am thinking about it, offering to take care of him definitely would have given me an in.
My competitive side did give me an in into the boys’ locker room…not like that- I was fourteen, but I was definitely being talked about in there. I like to think it was stuff like, “The way Kasadee scored five times on me really turns me on,” but it was more likely, “I am excited for football next week, but I really don’t want to have to tackle Kasadee.” Hey, at least they were talking about me. You win some, you lose some.
All in all, high school wasn’t terrible because my closest friends didn’t have boyfriends either, had never been kissed, and cared more about where next year’s band trip was going to be than whether they had hickies or not. I was absolutely fine with riding solo until senior year rolled around. The first prom dates were being lined up before Christmas. That is a full six months before we were even supposed to graduate, and some of the people who had dates were not exactly a shoe-in for making it to graduation. I waited and waited while the Senior Girls’ Prom page on Facebook, where we listed our dates and our dresses, continued to be filled up with date information. There were a few guys who I thought might ask me, and one in particular, but the invitation never came. So, I waited until the end of volleyball season (that is how I judged time in high school, so like mid-April I guess), and decided I had to take matters into my own hands.
I did not ask a fellow senior, because even I couldn’t have come up with a sarcastic retort had he said no, but instead basically told a junior that he was going with me. While walking to volleyball practice after school I corned the one fairly cute guy who was in band with me and made several awkward comments about juniors going to prom before basically saying, “You might as well go with me.” This led to him saying that he “thought I was going to ask him.” If there is anything I am when it comes to boys, it is coy.
We were friends already and knew he would look good in a suit. Plus, I got to tell him what to do and where to be the entire night, which was an added bonus. At one point he asked if it would be OK if he danced with someone else and I blocked out that part that was screaming “Nooooo!” and told him of course. You know, because I didn’t want this boy, who I’d probably never see again, to think I was a bitch. I then realized that it was the last slow song of the night and I stood on the sidelines between my prom date dancing with someone else and the boy I actually want to ask me dance with his perfect, tall, blonde date. It was very much like Sophie’s choice, I just couldn’t decide which was breaking my heart more.
On that depressing note, prom actually was fun, and I had a good time. I got all dressed up and hung out with my friends, which is really what it is all about. My Mom even told me that a certain boy who was in all my classes made an “oh, wow” look at me. I have no idea if that is true, but it came from my mother, and no mother in the history of the world has lied to her daughter about a boy, so I choose to believe it.
I graduated high school bilingual, top in my class in physics, and very much single. (Two of those things I am very proud of and just wanted to brag about). I went to university unattached and ready to find true love, because that is how it happens in the movies and after all the teen romance novels had let me down in high school, I was putting all the pressure on the young adult genre of film.
One drastic change did occur in university, I started to hang out with boys outside of school. Not like, “let’s go to a movie and make out,” but more like “hey, you are funny, let’s hang out after I finish hooking up with someone else.” One small step and all that. I got to listen to my guy friends complain about the girls who were not hooking up with them but should be. I wouldn’t say I had a crush on these guys, but I always secretly hoped they’d wake up one day and realize I was what was missing from their lives and that they couldn’t be apart from me anymore. You know, the usual guy-girl friendship dynamic.
Drinking is usually when I would start to question if I would die alone. My friends would always try to make me feel better by telling me I didn’t have a boyfriend because my standards were “too high.” And to that I say: bullshit. It’s not like I was inspecting each boy who walked up to me saying, “mmm, too short, too fat, not smart enough.” I physically couldn’t have done that because no boys were walking up to me. It is extremely hard to turn people away if there are no people in your way. To be fair, I was once dancing with my friends when some guy came up behind me and waved his hands in my face. He said nothing else, to which I said, “No, thanks.” I think that is just having standards, not necessarily high ones.
I spent most of my university career studying, stressing about studying, feeling guilty when I wasn’t studying, and watching Disney movies with my friends. Every three months or so I would wish I had a boyfriend, but then I would stress about the lack of time I have to give to another person. What would he do? Would he sit in the corner? Would he watch me study? Is that how relationships work? I honestly don’t know.
I graduated university with honours, a clear face for the first time in ten years, and still single (again two things I just like to brag about). Now I am out in the “real world” just trying to make it on my own, pay rent, and find true love, not necessarily in that order. I am still looking, and am willing to try anything, including Tinder. Where, I have found out, if a guy Superlikes you it doesn’t mean he will actually message you back. I, personally, have never super liked a guy on Tinder, I mean, I’m not desperate.
I have been single for my entire life, and sometimes when I think about actually finding someone to bring into my life, it scares me a little. I am so used to doing things on my own, what if I am not good at letting someone else in. Maybe all the guys in my life have sensed that already. There was a large portion in my life where it was just easier to act like I didn’t want a boyfriend than admitting the truth, boyfriends don’t want me. I still find myself turning quickly away when a cute boy looks at me because I am sure he won’t like what he sees. I also hope that eventually a guy will walk by me and my naturally angry expression and think, “hey, she’s kinda cute.”
I have very little confidence that things will work out for me romantically, but a bit of confidence is a start. When I am in my element, whether it is nailing down jumpers while playing pickup basketball, making a crowd laugh, or just wearing a really good pair of jeans and converse, I am more confident than I was when I was sixteen and insecure about everything from my hairstyle to the fact that I played trombone in band. Confidence is what keeps me sane on days when the question of if I am unlovable comes creeping out from that dark place in the back of my head. Confidence in the fact that I am really funny, I am brave, and I deserve to be loved. Even if the stupid guys around me haven’t quite figured that out.