New York Women, Perpetually Single
June 29, 2012 3 Comments
I had two paths living in New York. One that led to me living here forever and focusing on a career that would have swallowed up my entire being and the other was realizing this city isn’t the end all be all of dreams and goals and I will leave one day.
I literally never thought I would have ended up secure in falling into the latter.
When my dad and I talked about real estate goals when I was 23, he always would talk like I was going to live here forever. So he would always suggest just renting in New York since buying here is a. a nightmare and b. property value is too much money for such little space and once I would be in the position to buy real estate he always suggested that I should do so down the shore. Now I know in the back of his mind he thought I was going to get married someday, hopefully, but to me, these financial talks about the future always portrayed me to eventually be making a good deal of money, but to also be living alone.
Living on the Upper East Side, I rode the bus frequently to go up town ( it’s the best during the holidays to take the one going up Madison and look at all the shops and lights while drinking hot chocolate,) I used to see all these older women carrying so many plastic bags with no visible rings on their left hand riding along with me.
I always wanted to know firstly, what they were carrying in those bags, secondly, how they ended up being alone, and most importantly, will I end up like that?
I think it’s a fear in the back of most new york girls minds, will I end up living alone? Or will I find love here?
And I have a theory on all of this, obviously.
Like I wrote before in my New York is a lonely place post it’s also a place where people value their independence. Where else in the world are people so hungry to live in a studio apartment for $2,000 a month just to have some peace of mind?
I feel like living on your own for a few years is completely wonderful, and I really wish I had the money and the opportunity to do it while living here, but there is a threshold of living alone that I feel can really make it hard for you to ever live with anyone else again.
What I’m getting at is that once you are so used to living for yourself you can’t really find in your mind the ability to compromise, and with that are major issues.
You know that older woman in her late 50′s at your office who sort of talks to herself and dresses really nice? The one who is constantly wearing Stuart Weitzman shoes and has a cartier watch? The one who dresses in black chinos and cropped blazers almost exclusively? The one who wears scarves in the summer and drinks her coffee the exact same way and eats the same chocolate croissant from City Bakery every morning? The one who says she’s had the same haircut since 1977 and never got married?
I can almost guarantee to you that she got a studio for herself 30 years ago when she moved to the city after college and got so used to living on her own that she could never possibly move in with anyone else.
I’m not saying everyone is like this, obviously there are people who live alone for years and years and then find love and move in together and are very happy, but I think there is something about a roommate that keeps you mindful. I was going to say sane, but that isn’t the case because living with roommates is HARD, very hard, but there are compromises, and you take turns using the bathroom and you split the cost of toilet paper and you learn to live and help each other. It’s like practicing living with your family you will have some day.
Once you live on your own, and you can do whatever you want– there is no such thing as patience, because you don’t need it. You give up your need to compromise as well. If someone asks you out to dinner, you can say just say yes or no and not feel obligated to invite your roommate, if you want to eat pizza in your undies in the living room dipping it in ranch and watch tv all night, you can do that too.
For the past 3 years I have lived with guys so I have had to wear pants at all times, and even that was a compromise, if it were up to me, I would have been in my kaftan smoking out of a hookah in the living room listening to Rihanna “where have you been?” on repeat, but you can’t do that when you live with someone else, well you can– but I don’t live on Parkview Ave in Pittsburgh anymore.
The point is, living alone makes it very hard for you to be able to give up your independence because you never have to in your daily routine, your life is completely uniterupted. Everything runs on your time, and you don’t have to answer to anyone.
And my theory bodes a little more towards woman then men, and so do the numbers.
In a study done in 2007 there were found to be nearly 800,000 more single women in the greater new york area then men.
I think this might have a little to do with the fact that men, although they seem like they want to be single forever, really do want to find love eventually too. They want to also move out of the city and their tiny apartments and have someone cook and clean for them. I also think men are perpetually more laid back then woman and can adapt from the single life to living with a girl or partner fairly easily.
Also, there are just more woman in New York then man anyway.
I know this isn’t sounding very xojane.com right now, and that not everyone has to get married or find love or ANY of that and maybe people are happy living in a tiny apartment and drinking the same tea every day, but I’m not and for the first time, at the best time possible, I’m so happy in my life.
I always pictured myself in New York alone living in a studio until I was in my mid thirties, but now I’m so happy that isn’t my reality. I’m so in love with my boyfriend who supports me in everything I do and is so smart and fun that I sometimes can’t believe I ever found him. I’m happy that we are moving on to the next chapter and that he taught me to believe in myself beyond this city, that I’m better than my last company, that I’m worth it.
So as I pack up my stuff for the 8th time in 5 years, I am secure in leaving the city I thought was going to make my dreams come true for me, because I realize now it didn’t. I left too much to the city and not fate and now it’s sending me where I need to be.
In love, happy, healthy and on the path to becoming who I was really meant to be and let me tell you that even living alone in the biggest 1-bedroom apartment in the West Village for $1,200 a month with a terrace and dishwasher isn’t worth all of that in the least.
I need a bagel.