Alone Again (Unnaturally)31 May 2013
These days, everyone seems to be getting together. Or complaining about not getting together. Like, ever.
Being famously single amongst friends, I’ve begun to take notice of a stigmatised singleness especially within my social circles, what with everyone hooking-up and all.
Whether it’s purely the popularity of Taylor Swift’s anger-fuelled album Red feeding friends to get together (and then break up and listen to ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’ on repeat) I can’t be sure. What has struck me though is that more than ever I have felt an aching urgency to start dating Grindr dudes, bunk with a boy to a Babs film, and start spreading the word that I’m seeing someone.
I know that part of the reason lies in straight and queer friends alike finding themselves in deluded states of romantic attachment. But what I have found more troubling is how they have pressured me more than ever to follow in their tracks and find a lover to do double dates with them.
It’s true that many of our conversations have veered away from talk of my thesis to where my personal life is. Each time it’s in the same place and yet these cronies are convinced that my priorities are evidently disordered.
In my ways, exclusively dating another boy and developing a relationship helps normalise my own queerness. By counteracting many misguided assumptions made about gay men (most obviously the erroneous stereotypes of promiscuity and indulgent casual dalliances) a relationship can be seen as aligning us closer to a monogamous heterosexual union.
Although I have toyed with an LTR (long-term relationship) many times before–a bond that would counteract my teenage angst bullshit and nourish me with emotional warmth–I now felt cynical now about how a relationship would be exactly culturally coded. Would it be for my benefit or to counteract cultural claims made about my sexual orientation?
Is that what I should see as normal queer desire? Monogamy with another boy?
By staying single, I felt like I embodied assumptions that were no longer being associated with no-longer single queer couples. In effect, the expectation of monogamy in queer committed relationships compounds the assumptions made about those who do not fall in this line. It calls attention to us single gals who are yet to get together into committed relationships and suggests we’re doing something wrong.
What is also true of social groups is the peer pressure that pervades them. Whenever a new trend or behavior is introduced–in my case, coupling together–the onus now lies on normalising it and pressuring those not conforming to fall in step. It’s true of many other trends in queer cliques and appears true of mine.
Although I will continue to feel an absent (peer, cultural) pressure to help normalise my queerness by pursuing monogamy with another boy, I don’t think I want to follow these expectations of me just yet.
My only aim now is have another go at Swift’s Red.