When I was 18 years old, I wanted to get my then-boyfriend’s initials tattooed across my hand. I needed the world to know that we were madly in love (which, of course, we weren’t) and this was going to be the man (which, of course, he wasn’t) that I’d spend the rest of my life with (which, thank God, I didn’t).
Instead, I chose to get a tasteful fire-breathing dragon inked on my lower back. It’s well over 10 years later, and I’m in one of the most positive and healthy relationships of my entire life, so why is it that I’ve repeatedly been told otherwise? Is it because I don’t have his John Hancock inscribed across my digits or bosom? Or do people know something that I don’t (like, perhaps he’s listed on the Cheater Registry)?
Let’s rewind. My seemingly troubled (and mildly debilitating) history with the opposite sex has, up until now, followed me everywhere. I’m a bit of an addict when it comes to relationships, in that I won’t leave ‘em until the thought of tolerating another infuriating conversation is so inconceivable that there’s nothing left to do but crawl into a cave of maudlin music and intravenously pump R.E.M. tracks through my grieving veins.
But I don’t recall anyone ever telling me those guys were wrong for me.
About a month ago, I was flying solo but with friends at a local bar when a stranger, who I’d been chatting with for all of two minutes, opted to pass judgment on my relationship. He’d only asked me the basic relationship trifecta (“How long have you been together?” “Why isn’t he here?” and of course, “Are you in love?”), before deciding to channel his inner Oprah and share his unwarranted opinion with me. “Hey, don’t take offense to this, but I really think you’re with the wrong dude.”
The veracity of this brazen guy’s douche-o-meter was irrelevant in this instance — hearing that sentence made my gut drop to my feet. I so wished that my boyfriend was there to lay a big fat kiss on me in front of the idiot, and at the same time, I was enraged that I even felt the need to defend myself to someone who was, to put it simply, incorrect.
Yes, I went stag to a bar, but going out without my better half is something we’re both completely fine with. We trust each other implicitly, and if my man wants to stay home on a Friday night because his brain is absolutely pooped while I’m amped to pay a visit to the local watering hole, then we should be able to. In fact, we are able to. It’s never been a problem for us … it’s only a problem for, well, this guy and others who’ve found it appropriate to judgmentally question our sometimes separate social lives.
“What makes you say that?” I asked. He muttered something about my energy. I thanked him for his suggestion and made my exit.
On my cab ride home I tried to make sense of what happened. Have I become so much more socially developed than the majority of my fellow Jäger-enthusiasts that my unwillingness to brag about how great my romantic life makes me come across as disinterested in it? I’m just disinterested in yapping to strangers or always bringing my boyfriend with me everywhere, like one of Paris Hilton’s tiny puppies.
It’s a shame. If only my boyfriend’s name were Dragon, then I could have just pointed to my tramp stamp.