Basically, this essay is me slapping myself in the face and telling myself “Go for it, you lazy son of a bitch.”
Written by LA Manlangit
Featured Image by Anthony Intraversato
Yep, you. Here you are, already in college, already past your teenage years, and you’ve been single your entire life. Whether you think it’s because you’ve failed as many times as you’ve tried, or it’s because you’re just a rock (not a halaman, a literal rock), or it’s because you never noticed when a girl sends you some signals, you’re here. You’ve never been in any significant relationship outside of a few close friends and family. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, but hey now, you wouldn’t be reading (writing?) this article if you didn’t want something more, am I right?
Truth is, there are a lot of reasons why you’re still single, and some reasons matter more than others. Now, I’ve divided this list into two parts: this is the first part. Why two parts, you ask? Don’t worry, I’ll get to that.
Let’s start. Maybe you’re single because you think that people look at you and think, “Oh, that dude should dress better.” Maybe you think that wearing brands like Uniqlo, Adidas and Nike make you more socially acceptable, and accentuate your personality. Maybe you think brand logos are enough to compensate for your ugly-ass face. Maybe you believe fashion bloggers when they tell you that the first thing people notice about you is your shoes, and so you go ahead and spend all your savings on a new pair of Stan Smiths (which by the way, is your second pair). Eventually, you’ve spent all your money on new clothes and shoes, while things that you actually need, like food, water, readings and books, go unnoticed.
Or maybe you’re single because you think you’re not smart as everyone else. You’re an average student that everything thinks is really smart because you study in UP. You see all these people in relationships excelling in academics as well, and you think to yourself, “Damn, if I study more, that’ll make me more attractive! That way I can offer teaching sessions to my crush and bam! That’s my pathway!” And so you start studying to look cool and to be accepted, not because you care about your future and want to give back to your parents when they grow old. You start spending all your time in coffee shops to look like a great student, when in reality you could save about 500 pesos a week by sucking it up and actually studying when you get to your condo instead of binge watching a new TV series.
Maybe you’re single because, well to put it bluntly, you’re not as attractive as other people. Some people are taller, have better hair, have pimple-free skin, and are literally THE mainstream answer to the questions: “Sino app/mem crush mo?” because why wouldn’t they be? You, on the other hand, look like shit. You’re short, you’re full of acne all over, and you smell. No wonder you’re single.
If you’re still reading this, I commend you, I just wrote some really mean shit. I love roasting myself as much as the next dude, but damn, even that should have a limit. But don’t worry, because all the reasons I stated above? Here’s the thing about all of them: THEY. DO. NOT. MATTER. AS. MUCH. AS. YOU. THINK. Sure, people will be attracted to you if you have a stylish outfit, or if you have clear skin, or if you’re smart. But it’s you, yes, you, what’s inside you, your personality, your quirks and sensitivities, the things people notice about you that you don’t even notice about yourself, those are the things that’ll make them stay. I’m not saying that all the reasons above aren’t factors, but the people worth staying for, the people who are worth the long-term struggle, the people who you would want to marry and settle down with someday, the people who aren’t hard to get but are hard to earn, they’ll look past everything I mentioned above, and love you for who you are. The people worth loving, they like because, and they love despite. (I have now quoted Set It Up twice in one paragraph. Not bad for my first rom-com in a while). I now realize I’m beginning to sound really cliché.
Alright, moving on: Do you remember when I said there were two parts to this list? Well here comes the second part. The shit that actually hits you (hopefully).
Maybe you’re single because you overthink too much. That sounds redundant, I know, but bear with me. Maybe she doesn’t care about what you wear as long as you look like a decent human being. Maybe when she calls you “fam” or “dude”, or anything like that, she really just values you as a friend and she’s like that to basically everyone, and she’s not immediately telling you that you’re stuck in the friend zone forever. Maybe when you say something really, really stupid (the humorous kind), she laughs because she found it amusing, not because she really now thinks you’re fucking stupid thanks to that remark. Hell, maybe she laughs at your jokes because she actually thinks you’re funny. Maybe it takes her a while to reply because she just wanted to shower before going to sleep, not because she didn’t want to talk to you for a bit because she got tired of your shit.
Maybe you’re single because you’re afraid of making mistakes and hurting other people. That’s why you’ve been avoiding relationships for 20 years, right? Maybe when you see someone, you think to yourself, “Holy shit, if you took my type of girl, and put that description into a machine and it produced a human being, it would look exactly like her.” Maybe you’re thinking that she might already be the one, so instead of taking risks, you stay cautious because you don’t want to scare her off. Maybe it takes you 3 fucking hours plus a tub of ice cream and Ministop Chicken to summon the courage to chat with her about a movie you just watched that you think she would like. Or maybe, you’re afraid of getting hurt yourself. Maybe you assume you’ll eventually be rejected, so you don’t try at all.
That ties in with another painfully depressing reason: maybe you’re single because you don’t think you’re good enough as a person, period. You hear other people talk about their types of guys and girls and you think those standards will never be attainable on your end. You put others on a pedestal so high that you’ve basically entrenched yourself in a mental pit of despair from which there is no escape, forever stuck looking up at the people you think are out of your league. Your self-esteem and self-respect dissipate, and you’re left with nothing but a bunch of broken dreams and a hole where your heart used to be. Maybe, you gave away so much love to other people that you forgot to save some for yourself. (I lost count of how many clichés I’ve written down).
All the reasons in the second are probably devastatingly true for so many people, including me. It’s pretty sad when you think about it, because underneath all the smiles and the laughs, there’s some part of you yearning for more, and it sucks that it’s always under cover.
I am clearly not the best person to seek out for advice, but I’ll tell you the same thing a wise friend of mind once told me: Don’t be confident in your attributes and abilities, be confident in yourself. You are an amazing person. You’re trustworthy. You’re loved by your friends and your family.
Learn not to be so hard on yourself. You made it into UP for a reason. You are worth so much more than you think. Once you realize that, all the insecurities go away, all the doubt turns into hope, and eventually, you’ll gain the courage to put yourself out there. Things aren’t always as complicated as you perceive them to be, and sometimes accepting that goes a long way. If you get rejected, it’s fine! You’re young, you have plenty of time, and you’ll find someone else. Better to make mistakes while you’re young and you still have time to learn from them.
Clearly, I am horrible at following my own advice. Summoning the courage to ask someone out or trying not to stutter when you talk to them is way easier said (or in this case, typed) than done. One thing I always say to myself whenever doubt creeps in is this: If you really wanted it that bad, you would have gone for it already. (Of course, since I wrote this thing, the quote hasn’t worked yet, but hey, maybe it’ll work for whoever else reads this).
I’ll now finish off this piece with a super simple and cliché, but ultra-relatable even if you don’t understand the context quote from one of my current favorite shows, Brooklyn Nine-Nine: