A Guy With A Bed Frame Is 2018’s Good On Paper

You own hand towels, too? I may faint.

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Photo by Mark Solarski on Unsplash

About a week ago, a guy on Tinder asked me if his vegetarianism was a deal breaker. I laughed to myself. Bless your heart, how quaint. I am a single woman living in Brooklyn, New York in the year of our Beyoncé 2018 and you think I’m going to be turned off by a guy I’ll never have to share the charcuterie with? I’m swatting away 34-year-olds with three roommates and meeting men whose closets and laundry bins are the same vessel. Eat your chickpeas, I really don’t give a shit.

Next came a guy at my coffee shop, completely average looking (which in New York, if you’re a woman, makes you a 2, if you’re a man, makes you hot), wearing well-fitting jeans, a crisp tee shirt, and what I’d consider pretty cool shoes. He was clean and put-together. I was confused. Then I saw his wedding ring and it all made sense. Silly Shani, single men don’t come well-packaged! They come wrapped in greasy paper and you have to bring your own bag.

The illumination of just how much I’ve compromised and been willing to accept or at least deal with in the last 5 or so years was furthered by a profile I came across a few days later. One that harkened me back to the days of having standards and expectations. Ah, memories.

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My stars, what have we become? What does it say about single humanity when this profile right here reads like Shakespeare to me? Speak again, bright angel, tell me of the more than five shirts you own!

You mean you don’t sleep on a mattress on the floor of an unswept, linoleum-lined basement? I won’t have to wait in line to pee at 3am? I won’t have to dry my face before bed with paper towels? This is an embarrassment of riches!

Such is my woe, and perhaps the woe of any female, single, 30-something shit-together, that the men we date (in our age bracket) seem to exist two or three lifesteps behind us. And if we aren’t “okay” with this, our dating pool shrinks to the depth of a bottle cap. So this man, this just normal human, is a gilded gift to dating.

Good on paper used to mean that you had a great job, were motivated and driven, perhaps owned a home, vehicle, or pet. You were neatly dressed, groomed, polite. The kind of guy you wouldn’t mind running into your boss with on a Sunday afternoon. It still means all of these things for women, but for men it basically means that you brush your teeth.

Reader, I’m tired. The double standards that exist among the sexes never cease to replicate and evolve. They are the termites of my very existence. I am appalled not just by my own reaction to the truth of this man’s statements, but by the fact that he knew it would benefit him to say them.

“Hey ladies, I’m keenly aware that you’re one bartender/DJ away from starting that women-only tiny house community in rural Maine. It is I, the dating scene chupacabra, and I’ve come to supply you with entirely normal things. The line forms to the right, no shoving.”

I’ve never fancied the notion that if I want company, I’m going to have to clean it up first. While I don’t mind blowing the dust of a fixer-upper, so to speak, I do mind being financially and functionally responsible for a full renovation from floor to ceiling. I don’t require a general contractor and six to nine months for habitability, neither should you.

But they do. They all do. They (meaning single men populating the online dating apps of the greater New York area) all require me to live without something I used to consider table stakes. Something that is table stakes in my own life. Privacy, a reasonable linen supply, adequate cutlery. Once, just once in my life I’d like to see a man at Ikea or Target who isn’t there on a leash. One man who thinks to himself, “you know what, this place could use an end table.”

You don’t have to be a normal, average, basic insurance plan human being anymore if you want to meet someone. You don’t have to pack on any responsibility at all, from a solo lease to whether or not the cordless vacuum is charged, until you meet your female partner, because heaven knows everything will fall into place after that–she’ll handle it. Everything has fallen into place for me, and I’m starting to think I’m delusional for wanting to meet someone whose life is a little bit together, too.

Regardless, I will still be on my knees in the garden, day after year, weeding through bad idea after red flag after fuckboi, hoping to come across someone who is average, and therefore the cream of the crop.

Also friend, if you’re out there, holler.

Written by

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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