While on a casual stroll downtown, hobbling along in a knee brace after having hurt my tendon, by chance, I was approached by a beautiful girl who ecstatically said, “Wallah, you will never believe me, but we, pointing to her girlfriends, are from Orland Park and when we decided to go downtown, I said, watch us hit into Faiza Rammuny from Expired & Fabulous and here you are,” she said with a huge smile.
“Well, this isn’t exactly fabulous,” I joked referring to my knee brace. The girls laughed and after explaining to them why it’s so important to stretch properly before every workout, we found ourselves speaking about the typical single girl conversation: our relationship status–or in our case, lack thereof.
“I love your writing so much and it totally inspires me, but my mom is always telling me not to read it because if I do I’ll be single forever,” she said.
I stood there rather perplexed at the thought that my blog could deter eligible men from single women looking for a relationship.
“Well I’m sure that’s not true!” I said with a laugh.
“I know,” she said. “It’s like my mom only wants me to hang out with married women like that’s gonna help me get married. I have a certain guy type I’m looking for. That’s why I’m single and that’s why I love your work.”
I was flattered of course andcould completely understand where this girl was coming from. My father had for years insisted on my spending time with my married friends as opposed to the single ones. He believed that if I hung around married friends long enough it would in some way make me come down with the ‘I Need To Be Married Bug.’ And. Although I listened to my father, hanging out with married friends only made me not want to be married. I mean all they did was uttering phrases I felt most annoying, using words like, “We & Us” always referring to their Significant Other when they were happy. And then, a few years later the tune drastically changed, it became a long dragged out nag sessions about how much they miss having the freedom of being single and not having to answer to their Besetting Other.
“You’re still single right?” she asked.
“Yup!” I said no longer feeling the self-pity I dealt with for the past few weeks.
“Me too. I’m happy being single till the right guy comes along,” she said with a smile, “and I think a huge part of that is because of you, even if my mom doesn’t like your work. She’s just old fashion.”
I wasn’t offended. Her mother wasn’t the only one who saw me like some sort of stubborn bachelorette in five-inch stilettos. I mean, hell, half of my family had begun to believe that the reason for my being single was because I was gay or frigid. God forbid I could be a strong, independent woman with standards who refuses to settle for anything less than what I need out of a meaningful relationship. Forever is a long freakin’ time! I don’t need to spend it with someone I can barely tolerate. I’ll say the one thing that every Arab parent dreads hearing their daughter say, “I LOVE BEING SINGLE SO FUCKIN’ MUCH!” That’s right! (Can someone please get the smelling salts for half the Arab mothers in the community who just passed out and some calming powder/pills for the fuming fathers!”) Does it get lonely? Yes! Do I sit around with my bff Haagen Dazs wondering when Mr. Right will come along? Yes! Do I get bitter at times and wish I could break the camera of singles who block me from getting on the escalader because they’re taking couple selfies? Yes! However, being alone is pretty freaking great! Spending time alone allows me to figure out who I am and what I really want out of life. Moreover, when I am alone, I am in terrific company, me.
I’ll admit that there was a time in my life when I was feeling pretty shitty about being single and maybe at that point, what this fan‘s mother said about me would have found me sitting in front of my mirror yelling, “WHYYYYY!” But not today! Today I look at my single ass and say, “You’re pretty fucking amazing!” You know why? Because, this community, this culture, our family, it takes a hell of a lot of courage to remain un-married at twenty-eight. Not least of all, we singles must deal with the excessive pressure put on us every single day by everyone from our family, to our married friends, and even your dentist who doesn’t only fill your cavities, but your head with his opinion of what happens to women who remain single past thirty! Apparently our eggs die. Completely! Empty! Gone! Caput! How he knows this? I have no idea and I don’t want to be engaged in that conversation with him by even asking.
My point is this: to all judgmental single ladies and married women who make us feel like shit every day about being alone–SINGLES ARE FABULOUS! In fact, all women, married and single are, as Allah intended them to be, FA-BU-LOUS and should be respected and revered for their femininity, their spirituality, and their devotion to their families. Yet we singles are outcaste as if there’s something wrong with us and I’m here to say THERE IS NOT!
You are part of an elite group who have said to everyone, “I am worthy of a guy who I love and who loves me. A man who won’t bore me after the honey moon, or imprison me with his blad (back home) belief that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, catering on him hand and foot, and producing offspring. Women too have needs and I, for one, need a man who appreciates and accepts me for the opinionated, rather talkative, career oriented woman that I am and I don’t give an overcooked shish kabob what you say. I’m going to wait for the man who makes me swoon to come along, a man who shows me that fairytale love isn’t only in Disney movies! Will it be easy? No! But I am strong enough to wait for what I deserve. So for you people who think the worst of me, don’t run from me because I’m single, run because I’m intrepid!