Damaged goods

I'm 23 years old. I have been single my whole life.

When my father was 23 years old, he's been in a relationship with my mother for six, maybe seven years. Actually, when he was 23, he was already married to my mother. I was already a year old by then.

Apparently there's this idea that people my age should already be in a relationship, or at least have already been in one. There are books about so-called tweens grappling with their feelings. There are songs about first loves in high school (and whether it's about love or lust is a different topic altogether). There's an episode of Glee about high school students dealing with their first sexual experiences, totally deflated by the fact that Lea Michele is 25 and Cory Monteith is pushing 30. And there's the current season of Pinoy Big Brother. The less said about that, the better.

Oh, no, I'm not going on a tangent about kids nowadays being immoral and such. I'm not in a mood to pontificate or anything, especially since I am not in a position to do so. I'm just thinking along the lines of, "it all seems like a natural thing."

It all seems like a natural thing.

When you're in your teens, your hormones are in overdrive, and your feelings for certain people take on a different dimension. I remember having crushes in elementary school and really, the only thought in my head is, "I want to spend a lot of time with her." (The high point of the story of my "long lost love" that Reg mentioned in an old Friendster testimonial - the one I can't stop talking about - revolved around an eight-word note I got from the girl in question. "Sige, friends na tayo! Take care na lang!" I thought I forgot those eight words.) But you hit puberty and suddenly there's some bumping and grinding involved. I'll admit, I had a hard time reconciling both definitions, more so when you get couples casually talking about blowjobs. (I'm serious.)

Sex aside, though - I apologize for the tangent - high school's the time when you start making a move on. You have feelings. Now act on them! Of course, not everybody gets the chance to do just that: they're not gifted with fortitude or pleasing aesthetics, or they can't see the value of romance, or they decided they have better things to do. And so, time passes by, people get out of high school, people get out of college, and people grow old, and they're left behind, one way or another.

I am pontificating, I know.

So here I am. I'm 23. I've been single all my life. I have not made a move, mostly because I decide against it, and partly because there's just no way in hell me doing it would be acceptable to anyone. Next thing I know I'm 30, still single, still not getting any - damaged goods - and I've long conceded that I'll never be not single, I'll never get any, and I'll never be (or have) anything else that goes with it. Be a career person, be there for your nephews if any, you get the idea.

Thankfully I'm not alone. I guess many of us have gotten frustrated with the bullshit that comes with romance - all that crap about perfect guys and grand gestures and chivalry - and have decided that there are more important things to deal with than romance. I have met people who have remained single. They are definitely older than me. And they turned out to be very interesting people, perhaps because they're not keeping their most compelling observations for their significant other. You know romance. It's a life sentence in a flimsily-guarded maximum security prison.

But, typically, it's us who still get the short straw.

There's a negative connotation that comes with being old and still single. I don't know why, exactly. We can't get out of our comfort zones? We're completely awkward when it comes to social situations? We're complete wusses? I don't know. I just know there's a particular weight to being called a matandang binata. Like, you've wasted your life on pursuing other things, never mind if it's a cure for cancer, because you're still spending the rest of your life alone.

And then, in the off chance someone finds you interesting - interesting enough to be considered for the "rest of my life" list, or something like it - they'll back off. Sure, you're probably cute, and you're definitely stable, but you're 35 and you're still single. You must be gay. Or a career woman, if you're a woman, but I'm speaking as a man who no longer trusts women with reciprocating our good gestures - and yes, they still exist - so to hell with them.

And your responses...

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