Dear single, straight male friends:
I've thought about this for quite some time, so it's not like I've come to some flippant decision based on a single incident. You haven't done anything wrong, per se, but I feel like our relationships (yes - this is directed to all of you, not just one) just aren't serving me anymore.
Now, some of you might be thinking "But, we're just friends! Why the relationship-like drama?" To you men I can only say this: we're in our thirties now. Some of you are in your forties. And, while I appreciate the many great things about you that make our friendship work, I can't deal with your delusions anymore. As a 35-year old, single, straight woman, I'm tired of you - the ones with no furniture in your dorm-room like apartments, shitty jobs, social lives that reek of juveniles - drone on and on about that 25-year old you're hot for. I'm tired - so tired - of your comments that women your own age "just won't do," for reasons that range from "they're just too complicated," to "they're not fertile enough."
Let me remind you that those women you speak of are me. Your friend. And, every slam you make about women "your age" is a slam against me. I'm sick of it. I, and my well-decorated home, professional life, and adult activities are sick of it. Every time you bitch to me about "complicated women over 30" you're telling me men my age don't appreciate wisdom gained from experience, experience earned from love gained and lost, and love that has - more than once - been so real, it's left scars that still haven't healed. When you say "complicated," what you're really saying is "the experiences you've had the courage to open yourself up to are a strike against you." Not exactly the sentiment you want to translate to the woman sitting across from you at the cocktail table whose ear you're bending to get some sympathy.
When you say "I need someone fertile," you're telling me - yes ME - that my only value as a woman is to provide men like you children. That's my only worth. Again, not a slick move if you want me to pay for that martini drowning your sorrows.
I, of course, realize that these things speak more about your own issues, and I know my worth doesn't rest solely on my uterus and my lack of "complications." But, your constant complaining (and, yes - it is constant) is like a jackhammer that is trying to beat into me the societal expectations I've been struggling with since puberty. You're supposed to be my friend. I don't need the reminder that a 40-year old average dude with no college education, whose never been in a serious relationship and doesn't own two matching dinner plates, has more social value than an average, well-educated, successful 35-year old woman whose loved and lost. I get that reminder daily. As my friend, you're not supposed to add insult to injury.
Now, to those of you who got here because, at one point, it was something more than friendship but it didn't work out because there was always something better around the bend (for you, I mean), I say this: you're really not doing it for me, either.
Sure, the flirtations / make-out sessions / more than make-out sessions / quasi-relationships were fun for me at one time, but the older we get, the more I realize that I'm nothing more than your drinking buddy, surrogate intellectual partner, or worst of all - your back-up plan for when you've tried everything else.
To the men who count me as a drinking pal: while shooting the shit at bars is fun, I'm too old to stay up past 10 o'clock on a week night downing beers. The body doesn't recoup like it used to - from both the drinking and / or what happens after the drinking if we're both feeling amorous. This dynamic is not serving either of us well, and let's be honest - you can get away with the beer gut easier than I can. I'm just done with that part of my life. I hope you understand.
To the men who use me as an intellectual surrogate: I know what you're doing. I'm smart, remember? And, while I'm sympathetic that Ambur / Michelle / Sarah (or, whatever her name is) can't talk about politics beyond remembering who the president is, or discuss literature and music and art beyond remembering essays she hated writing in high school, Taylor Swift, and field trips to museums - remember that at one point I fell for you. I liked you. I wanted YOU. And, you put me on the friend's list. And, from that list I get to watch as you chase after every waiste in size 4 skinny jeans. It's not that I don't like our conversations - it's just that that's all I get. I used to be OK with that. But, you've cancelled on me more than once when something better came along. You've gone after my skinnier, prettier friends.
I learned a long time ago that I wasn't the kind of girl who would reel men in with her looks. This is not news to me. And, I've grown to accept that. But, when you cancel - when you date my friends - you might as well be dropping that headline on my doorstep every morning.
I know you value my brains. But, I value the whole me. So, talk to Ambur / Michelle / Sarah from now on. I need to spend my energy on friends who appreciate the whole me. And, you need to stop piece-mealing your attention.
To the men who think I'm a back-up plan: I know we've shared some pretty intense emotions in the past. I know that you feel comfortable being vulnerable around me because I won't judge your superficial faults. But, no matter how comforting it is to know that I'll be there for you - know that the comfort is yours alone. It frustrates me beyond measure that you're waiting for something better. I can't explain in words how insulting that is. It feels like *uuuuuuuugh iiiiiiiick aaaaaaaack*
If you couldn't see how awesome I was when we met, you don't deserve how awesome I am now.
That all said, I wish you all the best. I wish you all find love, or lust, or partnership, or whatever it is you're looking for.
And, if you ever need someone to be there for you and listen to your concerns and emotionally vent to - get a shrink. Or, a dog. They're cheaper.
Your former confidant / drinking buddy / intellectual sparring partner / back-up plan Carrie
P.S. Buy some matching plates. For Christ's sake.