June 7, 2007
Point is, I can do two things at once and do them both well. But not everyone thinks so. Last week, my friends and I were downing Thai at Red Corner Asia when my married buddy Marc asked, "Carin, why do you think you're waiting to get married?"
"Top answer on the board? Can't marry myself."
"Well, that. But I thought of you today," he said. "I read that a lot of women now spend their 20s focused on their career, not on dating. Then they wake up one day to find themselves successful, but alone. It's a tragedy."
A tragedy? Come on, "Othello" is a tragedy. My social life? A comedy. Well, maybe more like a one-hour dramedy. Like "Ugly Betty" or "Desperate Housewives" or "Ally McBeal" -- except not ugly. Or desperate. Or stick skinny. You're picturing my tight curves now, aren't you? Pretty hot, huh? Well stop dreaming and keep reading.
I'm an accomplished exec. I worked hard to get here. I work hard for the money. But work never gets in the way of dating, and dating never gets in the way of work.
Yet suddenly, this working girl feels defensive. If I just happened to still be single, it's a matter of bad luck, bad timing or bad boys. I'm not to blame. It's just how life goes on for me. But if I'm still single 'cuz I focused on my job, then it's my own fault I'm hauling around that "Miss" before my name.
According to Marc, I could be married by now, if only I'd been a huge failure.
Why, oh why, couldn't I be a huge failure? Why did I have to be born witty and smart? Graduate Phi Beta Kappa? Earn my VP stripes? Why did I have to be confident, competent and driven? If only I'd remained entry level, I could be happily hitched by now.
Maybe Marc's right. Maybe I should switch up my focus, take time off of work to concentrate on dating. That's the ticket. I'll walk into HR and ask to take my maternity leave early. What? Equal rights -- why should some women get a three-month leave and not others? Instead of spending three months playing with a new baby, I'll spend three months looking for a new man. Miss Hathaway, hold my calls. I won't be in today, I'm going on a bachelor hunt.
C'mon. My work never stopped me from working it. If anything, men find my success sexy. They like a woman who can pay for her own meal -- and kiss like no other. So it's not that I've been waiting to get married; I've been waiting for my prince to come. And waiting. And waiting. Still waiting....
Actually, why I am still waiting? Why hasn't a hot chick like me been swept up? Where are all my sweepers and suitors? And since when do I wait for anything? I'm a skip -to-the-front-of-the-velvet-rope kinda girl.
Maybe there is some truth to Marc's statement. After all, we are the girl-power generation. We were told we could do anything, achieve everything, and be all that we can be. Where our moms had a wedding and kids right after college, we all got an apartment and a career. We were in no rush to get married. Now I've got an office and an assistant, but not a husband and a house. I didn't intentionally avoid wearing the white dress while I cracked the glass ceiling. I know all work and no play makes me a dull Jew. I've dated a lot; I just haven't closed the deal. I guess I always figured marriage would just kinda happen.
Sure, sometimes I worry that all the good ones have been taken. But I'm not taken, and I'm a good one. I'm a Tony the Tiger grrrreat one. Someone will be lucky to have me. So it's more a matter of meeting my mensch.
Perhaps I should approach dating like I approach my job. Be a firecracker, be proactive, go after what I want. Start recruiting some fresh candidates, move meeting men to the top of my agenda. It's nice to be successful; it would be nicer to celebrate that success with someone. To me, being married means being partners. It means supporting each other's careers. It means sharing the joy of a new job, sharing the letdown of a layoff and sharing most of my new raise.
Life doesn't have to be an either/or. I can have it all. I can do two things at once.
I can get engaged and get promoted. I can rule in the boardroom and the bedroom. I can take on a relationship and rock my power suit.
Or accept your rock and take off your power suit -- which sounds like a lot more fun.
Carin Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org