When Did I Stop Prioritising Finding A Partner?

“Let’s do something next week?” he asked me at the end of the date and when I said yes, I meant it. But when he texted me the following Monday to find out when I was free, we quickly hit an impasse.

“I’m around Thursday?” I told him. “I can’t Thursday, but I’m about Friday?” he answered. Then I said, “Friday I can’t, but Sunday?” And so we kept spinning until we realized: I was busy when he was free.

A few days later I called my mother. I told her about my planning difficulties, and she sighed in a way that let me know she thought my priorities were misplaced. “In my day, people would do just about anything to go on a date,” she said, then paused for a moment, realizing she was annoying me. “But back then, people weren’t that social. In the 70’s pubs closed at 10:30pm. People would have a few after-work drinks and then go home.”

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It’s weird to think about – the fact that people used to say, “I’ll come for a drink” and actually mean it. Things are so different now; Our priorities have shifted. Of course, we’re still being forced into the notion that love is the goal in life, alongside buying a house, kids, a flat stomach and a Dyson Airwrap. At parties, family members will come up and rub your arm and say, “We need to find you a nice man.” But I don’t think many of us still believe that’s the answer. What feels like a million books – including my own – now ends with the idea that the main love story is actually the one you share with your friends, rather than a romantic partner. Or as Charlotte proposes to the other girls in it Sex and the City: “Maybe we could be soul mates? And then we men could just be these great nice guys to have fun with.” Our careers are more important to us than ever. And when we’re not working, there’s this pressure to make the most of every minute of our social lives—especially those of us who live in cities. As I scroll through Time Out, I often feel guilty for not doing everything. Why didn’t I make it into the exhibition with the room full of tennis balls? How soon can I get a table in the Spanish and Japanese tapas restaurant? Getting married and moving to a nice suburb might have once been seen as “winning,” but it doesn’t feel like it anymore. The good life is where you are free.

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I definitely am. I was out with a friend last week and he asked what I had done the night before and I told him about the restaurant I had dinner at, the book launch I went to afterwards and the gig at where I ended the evening. He pulled out his phone and showed me a viral TikTok of this trendy guy in a crop top named Codey James talking through his weekend. “I rode my bike to East Village to Mud for brunch with my co-workers, they have a really cool open space, was decently busy so I rode to Maiden Lane on Avenue B which might be one of my favorite spots , and then launched En route to Bushwick for my friend Zetia’s pop-up, the vibe was 10/10. Later Ali and I went to Jeff’s house party and then he took us to the Playhouse in the West Village…” It goes on and on through more brunches, friends, tattoos, product launches, barbecues. The top comment is, “I’m exhausted just looking at this.”

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