“How do I not have a boyfriend?” she thought to herself rhetorically, with just a touch of irony. Looking at the women who she was expected to share her life stories with for the evening, she knew exactly why. These women were dressed to the nines, and knew it, because that’s the standard they upheld themselves to every day. Their lipstick was perfectly red, applied, and worn with a confidence that dared strangers to talk to them. Their hair was perfectly teased and curled, to provide a volume that is only naturally found after sex. Their outfits were perfectly coordinated, down to their matching nail polish, to accentuate their beautiful curves and physical features that they were justly proud of. They were gorgeous women, and well aware of their blessings.
The beauty routine came naturally to them, while it felt like an awkward school play when placed in her hands. The unabashed stripping of their clothes, to be replaced by one of three pre-coordinated outfits that they had brought along, occurred without a second thought or any inkling of shame. Then came the lively debate as to which outfit really accentuated their best assets, using only the most complimentary back-handed compliments to help raise self-esteem and yet knock it down all in one sentence. They paced back and forth in front of the single mirror in the room, fighting to see their reflection clearly, not trusting the double-edged words of others. When they were satisfied that their asses were tucked in all the right places and their tits fluffed to maximum capacity, they moved on to the artful painting of their faces. First came the harsh evaluation of their natural canvas, met with critiques and creams to even out the natural discrepancies that are woven into humans’ skin. After their face had become the same even tone that was sold to them in a bottle of concealer, they began to paint on the powder that would make their eyes both wider and more innocent, yet seductive and intriguing all at the same time. Layer after layer was applied in a methodical manner, slowly evolving their eyes into a masterpiece of optical illusions. With a surgical application of mascara to their already long lashes, they each took a step back in admiration and critique, and threw themselves a wink of satisfaction for yet another job of assembly well done. With a confidence that radiated from them, they stepped into their four-inch heels and glided around the room in well-practiced model walk. These women had taken what was shared with them in all the beauty and self-help magazines, and made it their ceremonial ritual for facing the world. The process of primping was their warm up for the actual game that was to be played with the boys at bars. With their uniforms donned, they huddled in a group cheer for a shot of vodka to rally the war cries of the team. She could almost imagine them chanting, “Who’s a sexy bitch?!”, “I am!”; “Who’s going to catch a man tonight?!”, “I am!”; “Who is the baddest bitch at the bar?!”, “I am!”.
Turning back to the question at hand, she had her answer – she had joined all the wrong kind of teams. While she was learning how to sew an outfit, they were busy learning how to assemble one in the finest department stores. While she was learning how to bake pastries and artisan bread, they were learning how to dial the number for the best caterer in town. And while she was learning how to speak German, they were learning how to speak the language of men. She had dedicated her life thus far to education and the pursuit of additional life skills, while they had learned to rely upon their ability to secure a husband in order to create a stable and secure future. She had been looking at things wrong the entire time. She had taken the wrong classes, paid attention to the wrong subjects, and was now years behind her peers in her studies. She wondered if she would ever catch up to the rest of her class, or if she was on track to be an unattached super-senior for the rest of her life.
How did she not have a boyfriend? – To answer her rhetorical question, it was because she wasn’t looking for one.