This post is dedicated to all my single ladies.
Because Beyonce doesn’t really get you. She’s married and birthed her first child – a daughter named Blue – this weekend! But I…I get you,…NO REALLY, I GET YOU.
In fact, I get more emails from my single lady readers commiserating about dating, relationships and the difficulty of finding suitable men in this crazy world than any other topic on this blog, including food. I concur that it’s because we all love healthy, nourishing and sometimes-bad-for-us food…but at the end of the day, our love for food is often something we would like to share with someone special who thinks we’re kinda special too.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First things first: dating can suck…like bad. It can be awkward – you can go to the botanical gardens on a first date and come out with an afro the size of Russia. It can be depressing – you may find out you like his roommate better than him (in my defense, she loved vegetarian cooking and storing dry grains in Ball Jars). It can be really messy – the guy you like may ruin it all by licking your face off in attempt to sweetly kiss you goodnight.
This is all assuming you find someone to go out on a date with in the first place though! These days, I am finding even scoring telephone digits is no easy feat (unless you look like a scrub).
Exchanging numbers…waiting for the call…wondering if you should call…getting a text message instead…debating how to best respond back (cheeky yet appropriate)…setting up the date…deciding what to wear…going out on the date…the awkward car goodbye…these are just the easy basics! And if you do get that far, dating can be a lot of fun.
But that’s assuming you make it that far. When you don’t find someone who floats your boat or rings your bell (metaphorically speaking), avoid people who tell you the following:
(1) “Sweetie…it will happen when it’s supposed to happen.” The most likely culprit of this statement will probably be your mother. She means well but hearing this doesn’t help. It only makes us more impatient.
(2) “Your 20-year-old sister will be married by the time you finally get a first date!” Watch out for crazy extended family on this one – think outspoken grandpas, grandmas, uncles and drunken aunts. They also tend to make these offensive statements on holidays. Consider yourself warned.
(3) “I was talking to (insert name of boyfriend here), and he thinks you are awesome. Someday, some lucky guy will too.” This one belongs to a well-meaning friend who is usually happily in the throws of love. It’s sweet…but really annoying.
(4) “You don’t need no man, girl! You are better off without one.” While this one screams of some serious 1990s girl power, your friend who’s bitterly broken up with her boyfriend or married sister are missing the point. Of course we don’t need a boyfriend! We want one…a good one…and preferably one who doesn’t smoke, wears underwear and doesn’t still wear his childhood pair of Green Bay Packers Zubaz pants.
Whatever happens, don’t get bitter or cynical or bitchy. People pick up on those vibes even if you don’t realize it. Get fancy…maybe a little dancey…and have some fun! Make some mistakes. Be adventurous. Don’t be too picky. Give nice guys a chance. Date a lot of men. It will help you realize what you DO want. Be yourself. Whatever you are that day. If it’s awkward and saying awkward things, just go with it. If he likes you, he’ll secretly like your awkwardness and ask you out again. Don’t settle for anything less.
Most importantly, BE OKAY WITH BEING SINGLE. Because it is okay! I’m single…you’re single…a lot of people are single. You get to do whatever you want, whenever you want, and you’ll miss that when you do find someone.
If at the end of the day, you have just yourself right now…then treat yourself right, mmmkay? Take really good care of the physical, the mental and the spiritual so you are totally the best version of yourself for whenever the right guy does come along.
And in my opinion, vegetables and a hefty sprinkle of cheese seems like an appropriate start.
Butternut Squash, Fig + Feta Salad with Balsamic Reduction
Inspired by my dinner at Ottolenghi in London, England
1 medium butternut squash, peeled + cubed
2 T canola oil
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup dried Black Mission figs, quartered
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 c cilantro, julienned
salt + pepper, to taste
pumpkin seeds, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On a baking sheet, toss together squash, oil, salt + pepper. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan over very low heat, pour in balsamic vinegar and let simmer until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. This should take about an hour.
In a medium bowl, gently mix squash, figs, feta + cilantro. Season with salt + pepper. To serve, divide into four portions, scoop onto a plate and top with 1 – 2 T of balsamic reduction and sprinkle of pumpkin seeds on each plate. Enjoy!
Makes 4 servings
P.S. Don’t worry Mom – yes, I am taking my own advice.