This open letter originally appeared on Medium.
Dear ladies of this particular ancestral shield, who refuse to allow me to live out my days as a bachelor of poise and equanimity:
Ah, my wonderfully charming kinswomen! There are simply not enough holidays in the year for us to gather together and celebrate the richness of life. It is always such a merry occasion to be in your presence, as you all have such a fiery zest for existence. And now, I am straight-up begging you to let me die alone.
Please be open to the idea that I may want to live, and very well exit this world, riding a spiritual motorcycle without a spiritual sidecar.
You see, after years of enduring the same narrow dialogue, my mind, my spirit, and indeed my body have weakened. Tell me about your job, your hobbies, your anything; hell, unburden yourself of all your opinions about your damnable commute and those marital troubles that have ventured well beyond mild suspicion!
For I can no longer endure such exchanges:
“You should get a girlfriend.”
“There are actually a few friendlywomen in my life right now.”
“Why don’t you want a relationship?”
“Just rarely my thing.”
“But it’d be so nice.”
“Not for me… or them, eventually.”
“You know, someone special.”
“Hello? Are these ears on?”
“…a teammate of sorts…”
“The hell is happening? Is this purgatory? HELLO?”
“…who we’d meet…”
“HEY I BLEW UP THE MOON AND NOW THE GOVERNMENT IS ASSASSINATING THE LOCAL CATS I USED TO PAY PROTECTION TO AS A WARNING.”
Then, as if a gaggle of wedding dresses were drunk in wherever the brain’s equivalent of the garage is — I have no idea, biology was an 8 a.m. class when I was 19 and I was half-Popov back then — some dart is unceremoniously hucked with an arm spin leftover from college softball, and in comes some reference to my life so obscure that it actually perplexes me, the only geek who’d be able to catch it.
“Hey, what about that church friend’s niece who wore that slimming mauve number to Grandpa’s funeral 15 years ago, the one you discussed community service with — each of you with a wildlydifferent reference point on the matter — for roughly six minutes at the reception?”
WHO, I DARE ASK. WHO ARE WE TALKING ABOUT. AM I HAVING A STROKE WHILE ALSO TAKING THE LSAT. WHAT IS THIS LINE OF QUESTIONING. IS THIS HOW THEY GET CONFESSIONS.
“Or whatever happened to that childhood neighbor of yours who set the treehouse on fire because she saw The Craft too young?”
LADY, THIS ISN’T TRUE DETECTIVE. I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HER EITHER. DO YOU WANT ME AT THE LIBRARY SNOOPING AROUND ON A MICROFILM READER? YOU KNOW, SHE ALSO SAW THE GAME TOO YOUNG AND WOULDN’T STOP RANTING ABOUT REALITY BEING A SUPREMELY ORGANIZED, ALL-ENCOMPASSING CONSPIRACY PLOT AGAINST HER WHEN ALL I WANTED TO TALK ABOUT WAS THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES.
That gal moved away, anyway — and with her went my copy and thus any pivotal period-appropriate understanding of The Outsiders — and I assume she is now very happy with a live-in consort she met on Wiccan Twitter.
As for me, all that’s left is a sad, pathetic life where I do exactly what I want all the time, and which ends in a eulogy I assume to be akin to this: “He died alone, even though I told him not to and now we’ll probably just bury him in the backyard like that goldfish he killed.”
[For the record, the murder at tiny sea was an accident. It was Thanksgiving and I thought, hey, I’m eating more than I should today, so should Aurum! Alas, the road to Hell saw the addition of at least one paving stone that day.]
Following that brief funeral oration — the deliverer of which will likely be determined by drawing reusable straws from my millennial straw collection — you will head to the two-plot tombstone I imagine you’ve all chipped in to purchase just so I could eternally rest beside a coffin full of pharmacy valentines under the chiseled namesake, “Unfulfilled” — a grave that henceforth, in that weird final drunken hour of Christmas, would be sardonically referred to as the Tomb of the Unknown Lover.
On the fateful day of my single-ticket departure, I figure the small talk that’d populate the cemetery, as stilettos till the first and final plot of land I’ll ever call my own, would include gems like, “Can you believe he never proposed to that coworker he mentioned in passing one Easter?”
If I were to actually marry, I’d have to hire a choir to drown out all the pats on the back, cushioned by whisper-yells of, “You know, I was the one who suggested he get married someday somewhere to someone at some point. Am I a matchmaker? Maybe. A saint? You know, who’s to say?”
Meanwhile, I’ll be at the altar thinking of all the times 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 was barked at me like some witch’s curse. In my vows, I’ll likely hold back tears as I inform my extremely-soon-to-be-wife, “You saved me from a life of sexual exploration and potential deviancy that I would’ve found thrilling, but this is good, too.”
This has gone on for so long that, if I were to bring around another “girlfriend,” eyes would roll black and open mouths would ominously emit some ancient song that only the wind could translate. Lest we forget the last time I brought a ladyfriend to a family wedding! She named every military coup the United States government has backed in Latin America and suddenly my family took the most diligent interest in my office job.
Anyway, all this to say, I can’t make Thanksgiving. Some gal I’m seeing invited me to hers and it sounds like a vacation.
Your dearest spinsir,