"Hearts are broken more easily than cycles." - Jamal St. John
Every once in a blue moon, I take some flak for being a seduction coach and yet being single. I've heard everything from outright condemnations such as, "If you're so good at relationships, why aren't you in one?" to subtler, probably well-intentioned inquiries such as, "So, are you seeing anyone lately?" I accept this as part of the price for doing work that I love, and indeed, as a semi-public figure, notably one who loudly claims to live and die by her practices, I believe people have a right to ask me questions. (I also have the right to not answer them, or at least to answer them in ways that still retain my privacy.)
There are a few pat but truthful answers to this particular question. One is that I tend not to publicize my involvements, since casting my semi-public spotlight onto an unwitting partner might result in a breach of trust and also scare off future potential partners who find that kind of attention to be a liability (both of which would be highly unseductive conclusions), so while I may appear single to the outside world, chances are I probably have a few things subtly brewing under the surface at any given time. Another reductive answer is that I am far more benefited by being single because it allows me to freely seduce anyone I want. This is also true, and most of you who are familiar with my work know my tenebrous feelings about monogamous limitations being placed upon me. (If you don't, feel free to read my recent two-part analysis on the subject here and here.) Or if I'm really feeling lazy, it's, "Well, I've been traveling a lot, and there's a lot of stuff with the book going on, and also finding funding and representation for my screenplay, and getting the proposal for the next book sent out, and recording my album and putting my band together, and... Hey, did I mention I'm doing a book talk on Monday? You should come." I am, by the way, doing a book talk on Monday. 7pm at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. You should come too.
And I should be sure to mention that "Because I goddamn well want to" is a decent reason for any relationship status. Follow your dopamine.
But yeah, the truth is, I desire the presence of a romantic partner in my life. It's a desire that I've only recently been comfortable vocalizing, since there's always that irritating logic of "Well, you're a seduction coach, why don't you have one?" It's a totally valid want that a lot of us get shamed into thinking is weak or desperate, or, god forbid, unfeminist, but which is really no unholier than the desire for one's dream career, or for health, or for a vacation to Hawaii, or for dessert before dinner. We were programmed to further the species. Anyone who tells you that love shouldn't be a priority for you is pushing some flawed moral agenda likely borne out of those awful books that try to tell you how to get a man by not wanting one.
And for me in particular, being "okay by myself" is a more complex issue than for most. Yeah, of course I'm okay by myself. I'm more okay than most people I know, judging by the number of asses I've had to save over the course of my adult life. One friend of mine commented on my self-sufficiency just by pointing to my shoe collection. (It is pretty awesome, not gonna lie.) I am emotionally and financially self-sustaining, and I have no desire for a partner to complete me or somehow validate me into existence.
But given that my calling is creating peak romantic experience, I sometimes feel that without a partner, I'm kind of benchwarming, in a sense; that I'm a virtuoso pianist recovering from a broken hand, or a musician who's gone deaf, or one of those furniture dudes in Beauty & the Beast before Belle arrives at the castle, because I am not availed of a context in which my greatest skill set can be put to use. When I first start dating someone, and even throughout, I feel like I'm firing on all cylinders, like I've got a hard drive that's capable of running all my programs. And granted, I don't need a conventional relationship for this. I have had sexually and emotionally rich romantic experiences with partners who could best be described as fuckbuddies. The parameters of the relationship don't matter nearly as much as the degree to which my partner inspires me.
And in the past I have definitely been guilty of glossing over the vetting process of a potential partner (you can read all about those clusterfucks in theory here) because when someone inspires attraction in me, it feels so awesome to be running my game that I jump in before properly assessing whether this person is actually going to be a non-detriment to my mental health. And also because as a seduction coach, I clearly possess the magical powers to make anything work, despite the fact that a.) nobody is obligated to love you just because you did everything right, and b.) even if someone does love you, it doesn't guarantee that they're going to treat you well.
I've justified this behavior by saying, "Hey, I'm in my 20s, I don't want to settle down just yet, it's totally cool for me to go around dating these tattooed trainwrecks because I'm just having fun." And I do believe that, because I believe in my right to follow my dopamine. But then it leaves me feeling empty and I have no one to blame but myself. (Myself and my stupid exes. I totally blame them too.)
I have a male friend who's incredibly attractive, intelligent, and successful, whom I've only ever seen date women who were really pretty but really dumb. Some mutual friends and I were discussing how strange his tastes seemed, and while we were all befuddled, I was particularly indignant. "If you ask me," I ranted, "I think on some subconscious level he is deliberately choosing partners who don't match his intelligence because they are incapable of fully understanding him, and that's his way of avoiding emotional intimacy!" And no sooner did the words leave my mouth than I realized HOLY SHIT I AM TOTALLY TALKING ABOUT MYSELF.
One of my mentors asked me not too long ago if I would date me. "Yeah, I would totally date me," I replied. "I'm awesome." She then asked me to list the qualities in myself that I would find appealing as a romantic partner. "I would appreciate how much effort I put into myself and into the relationship," I pondered. "I would appreciate my ability to create excitement and adventure, my ability to communicate and problem-solve, my desire to make a relationship work around the individual needs of each person, my flexible nature and lack of desire to create conflict, and my ability to be affectionate and have fun. And I would really appreciate that I would probably be the only person I'd ever met who liked sex with as much frequency and intensity as I do. And finally I would appreciate how far I go to be the kind of person I would be proud to be with." And then all of a sudden it dawned on me how few of my past partners have shown the same appreciation for me that I apparently would for myself. Don't get me wrong, I've had a lot of people want to date me because they thought it would make them look cool, but that's not at all the same thing, even if it's kind of a weird compliment in its own right.
Someone tonight, after the initial are-you-seeing-anyone question, asked me affably, "But you're getting laid, right?" And I was like, "You know, I have offers out there, and people I know I could call, and some I'm considering, but I'm just not feeling terribly inspired by anyone in immediate reach lately." The man I was talking to, a well-known voice in the sex-positive field, replied, "Hey, I fully believe in everyone's right to be as slutty as they want, but the corollary to that is that everyone also has the right to NOT be slutty. You should only be as slutty as you feel like at any given time."
Sex and desire are not mutually inclusive for me, and sex without a requisite amount of desire ends up feeling pointless and icky. I'm at a point now where I won't have sex with someone unless I can no longer stand to not rip their clothes off right then and there. But even when desire is present, there's that trap of pairbonding to someone who's really not right for you (read all about that here), and running down a rabbit hole of anxiety and misery because all of a sudden you're in a relationship with someone who just doesn't treat you well. Which is probably because they don't appreciate you. Which is probably because they aren't capable of understanding you.
So yeah, you can choose any reason you want to justify why you're a single seductress, or you can choose to have no reason at all. But if you are like me in that you choose to commit to a lifestyle of seduction, and if your relationship status is ever called into question, don't ever let anyone make you feel bad for your choices.
Because it is far better to be available to the right person than it is to be in a relationship with the wrong one.