06/13/2012 01:00 pm ET Updated Aug 13, 2012

How to Tell Your Mom That You're Still Single

Hey, Mom. I know that lately you've been concerned that I don't have a boyfriend. And that I'm seemingly OK with it. And that, therefore, I may never give you grandchildren. And you're right: the mere fact that I'm not married/engaged/in a serious relationship indicates that there is something deeply wrong with me, possibly pathological, definitely egregious, and I must figure it out now or live the rest of my life alone, like the expired cheese puff you found between the couch cushions: old and sad and utterly revolting.

But the thing that you want so desperately for me -- to get married and then half-get divorced -- is a lot more complicated nowadays. Being single used to be simple: you were either engaged to be married, or you were 12. But today, singlehood requires a lot more patience. And like everyone else, I have to go through the Five Stages of Being Single before I can truly find "the one."

  • Stage 1. Joy: The first stage of "single and loving it" is played out amidst the dim lighting of bars and clubs, where girls wear uncomfortably high heels and guys wear satin shirts, and we all laugh and dance and do shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots! Until there is a pregnancy scare.
  • Stage 2. Depression: Then, one day, we're on the couch, with our sweatpants tucked into our athletic socks, gorging on a single-serve pint of ice cream, when all of a sudden we realize: "Oh my God, I'm alone... Like, for real alone. Like, why doesn't anyone love me? What's wrong with me??...Where is my copy of The Notebook???" And then we cry for an embarrassingly long period of time.
  • Stage 3. Defiance: But instead of descending into sad-sack spinsterhood, we pick ourselves up. We start doing crazy things, like going hiking. We learn to crochet a sweater and to play racquetball and to host a brunch. We soon realize that we can take care of ourselves. We don't need anyone. Everyone sucks. (Maybe we'll get a cat.)
  • Stage 4. Desperation: But then we start receiving those dreaded 'Save the Dates' from all our friends. And then, that one friend who we thought we'd beat, the one who no one thought would ever get married, the crazy, shameless, once-ice-luged-six-goldfish-and-puked-in-the-bathtub girl, that friend sends out her wedding invitation. And so the new refrain is: "I'll take anyone! Thanks to my ticking biological clock, I have no standards anymore! Look at me, any warm body!"
  • Stage 5. Settling: We meet someone. They seem nice. And so we say, "OK. You'll do, pig. You'll do."

So, do you get it now, Mom? Some people fly through these stages and end up happily ball-and-chained before 25. But not me. I'm on a slow crawl. And right now, I'm firmly entrenched in Stage 3: active defiance against the entire idea of romance. I don't need a man right now. I'm perfectly happy with where I am. And I don't even own a cat.

I know you're worried, but you have to be patient. Maybe one day I'll meet a nice guy who can deliver your blessed grandchildren (because, of course, he'll be a doctor too). But you don't want to push me too fast and drive me into the arms of some incredibly-fertile, economically-unstable miscreant with whom I'll have a really stupid, really ugly, four-legged heathen baby, so let's just take a deep breath and remember that I'm still young and don't need to be tied down right now, OK?

And yes, I know that writing this was a huge waste of time that I could've spent on finding a boyfriend but it's also possible that there is someone out there who, upon reading this, will say, "She's the one!" and decide to find me, hunt down my address online, secretly stalk me to learn my likes and dislikes, and then, armed with that information, sweep me off my feet so that we can live happily ever after for the rest of our days.

... Fine, I'm in Stage 4.