Welcome to No-men-ber!!
noun | No·men·ber | \ nō-ˈmen-bər , nə- \
1) : the month (during November) one dedicates to not giving a fuck about not having a man in one's life.
2) : The month in which an independent person gives themselves permission to enjoy being single and keeping it that way.
3) : The month a person (typically a woman or gay man) spends zero effort thinking about or vying for the approval of men.
Hi, I’m a 36yo SWF (per the established rules of dating, that’s my lede).
I have been single for pretty much my entire thirties - with a smattering of short-term ‘relationships’ here and there. For the most part, I like being single. I’ve become quite good at it. In a lot of ways, being single is now my relationship set point - it’s the comfort zone I protect in a shroud of shame. That’s because, for all my Destiny’s Child Independent Women bravado, I still constantly yearn for that relationship, that guy. You know, ‘the one’. And it annoys the shit out of me.
So for one month, and one month only, this man addict is going cold turkey. A 30-day detox where I give myself permission to not give a shit about the fact that I don’t currently have a man in my life. One month where I’m not going to do anything in an effort to fix that aspect of my life.
Ok, so why am I doing No-men-ber?
First of all, why the hell not? But more to the point, I've realized I spend WAY too much of my precious time & energy on men. Thinking about various men in my life, trying to attract new men into my life, trying to get over men who have passed their expiration date, not to mention that all-consuming, yet fruitless, past time of trying to actually understand men.
Frankly, it's exhausting at this point. I need a break. A self-imposed timeout. A sabbatical, if you will. A chance to remove myself from the established patterns of my life and focus on something - anything - else.
What the hell does ‘No-men-ber’ look like anyway?
In a nutshell, this month I'll be focusing on trying to be the best version of myself. Doing things that make me feel good and setting aside the energy-traps that tend to bring me down. For instance, I won't be casually scrolling through past and potentially future lovers’ Instagram feeds. I also won't be playing imaginary conversations out in my head, I won't be hesitating to commit to plans with friends on the off chance that some guy might call. I won’t be keeping my eye out for some tall, dark and handsome stranger whom I can fatefully place my fantasies on. I sure as hell won't be dreaming about the man I'm missing. I know all that for sure.
Ok, that last one is going to be a little tricky to control. But if there's a way to prevent myself from dreaming about men, I'll do it! I mean business!
Other than that, I honestly have no idea what this month will look like. And I'm SO ok with that. It's actually exciting to think about how freeing it'll be to not care about finding a relationship. I plan on spending more time with friends and family, dancing around my condo singing at the top of my lungs channelling my inner Tina Turner, hopefully discovering some new things about myself, setting a new record for time spent in a bubble bath, and probably becoming weirdly codependent with my 11-month nephew and telling him he's my boyfriend now - you know, totally normal stuff like that.
I’m going to work out. And not because I want to make sure I look good naked when my soulmate finally decides to get his act together and show up at my door unannounced. No, I’m going to work out because, super annoyingly, it something I can do that actually makes me feel better (Hey Netflix, call me when you figure out a way to make a 6-hour Stranger Things binge make me feel like I’m living my best life!).
I’m going to read. And not just self-help books that make me feel like I need to change everything about myself to even stand a chance of living a ‘meaningful’ life. Or ‘intellectual’ books so that I will seem interesting to a man on a date. But books that I actually want to read, books that either allow me to simply escape or ones that add some sort of intrinsic value to my life.
I’m going to try some new things, get out of my comfort zone a bit. What new things, you ask? I’m not sure yet, but I’m excited to let life lead me towards new experiences and plan on embracing them fully.
In case there are any haters reading this, let me explain to you what this is not.
I'm not a man-hater. If anything, I love men too much. I think men are wonderful. I love being around them. I love flirting with them. I love laughing and having a good time with them. I have many wonderful platonic relationships with men. I’m not giving those up this month, or ever.
Yes, I'm a fierce feminist. But this isn’t about me trying to claim some sense of power in the dating world or an effort to emasculate men. I won’t be dragging men as part of this experiment. I believe inherent gender differences add richness to relationships and make life more interesting. This is not me trying to replace men with some militant feminism. I’m not angry. I’m not feeling vengeful. In fact, still hope to be in a fulfilling, mutually respectful relationship with a man someday. I don’t intend on ruining the potential for that with this experiment.
Having said that -
This also isn't some thinly veiled attempt to attract a man through some twisted version of reverse psychology. I'm not doing this because I once heard someone on Oprah say that women will only find the right man when they stop looking for him. I have zero expectations that this is the month my Prince Charming will show up. And honestly, that would kind of piss me off. I don’t want to get derailed by some faux white knight sweeping me off my feet. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of No-men-ber?
Quite simply, I just want to prove to myself that my world doesn’t revolve around men and that I can be perfectly happy without their influence for a short time. I also have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll actually gain a new appreciation for men throughout the course of this month.
Alright, so that's what my November is going to look like. Read my weekly updates to see how this little experiment of mine plays out - for better or for worse!
For now, it’s time for me to go stock up on AAA batteries, dust off the old vibrator and get to work. Wish me luck!