When I went to a Beyoncé concert last summer, I did as instructed when Bey asked all the independent women to throw their hands up at her. “Yeah!” I yelled, waving my arms along with 20,000 other (mostly) women to the popular power anthem, while Bey crooned on about buying her own shoes, rocks and watches. I felt gratified. I felt sassy. I felt single — and proud to be so.
I also felt like a fraud.
Because even though I’ve put in the hours to make my freelance career a well-oiled machine, there are times when I’ve caught myself thinking not-so-independently: Sometimes, when my morale — or bank account balance — drops, I do That Thing Modern Women Aren’t Supposed To Do: I fantasize about living on Easy Street with a partner who’d support me financially, changing my title from professional writer to professional gold digger, and trading in my MacBook for a chaise lounge with an ocean view.
These thoughts have bubbled up when I cruise Craigslist for apartment rentals and have to physically remove my jaw from the floor after viewing the asking price for a basic one bedroom in a not-particularly-posh neighborhood in New York. Or when I have to dilute the amount I spend on bridal and baby shower gifts because there’s no plus-one to kick in his share of registry expenses. Sick with the flu? I’ll have some soup, thank you, which I’ll meekly accept from a delivery driver, the hem of my bathrobe dragging on the floor as I retreat back to bed and curse the empty other half.
Or (and this is when the confessional stuff gets really real) I’m on a date with a wealthy guy, and I catch myself acting a certain way. Well-behaved, you might say. Pleasant. Especially if the date happens after a string of bad ones. It’s not that I don’t like to give each prospective partner equal-opportunity treatment, but when I found out a few months ago that a guy I met at a party had not one, but two cars — and a boat — I found myself flashing a smile when the conversation dulled and dutifully accepted a second date for dinner even when gut instinct told me there wasn’t anything more between us than a fleeting attraction.