By JORDAN ECARMA
I never really thought I’d find myself saying, “Wow, Rihanna and I are completely in the same boat.”
Until last week, when I read her Vanity Fair interview and learned that one of the world’s biggest, most glamorous, most gorgeous pop stars is … lonely.
Rihanna of “Pon de Replay” and “Bitch Better Have My Money” and that badass “Good Girl Gone Bad” cover is single and struggling to find a man—because she’s not going to settle for anyone less than the right one.
From the Vanity Fair interview:
“I always see the best in people,” she says. “I hope for the best, and I always look for that little bit of good, that potential, and I wait for it to blossom. You want them to feel good being a man, but now men are afraid to be men. They think being a real man is actually being a pussy, that if you take a chair out for a lady, or you’re nice or even affectionate to your girl in front of your boys, you’re less of a man. It’s so sick. They won’t be a gentleman because that makes them appear soft. That’s what we’re dealing with now, a hundred percent, and girls are settling for that, but I won’t. I will wait forever if I have to … but that’s O.K. You have to be screwed over enough times to know, but now I’m hoping for more than these guys can actually give.
“That’s why I haven’t been having sex or even really seeing anybody,” she says, “because I don’t want to wake up the next day feeling guilty. I mean I get horny, I’m human, I’m a woman, I want to have sex. But what am I going to do—just find the first random cute dude that I think is going to be a great ride for the night and then tomorrow I wake up feeling empty and hollow? He has a great story and I’m like … what am I doing? I can’t do it to myself. I cannot. It has a little bit to do with fame and a lot to do with the woman that I am. And that saves me.”
Is she lonely? “It is lonely,” she says, “but I have so much work to do that I get distracted. I don’t have time to be lonely. And I get fearful of relationships because I feel guilty about wanting someone to be completely faithful and loyal, when I can’t even give them 10 percent of the attention that they need. It’s just the reality of my time, my life, my schedule.”
Same, Rihanna. SAME.
Women who like commitment-free sex would disagree; if that’s you, feel free to disregard the rest of this article.
But Rihanna’s thoughtful remarks hit home for me. Even in a world where women are supposed to be free and empowered, we’re still too often terrified to demand what we want.
My generation has become spoiled with consequence-free choices: We download music for free, stream TV for free (whether it’s a questionably legal download or our parents’ Netflix password), read our news for free. It’s hard to get us to pay for anything, as publishers are learning a little too late.
We also crave variety, whether it’s our penchant for job-hopping or our love of places like Chipotle that let us customize our food.
When it comes to dating, the choice-driven mindset that made Chipotle a success also applies. We are the first generation to approach dating like a shopping spree through apps like Tinder. Whether you're a picky swipe right-er or one of those "I'll swipe right on everyone and see who responds" guys (I promise you that only men do this), it's all about intimacy on demand.
With the caveat that I am about to make a sweeping generalization for the sake of the point … in my experience, millennial guys want women who provide options without consequences. Continuing with the Chipotle analogy: Men want to be able to pick and choose what they like without having to commit long-term. And if they don’t like what’s offered, well, they know they can eat somewhere else.
I don’t want to be an option, and I think a lot of other female millennials will agree with me. Those of us who are done with kissing frogs will tell you it’s exhausting and boring and the opposite of empowering.
Just like Rihanna, we’re on the lookout for this someday:
“A very extraordinary gentleman, with a lot of patience, will come along when I least expect it. And I don’t want it right now. I can’t really be everything for someone. This is my reality right now.” So one day, I say, someone will come in on a white horse … “No,” she says, laughing. “Not on a white horse. Probably on a black motorcycle.”
Here’s a special message to women: If a loving, committed relationship is what you want, don’t settle for anything less.
Rihanna sure isn’t.
Jordan Ecarma is a former journalist now living the millennial dream: getting paid for writing Facebook statuses (that is, digital PR). She watches her use of the f-word ("feminism") around conservatives and the c-word ("conservatism") around feminists. Find her under @JordanEcarma.