Tuesday, April 14, 2009

When The Heavens Open Up and It Rains Mr. Amazings

I suffer from a particularly pugnacious form of optimism. If you’re my friend, I’ll try to make you love everything that you hate: Mondays (they’re a fresh start!), bad dates (who doesn’t want a front seat at a freakshow?) and black licorice (so unique!).

But there is one thing I will never, ever tell someone I love:

Once you stop looking, the perfect partner will fall into your life!

Oh, I hate that one. Kittens in heaven, I hate it. It’s a mean-spirited patronizing little cliché wrapped up in gauzy good intentions.

First off, it’s rarely true. When I stop looking, I tend to hibernate in plain sight with my girlfriends and swap out my bloodstream for Heineken. Or, if a man does crash-land into my life, he's married and has an unsettling tendency to email me dozens of times per day in logic-averse Princespeak.

Second, it implies that single people are chumps. We’re too stupid to assess potential partners on their merits. Instead, I suppose I ought to just fall on the ground, put my legs in the air, and see who stops by. The third customer is my special prince! It's all just random luck.

Third, it’s just so goddamn smug. “You’re doing it wrong. You have to be so totally happy being single, but kind of want a partner, but not really look for one, and then one will appear as if by magic and you can be happy like me and spend your weekends doing stuff like explaining to your husband that underpants ought to be replaced every now and then.”

Being single is so much better than being in a bad relationship (if you don’t know that one yet, learn it…NOW). I’m single and surrounded by amazing friends, and every day I'm absurdly grateful for the amount of love and support I have in my life. Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop looking, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean I’m going to leave such an important part of my life up to random chance.

When it comes down to it: most people would rather be in love. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying...if only to themselves.

In the comments, tell me what relationship cliché makes you want to punch things. Or, tell me that the moment I stop looking, the heavens shall open and it will begin to rain Mr. Amazings.

33 comments:

singlegirl said...

AMEN!

charlotteharris said...

And once you find that partner, the saying "Once you stop looking, the perfect partner will fall into your life" will be replaced with "once you stop trying so hard to have a baby you will get pregnant right away." Same expression, only tweaked to apply to the next phase.
I loathe people who use variations of "you don't really know love until you become a parent" - it is offensive. I do want to have a family, but what if I just never get pregnant, does that mean I will never ever know love? Ridiculous!!
Good post and good question!

squindia said...

THANK YOU! This is brilliant and so well articulated! I am so tired of hearing this line - over and over. The pity I get for being single is ridiculous, especially considering how happy I am.
My second least favorite (after 'stop looking and it will find you') is 'there is someone for everyone, you'll meet someone someday'. Why do people think this? It smacks of 'just settle for good enough so you can be coupled' ugh!

squid

HP said...

I have many. Up there at the top of the list is how helpless men seem to become once married. What, did these guys never do their own grocery shopping before their wives came along? Guys, wives are there to be your partners, not your mommies.

justjp said...

Hmm, this feels familiar. It tends to be those in a relationship that tell you you are not complete until in said relationship. But, these are the same people that come running to your for support when they fail.

Shannon said...

singlegirl: Word. Word up, dude.

charlotte: I think it's part of that bigger cliche - that marriage and parenthood confer wisdom. Not necessarily. If anything, marriage made me a dang fool, and nothing can bring on full-blown narcissism like babies.

Squindia - Welcome! There's a lid for every pot. Except for my dodecahedron-esque self, in which case, I oughta just pick a lid at random.

HP - Ooooh, that's a big peeve of mine as well. I love men, and I find the idea that they're THAT idiotic to be so very unsettling.

Shannon said...

justjp - Exactly. Relationships are not a one-way ticket to wisdom.

lacochran said...

You are so right. It's "this'll make you feel better about your wretched existence" condescension. Total bull.

Anonymous said...

Having recently gotten the sense to get out of an emotionally abusive relationship, I have a new favorite. Practically everyone I know has said "You're going to survive this. You're going to feel like you want to die for a long while, but you'll be ok."

I might be a little lonely but I've never really felt like my survival was in question here. If I seem to be feeling ok, please don't try to exaggerate my pain.

Shannon said...

Lacochran - THANK YOU! I'm not looking (or dating) at the moment, but that's because I'm far from my best self at the moment. I'm not pulling some sort of Zen snag-a-man philosophy.

Anonymous - Well, remember, it's always darkest before the dawn! Gah.

Malnurtured Snay said...

I actually comfort myself by saying "It's always darkest just before the dawn." Hurry the fuck up dawn!

Hell, hurry the fuck up Dawn!

Fiery Nuggets said...

I think the notion that "Mr. Right" exists at all is kind of a fallacy. If you're living your life right, you are constantly evolving, so no one will ever be a perfect match forever.

Shannon said...

Snay - There's light at the end of the tunnel, too. Unfortunately, I don't have any friends named Light or Tunnel who I can set you up with.

Fiery - Interesting point. I think it's possible for two people to evolve in compatible ways, though, more often than not they don't. That's what folks mean when they say they've grown apart.

Patty Duke said...

so, if I stop looking, a million dollars will fall into my life?

Shannon said...

Patty - Yes, but you'll be too busy kissing frogs to notice!

Just A Girl said...

Ugh I hate that too. My family is all about me getting married and procreating (which I'm still on the fence about anyway) and I'm like "really? How about we have this conversation when there's someone even remotely viable in my life." And then cue the cliche.

It got to the point where I was thinking about signing up for match.com or some such thing just to shut them up and I realized that I'm not that interested in dating right now anyway. Why put in all that extra work?

Malnurtured Snay said...

You must have a friend named Dawn, I'm sure.

Shannon said...

JAG - While I have gone to many lengths to shut people up, match.com isn't one of them.

Snay - Come to think of it, I don't! Most of my friends have much weirder names.

Brett said...

"Being single is so much better than being in a bad relationship (if you don’t know that one yet, learn it…NOW). "

AMEN!

Other cliche that is sorta-relationshippy: I have no desire to be pregnant. None. Yet my mom claims that "when you meet the right person, you'll want to have his children."
BARF

Jamie said...

Emotionally Unavailable: sleep with anyone, get close to no-one, no risk because you never get attached. Always single.

Emotionally Uncontrolled: fall in love with everyone, no risk because it doesn't matter who it is or who's next. Never single.

I think you need a balance of both protecting yourself while you get to know someone, but being willing to put it out there if it clicks, and being willing to walk away if it doesn't. Sometimes single.

Shannon said...

Brett - Personally, I think surrendering closet space is a way bigger step than loaning out your uterus. (Then again, I own A LOT of dresses.)

95% of the time, romantic advice is presumptuous* because the giver assumes the receiver sees the world in the exact same way that they do.

Jamie - I agree, and that's something to shoot for. Actually, that's part of the purpose of the current mancation - I openly admit to occasionally moving toward the second extreme (more because I'm a lousy judge of character). And, also, so I have lots of time to drink beer with HP.

*approximately 83% of the time, this site employs fake statistics.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

The one I hate is when you suffer some setback and people say "it's a learning experience" or "it builds character".

A serbian girl I dated, who lived through 4 wars, once replied to that character-building comment with "I don't think I needed THAT much character."

bh said...

I use the it builds character line on my kid.

My older child told me he doesn't want anymore character.

Shannon said...

Ninja - Ha! It's right up there with "be the bigger person." I find it very entertaining that people actually tell me that...or, rather, at 5'2" they tell the top of my head that.

bh - Personally, I'm all full up on character. (Next you'll have to start saying, "Yeah? Well, life's not fair.")

Zipcode said...

this post is awesome and so true. ever since i told everyone about my mancation they have all said oh he will fall in your lap. bullshit. i get so tired of hearing that as well.

i would have loved for that musician to have fallen into my lap the other night lol hahaha

Shannon said...

Zip - If he'd been drinking anything stronger than Yoo-hoos, I'm sure he would have fallen off the stage...and straight into your arms. I would have been happy to come up with a diversion while you dragged him off.

Zipcode said...

hahaha it did look like he was drinking yoohoos but he was uber yummy

Shannon said...

I know! And he played a song by the Clash! I mean, it wasn't "Death or Glory" but I'll take it.

Lemmonex said...

Yes, they don't fall in your lap. I mean some might fall in your vagina, but never your lap.

Shannon said...

Lem - And then get they back up, and fall back down, and get back up...

I hope everyone has stopped reading by now.

[F]oxymoron said...

Great post! When I get this... I usually mumble something along the lines...

"Show me, don't tell me."

Shannon said...

Foxy - We ought to make shirts that say, "Bite Me, I'm Single."

Zandria said...

I love this, and you're absolutely right -- when people say that "you'll find the right one once you start looking," it does, indeed, seem patronizing. Screw that!