He has a point. Texting has really dumbed down our social interactions.
I’m just a little flabbergasted. Apparently we need to brand single people now so you know they’re single (like how you totally know someone is unavailable if they wear a ring their left ring finger).
There are two major problems I see with this concept:
(1) Despite Facebook’s insistence that you’re either are, were or wish to be married, there’s actually a lot more nuance to relationship statuses, even if you’re single. I mean, heck, at the moment I’m “single but seeing someone,” what color wristband would that be?
(2) It’s downright degrading!
Jezebel’s coverage of the issue is actually pretty thorough, and I appreciate the seething sarcasm. They certainly cover the problem of nuance, “seven colors cannot possibly contain the multitudes of relationship statuses within singleness.” True story.
Perhaps the creation of these isn’t as insidious as I suspect… Creator Rob says: ‘Whilst working at my previous office of 3,500 people, I realised that I saw hundreds of people each day that could potentially be a suitable partner, yet there was no way of knowing their relationship status.’ Then again, maybe it is.
Really, Rob? NO WAY of knowing? So it’s safe to assume you cut out your tongue to win a bet and that’s why you can’t simply TALK to people to find out what their deal is? REALLY? I mean, it’s not even hard nowadays: you can talk, text, skype, chat, tweet, post, like, etc. etc. The ways we communicate keep expanding, but you need a special colored wristband to know who’s single so, HEAVEN FORBID, you don’t accidentally have a conversation with someone who’s romantically unavailable but may, nevertheless, make a great friend? I call shenanigans.
I really do find this degrading. Maybe that seems a little out of proportion. Granted, it’s hardly the same as the pink triangle, and it’s still a form of branding. Branding a person to reduce them to a single characteristic and separate them accordingly.
Not only is it degrading because it reduces me to my status as “single” and nothing else, but it also springboards off the assumption that there’s simply no way I would willingly choose to be single.
“The new MY Single Band bracelet aims to take some of the complication out of looking for love, enabling singletons to easily spot each other.”
Clearly, I am a “singleton” against my will, but thanks to this nifty colored wristbands (that happen to look exactly like the colored wristbands people wear for causes or those “shag bands” kids were into for a minute) will solve all my problems! All I need to do is find someone wearing the right color wristband– no need to waste time talking or getting to know people!
Sinceriously– it’s degrading. And they absolutely reinforce the idea of there being ONE TRUE LOVE out there, waiting for you with baited breath. “The silicone wristbands are embossed with the words fate, destiny and future.” I think I might gag. If “fate” and “destiny” were REALLY at play here, then why would you need a stupid silicone wristband to find each other???
This idea does vaguely remind me of a quirky film I saw on Netflix called “TiMER.” The concept is that science knows who your soulmate is and you can get a timer installed in your wrist which will tell you when you’re going to meet them! It’s an interesting idea, and despite my general cynicism I actually adored this movie. Why? I thought it did a fabulous job of challenging the traditional narrative about how you’re supposed to fall in love and raises some interesting questions. In a world where you can know who your soulmate is, does dating have a purpose? What if you meet someone you like, but know they’re not your soulmate per the timer? What if you meet someone you like and they don’t HAVE a timer? Ultimately, the point I took home is that there isn’t a right way to love. There’s just love.
So, in response to disgusting wristbands: No thanks, I’d rather continue having meaningful conversations and getting to know people without being focused on their relationship status. Cool?
Thanks to prolonged peer pressure from some of my coworkers, I finally caved in and watched Orange is the New Black, which I highly recommend. For those who are unfamiliar, the show is based on the memoir of Piper Kerman about her time in a women’s prison. The show itself is rife with prison and lesbian drama and while I certainly wouldn’t call it a comedy, it has it’s lighter moments.
Towards the end of season one, Piper asks her on-again-off-again lover what exactly the “end game” of their relationship is. That is, are they going to move to Vermont and have a baby, or will they hop around the globe from one fabulous party to another, free-falling through life? These are but two lesbian stereotypes in an ocean of possibility, of course, but the point is clear: Most of us date because we’re in search of a particular end game. And, for many of us, that looks like monogamous marriage with kids and, yes, a white picket fence.
I’m not knocking marriage or monogamy, but I don’t know what the rush is to get to the end of the game. I mean, the world we live in is such that many people live into their 80s, 90s and beyond– so why the rush to pop out a kid by 25? Why the need to plan your wedding when you’re not even engaged? Why the insistence on labeling a relationship (and the associated expectations) so quickly? What ever happened to living in the moment?
I reconnected with someone a few weeks ago who’s company I’ve been thoroughly enjoying. I guess it would be fair to say we’ve been enjoying each other. It’s rare, at least in my experience, to find someone you’re just comfortable being with– where silences are just silences without the awkward, where looking at one another is endlessly engaging, where you’re free to be yourself, whatever that looks like. But that’s how it’s been with us. We sincerely like each other, we enjoy spending time together, and beyond that their are no expectations.
I think it’s kind of perfect, actually. I love adding interesting and passionate people to my life, so why not do so without worrying about labels? Why not enjoy the company of those around you without concerning yourself with where you’ll all be in ten years? Not everyone sees it that way, though.
One of my closest friends is getting married next Spring, and unlike me she’s all about the wedding planning. But she’s also all about monogamous marriage and sincerely doesn’t seem to understand that I am not worried about the long-term right now. My last relationship was all about the long-term, empty promises and sweet nothings. I don’t want any more of that… but the idea that maybe I changed my mind, that maybe I was wrong about what I wanted (a long-term committed relationship, for example) and just want to have fun in the NOW is very foreign to my soon-to-be-bride friend.
To use an analogy, our conversations feel like this lately:
Me: Oh wow! Look at this delicious cake! I’m so going to eat this cake!
Friend: NO! Don’t eat the cake! You might get diabetes in 10 years!
Me: Yeah, but, I want cake right now and right now I don’t have diabetes.
Friend: But you have to plan for your future!
Me: … *shoves cake in her mouth*
I know she’s concerned that I might get hurt (that’s a risk you take when you put your heart in anything, I’m prepared for the consequences), and that she’s concerned because she cares about me but… it almost feels like concern trolling. Even worse, it feels like she’s condescending to me. I tell her about how happy I am and she says things like, “That’s so nice” as though what I’m doing is some kind of quaint placeholder until I wise up and go on a husband (wife?) hunt.
But what I’ve realized is that I don’t need to hunt– I don’t need another person to complete me or make my life work, and my life is full of dear friends who love me very much. While sometimes it’s hard to separate the peer pressure (thanks, Facebook) from my actual wants and desires, I’m finally starting to accept that maybe I don’t want what most people seem to want, and maybe there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. After all, I have a lot of love to give, who says I need to give it all in the same place?
I came across this comment on an article recently and it really resonated with me: “As mentioned above, I’m older. I do NOT want to get married or have kids. The best relationships that I’ve ever had consisted of sex and dinner a few times a week, peppered with intense conversations and some social outings as a couple. I’m fairly self-sufficient, and don’t really WANT someone who is too deeply ingrained in my daily routine. I’ve been accused of everything from being a heartless bitch to a total evil slutsicle for articulating this.”
Well, I’m “younger” by many standards, but otherwise I feel very similar. I don’t want to get married, and while I do want kids someday, that’s something I’m really not going to start thinking about for at least 5 more years. I love having my own place and I don’t want to move in with anyone or infuse myself into their daily routine. But I do want fun and great sex and intense conversations with someone with whom I share a sincere connection… yeah, I guess that does make us sluts, Internet Sister. At least by the standards of the penis-barers. (This is one of many reasons why I only sleep with feminists, no joke.)
Suddenly, English is failing me yet again. How does one even refer to the types of connections I’m talking about? The rhetoric we have surrounding dating and relationships reinforces the idea that the end game is, should and shall always be marriage, kids, house, dog, fence, etc. If you’re “dating,” it’s for the hope that you’ll turn out to be great life partners and decide to get married. I could effectively say I’m dating right now, since I’m going out on dates and having fun, but my end goal isn’t a long-term relationship and that’s the expectation with “dating.” It’s a kind of courtship, at least it’s assumed to be. So how do I say I’m non-exclusively dating and not looking for a spouse? What a mouthful. No wonder I’m a quirkyalone.
My friend says, “I’m just concerned that there is potential for you to fall madly in love with someone who won’t give you everything you want in life.” and I can’t help but laugh out loud. Is this a common sentiment– that we’re supposed to get “everything we want in life” from ONE person– one person who isn’t even ourselves? It’s just so ludicrous, I have to laugh. If I’ve learned anything from my last relationship, it’s that making yourself happy is crucial and it’s nobody else’s responsibility but your own. When we depend solely on others to make us happy or “give us what we want,” we’re not only setting ourselves up for failure, we’re being outright unfair. I don’t know any psychics so I’ve always found it good practice to ask for the things you want or need from others, rather than waiting for them to figure it out and pout passively in the meantime. But I’m single and unmarried– what could I possible know about relationships?
I wonder if this is what Peter Parker feels like when he goes home to MJ and finally takes off his mask.
After a sincere, year-long attempt at a relationship, I’m actually pleased to be returning to single life. Breakups always suck, and this one is hardly an exception, but singledom feels so natural to me– truly being the master of my own life, my schedule, my activities and, perhaps most importantly, with whom I spend my time.
I’ve never understood how some of my friends could hop quickly from one relationship to the next with barely any time in between to find themselves again. I always find myself needing more alone time than usual after a breakup, time I often refer to as “recalibration.” It’s not only that you need to figure out who you are independent of the relationship, but you need to figure out who you are after the relationship. Every relationship we have, no matter how short, changes us. Some teach us what not to do, some inspire us, but either way we are changed, even if in only subtle ways.
I’ve learned a lot of what not to do this time around, but I also feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself, and that, being the “free spirit” I am, maybe the standard courtship mold doesn’t work for me. After all, I really love living on my own, I don’t know that I want to move in with someone else, get married and start a family. Maybe down the road, but right now I want to just meet interesting people and have great connections. I don’t need a marriage end game, even though it’s a lot less illegal for me now. (Bye, bye DOMA!)
Anyhow, it’s good to be back. I’ve missed blogging a lot, and I felt so out of place not being my single self, even though it was nice to feel a little bit “normal” for a hot minute. And I can’t forget the love I’ve shared, even though things were hardly perfect most of the time. I try to hold on to the good and let the rest fall away, but it takes time.
Cheers to Single Life!
I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, Jade, where’s the bitter Valentine’s Day post?” After all, what else do us singles do on V-Day beside grumble? Truth be told, I was earnestly trying to ignore Singles Awareness Day this year. And I thought I was going to get away with it, too! But then the sun came up. I rolled out of bed, got myself to work and had the misfortune of witnessing this encounter:
Coworker1: “Hey, why aren’t you wearing red today?”
Coworker2: “Oooh, I don’t have a Valentine. I’m a rejected Valentine!”
CW1: “What?? Noooo, we love you!! We all love you!!”
CW2: “No, no, it’s OK, you don’t have to cheer me up.”
This was around the time I vomited all over everyone and promptly put a stop to the conversation. No? OK, that didn’t happen, but I wish it had! Because all this Valentine’s self-pity makes me nauseous.
Listen, I agree that V-Day mostly blows. It glorifies couples (heterosexual couples, in particular) and shames single people into hiding. It’s a dumb holiday created for profit– and as such greeting card companies, chocolate makers, florists and restaurants alike rejoice. But if you do not own one of these establishments and you’re single, Valentine’s Day probably sucks. Because it’s not just about “celebrating Love,” that I could get behind! No, it’s about flaunting your coupled privilege if you have it. (Which is pretty rich considering how we constantly talk about gay people “flaunting” their relationships with hand-holding .. Can you imagine what hell would break loose if we behaved like straight couples do on V-Day? Kissing– in public?! Why I NEVER!)
I’m sure there are plenty of couples out there who celebrate V-Day quietly. And for every one of them, there are pairs that have to have the BIGGEST Teddy Bear, the MOST flowers, the FANCIEST dinner and overall the most adoration poured over themselves. In high school, I remember the popular girls would compete over who got the most flowers/gifts/admirers on Valentine’s Day. Sadly, life after high school isn’t much different in this respect, except some of us have figured out how trivial it all is. So you’re pretty and someone brought you flowers. BIG DEAL. What have you done to contribute to society besides look pretty? No, seriously. Looking pretty isn’t in and of itself something commendable, yet there is nothing we commend more (in women in particular). No wonder this holiday has turned into a kind of pissing contest. It’s all about being superior!
And the whole thing just makes me sad. It seems like if you’re not busy feeling superior to the singles, then you’re busy throwing yourself a pity party. JEEZEUS, Stop! Seriously, stop competing with one another for the titles of Most and Least Loved of the Year. Can’t we just Love? Can’t we just be grateful for the people in our lives who Love us and those whom we Love? Can’t we just see this as an opportunity to remind them that we care?
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can.
Let’s be transparent about it: I’m wary of relationships. Anyone who’s been alive more then 3 years probably is. After all, people hurt each other. And, as my best friend says, “A big front has a big back.” In the case relationships or love, the more you invest and the more pleasure you get from the whole experience, the greater devastation you’re risking yourself should it come to an end.
So, the person who’s toasting to his “forever love of forever” has been dating this gal for about 18 months. Year and a half… forever, same difference, right? It’s why we let 18-month-old’s drive cars. But the string of responses just amused the hell out of me. The first couple of responses are folks chiming in with their own relationship fodder–anything to talk about ourselves, right? But then my kindred spirits come out of the woodwork, and I’m comforted by the few folks gagging and making “Your Mom” jokes to combat the 40+ likes this post already got.
Oh well. I hope this friend isn’t disappointed down the road of whatever is to become of his “forever love of forever.” But I’m going to do my best to focus on what’s right here, right now. I have to let my Love fuel me. Whether I’ve convinced myself it’s the mystical “forever love” or any of the other, equally as worthy forms of showing Love towards another person, I’ve got to give all I can now and not worry about who I’ll have to Love later.