THE ROMANCE OF THIS DECADE MAKES ME WANT TO PUNCH MYSELF IN THE THROAT.
A.k.a every sane person’s thoughts post another riveting episode of the Bachelorette. Yes, JoJo “omg he’s just so PASSIONATE” Fletcher, I’m looking at you. (If you somehow happen to be reading this, JoJo, is Robby wearing a bump-it? America is dying to know.)
I’ll spare you the typical, “why oh WHY couldn’t I have been born in a different decade?” rants that I’m sure you expected me to write. However, I’d be dishonest if I said I don’t feel that way whatsoever, because I do. When George Bailey tells Mary he’ll swing a lasso around the moon for her in It’s a Wonderful Life, I melt every time.
These days, we’re lucky to get a 6-second response to our snapchat selfies.
In his book, Modern Romance, comedian Aziz Ansari makes the hair-raising point that in past decades, people were generally less picky about who they wanted to spend their lives with, have children with, and—essentially-- die with. They simply had one job back then: procreate. If you found love through securing your baby-making mate and multitude of able-bodied children, that was simply an added bonus.
I— rather hungrily— read Ansari’s novel cover-to-cover after a particularly rowdy weekend trip to New York City. As impeccable as it was, I couldn’t help but feel a bit discouraged by some of the statistics he mentioned. Sprawled in the Delta terminal, bearing half a dozen nightclub stamps and several, mysterious bruises, I was positively baffled.
“Statistically speaking,” one section read. “Women living in cities don’t land a husband until age 30” (paraphrased by moi, but the basic point remains). I’d nearly gagged. Seeing as though I planned on moving to the city post-grad, that left approximately eight years for myself as a city girl to somehow secure my Mr. Right. Even a stylish woman with perky boobs like Carrie Bradshaw couldn’t manage such a feat. EIGHT MORE YEARS of kissing the wrong guys, enduring excruciating dates and crying over idiotic text messages. Is it possible to be exhausted by something that hasn’t yet begun?
Even now in my trials and tribulations of male encounters, I can confidently say that I’ve been around the block a few times. Date after date, hook-up after hook-up, I’m left fairly satisfied, but not really. Clearly, I’ve missed some sort of memo. All Mary had to do to win George’s heart in Its a Wonderful Life was EXIST, and fall dramatically into a swimming pool.
WHAT THE ACTUAL F***.
What am I doing wrong?
The truth is: absolutely nothing. Like my man Aziz said in his book, people are more picky these days. They’re not simply looking for their perfect ‘mate,’ they're looking for their perfect MATCH; that one person that makes their insides melt like M&Ms in the sun and give them that ‘home’ sensation.
Let’s be real. When we say we’re “sick of modern dating,” what we really mean is: we’re sick of waiting for the right person. Mr. Right is simply taking his sweet, sweet time to show face in our lives. And, the reason why the ‘waiting game’ never seemed to exist in earlier decades, is *ding, ding, ding* because for the most part, it didn’t. In our current technological age when everything can be attained at the click of a button— and a room without Wifi is the equivalent of a prison cell— we’ve gotten so accustomed to instant satisfaction. I’ll admit I’m immensely guilty of this. If a website page doesn’t load in less than ten seconds I throw a mental fit and consider setting fire to my Mac.
Heaven forbid we send a “hey” text, awaiting that three-dot-bubble-of-death, and more than twenty minutes pass. If he waits over a few hours, sound the alarm. We might as well change our names and move to a different zip code by that point. However, if we were to approach a guy in person and say “hey,” a reply that took more than twenty minutes would be enough to generate a certain level of concern for the guy’s well-being instead of his romantic interest. Odd to think about it that way, right?
At this very moment, my future husband is out there somewhere, most likely in his underwear eating a sandwich. He could, by some small stroke of luck, be considering what it will be like to know me someday. But more realistically, he’s probably thinking about something else. And that’s okay.
It’s okay to feel anxious about love. In truth, its the current, digital age that has been the driving force of a lot of the anxiety that we all seem to feel. The worst possible thing that we can do is blame ourselves for what we consider to be a deadly case of ‘single-ness.’
It’s alright to reflect fondly on the love stories of past decades, but we must remember that comparison is deadly. To put it simply: times are different now. Love doesn’t work entirely in the same way that it used to. But, that doesn’t mean that it isn't capable of being totally magical once we finally experience it for ourselves. We must triumph over our anxieties and put them to rest.
Friends, I believe that there IS hope for us.
Someday, I’ll look back on this blog post in an entirely different decade, alongside my future husband (who will probably still be eating a sandwich), and laugh at how ‘cynical’ I’d been.
“Oh 2016 Katy, you have no idea what you’re in for…”