Let me just start by saying this is not and is not meant to be some feminist manifesto. Like everything else I write, it is simply random rantings that are spinning around my mind that I express via this platform (I should probably start a different blog for my random thoughts… but I can’t be bothered.)
After four years of self-imposed singledom, I’m back into the relationship world. In those four years I’ve dated a few guys, but no one serious and never for long. But for two months now I’ve had a boyfriend, the anxiety normally associated with that word is rapidly diminishing. For those of you that know me, you’ll know even two months is a feat… Here’s to eight weeks and counting.
So, a few observations of being back to relationship life have come to light: relationships, like singlehood, have their own set of worries and dramas. When you’re single it’s, ” Why can’t I get a date?” and in a relationship it’s, “When are we going to fit in our weekly date night?” There’s pros and cons to both, but waking up with someone that looks at you first thing in the morning and tells you you’re beautiful is a pretty good bonus to relationship life.
Another observation (and this isn’t just relationship oriented): What’s with women expecting these grand gestures? We’re a species that has been around for thousands of years and I guarantee one thing that has not changed in the course of all of that evolution is the fact that men are simple. If you coyly mention that you want to go to some event and expect the guy to not only pick up on that coy hint but also then go the steps to secure that you attend said event you’re insane. Let me reiterate: men are simple! If you want to go to an event you have to explicitly say, “Babe, I want to go to ____.” And then you’ll probably have to remind him to get tickets, and then also remind him of the date the week before, and the day before and finally the day of. Moral of the story- If you want to go, buy the tickets yourself and go have a ball.
But seriously, what’s with women expecting some grand gesture? Because it’s programmed into us! Everyone has a friend that has this amazing boyfriend/ husband that randomly (and regularly) turns up with flowers or remembers her birthday without needing the slightest reminder, but those men are uncommon. Think of them as four-leaf clovers; they exist but you’re much more likely to walk through a patch of three-leaf clovers and if you finally see a four-leaf clover it’s because some other woman has already picked it and is waving it in your face. Bitch! Sorry, back on point, it is programmed into us to think normal, healthy relationships are this cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all thing. They aren’t! But from the time we’re little we’re taught to dream of Prince Charming and that our biggest accomplishment should be marrying some amazing guy and popping out nine babies (nine might seem excessive but I grew up around Mormons).
I consider myself an independent, free thinking, I-don’t-need-a-man-to-take-care-of-me woman and even I find myself falling prey to this thought process. It’s reiterated in every grown up fairy tale (chick flick/ Rom-Com) we watch. There should be a disclaimer before every movie saying, “THIS IS NOT BASED ON A TRUE STORY. IT’S FAKE, FICTION, A DREAM ON SCREEN…” But alas, the credits roll and we all fantasize about Matthew McConaughey or Dermot Mulroney and forget all about the “fiction” part of the story no matter how improbable.
One of my go to, could watch 500 times movies is “The Wedding Date.” In it Debra Messing plays a woman who is so afraid to go to her sister’s wedding single (I should add the best man is her ex-fiancee) but nonetheless so afraid she pays an escort (played by Dermot Mulroney) thousands of dollars to fly to the UK and accompany her to her sister’s nuptials pretending to be her boyfriend. I’ll admit, we’ve probably all thought of doing this for one event or another, but who actually does?! And for thousands of dollars no less?!
*Spoiler alert* The story unfolds as most Rom-Coms do and there is a big fight between Messing and Mulroney and Mulroney goes to leave the UK. Only to be stopped by Messing’s father who undoubtedly give him some talk with Yoda-like powers and Mulroney realizes he can’t leave. Mulroney then runs back to Messing where they both proclaim their love for one another (queue “I’m in love with a stripper”). Now that seems like a ridiculous scenario, but I guarantee every girl that has seen that movie has fantasized about Dermot Mulroney running down a grassy knoll screaming how much he loves her.
The solution? I’m not proposing we take away fairy tales or stop making Rom-Coms; I’m simply proposing we stop perpetuating them like some grandiose reality that we should all aspire to. Remember the four-leaf clover analogy? Teach ourselves that while being in love can add to happiness and add good aspects to your life, it should not make your happiness or be what your life revolves around. Call me a cynic, closed-off and guarded (I’ll own it, I’m all of those) but I also believe that before you can have a happy relationship you have to be happy with yourself. Even if the relationship works for a while, eventually your unhappiness will creep back up and create issues.
So, stop expecting the grand gestures, make your own! Be happy with you and everything else will fall in place.