Saturday, February 13, 2016

Some (More) V-Day Thoughts

So ... happy Valentine's Day?

Look, I'm one of those annoyingly happy single people. Generally speaking, I don't get too worked up over holidays, including the one day of the year dedicated to sappy couples and husbands who forgot till the day before. In fact, I found a way to look forward to Valentine's Day as a single human: I get myself a present every year. It's a great excuse, and I have impeccable taste.

That being said, there are always moments. This year, with my 32nd birthday looming (seriously, how did that happen?) I gave some consideration to online dating. I may be quite happy single, but I also lack a standard social life or the general means to get out and meet people. It's a weird catch and makes something internet-based much more attractive and logical.

Note: It hasn't happened yet. It might. But not yet.

You see, a week-ish ago I was reminded of one of the audiobooks I had languishing on my phone, lonely and quiet. I acquired Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg some time ago, read by Aziz himself. I must not have paid much attention to the first fifteen minutes I'd allegedly heard because this time I was hooked almost immediately. The book offers stories and analysis of how relationships -- and specifically how meeting people -- has changed over the last century and how we have made things both easier and infinitely more complicated with societal changes and our abundant technology.

After all, there is now less reason to get married than in the past. While many people use to marry because it made life easier and they wanted to perpetuate the species, we largely now marry because we want to. We get into those relationships because we find other people attractive and we like the things we can do in pairs. We stay in those relationships because that's what we want out of life, whether or not the second income is necessary or we want help raising kids. The social pressures aren't completely gone, but there are few people out there that consider me an unapproachable spinster just because I'm single and over 30. (Granted, if they do they wouldn't talk to me so I don't really know that...)

In the meantime, we now have so many choices in front of us, so many faces that we can swipe through and so many profiles from anywhere in the world, we have a hard time accepting someone who offers contentment. Instead, we're looking for -- and I'm quoting Aziz to the best of my ability here -- the BEST!! [Exclamation points necessary.] We can find someone that makes us happy ... but why stop there? Can't it be even better than that? We've made that quest much more complicated and we've made our own decision-making more difficult. Is that a bad thing, if in the end it works?

Well, no. But it sounds like torture.

Which is perhaps why I can't bring myself to sign up just yet. I've heard enough frustration in recent history -- one friend even closed out all her profiles after a couple fruitless years -- that it's hard to seriously consider. While it can be worth it, it seems like I'd be trading a lot of work for a new level of self-doubt, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

For now, I'll enjoy my [silly] holiday with this year's purchase (a fantastic new dress) and a splurge on discounted chocolate Monday. (And by working all weekend -- note previous comment about my nonstandard social life.) Single is just fine, as it turns out.

Let the good times roll.

[All the same, I have the strange urge to find someone to whom I can send a jerkygram. Seriously, where were these things when I last had a boyfriend on V-Day? I hated trying to find a male-appropriate gift. I may need a volunteer for next year, the only catch being that I reeeeeally want to send it to your work address.]

[Also, for people into such things, check out this series of TED Talks about love.]

1 comment:

Andi said...

I've met a couple of people who married from online dating. Their advice was to consider it as a way to meet people, not a way to find "the one!"