[this is dedicated to all the single, ornery, hard to please millennials like me with impossible standards.]
this may not be live television between the hours of 8 and 11pm, but it’s prime time to continue the open dialogue about socially influenced romance behaviors. hope you brought your sunglasses because we’re talking everything under the sun. relationships, attraction, hot or not, and the illustrious singledom. are ya ready kids? (if you didn’t just say “aye, aye captain” then you’re probably not in the target audience demographic. regardless. welcome.)
hello singledom, my old friend: with a new twist. less socially acceptable bc i’m an adult i guess.
much akin to the classy vino we drink on wine wednesdays (ie franzia in a box), we too, can only get better with age. but alas. you are nearing the ripe age of 23 years. and you graduated college. and you don’t have your squad to drink with on a school night (despite your 8am class the next day. priorities am i right). and your squad members found love in a hopeless place and moved in together. and you’re aggressively single. and you’re a one man wolf pack. and screw it. wine wednesday is every day. if this sounds familiar, then we’re both experiencing this crucially formative time in our lives where i guess we’re technically adults and have to pay for rent while work “real” jobs but in reality we feel like tom hanks in big and are naively, blindly pretending we know what the hell is going on.
narrator: but they did not, in fact, know what the hell was going on.
hello. here i am. glaringly single for about 23 years now. i’d probably be okay with it. but we do live in america. and society will always instigate self-consciousness and intrinsic, shameful self-loathing for not reaching its impossible, antiquated standards for (among many things) (but namely): romance. everyone i know or grew up with is will smith-ing it out there i guess because they all gettin’ hitched. we all see the facebook life updates. we all agree it’s crazy. for everyone who didn’t make it into a blockbuster film co-starring kevin james, you’re inevitably asked the dreaded question. “so you’re still single, huh.”
yes. i’m still single. uh-huh. ya wanna know why? because i’m an ornery, hard to please millennial with impossible standards. (as i wrote that sentence i realized i didn’t know if i was joking or not).
imagine you’re standing in an art museum because i’m going to paint a picture for you. but not of you. you’re not one of my french girls. consider this an “open letter” to all the women (or men. or humans. whoever you are.) like me, and y’know basically everything i just said leading up to this, and it’s for anyone who’s never been in a real relationship &/or incredulously wonders how many more times they’ll be asked “so. still single huh.” before they’ll finally not still. be. single.
so hey. we’re still new to this adulting thing and we don’t have to have ourselves completely figured out yet. maybe you’re still single because you’re like me. an ornery, hard to please millennial. which means: you’re not alone. and it’s okay. i stand before you to validate your lonely soul.
laws of attraction: sans pierce brosnan & i wrote my own laws, bitches.
albeit my laws of attraction are likely strikingly contradictory to society’s popular opinions, they are equally as probable to be the reason behind my imminent singledom. ya wanna know why? (obviously i’m gonna tell ya). my rather divergent, apathetic attitude towards perceived romantic interest is summed up in 2 broad, hypothetical scenarios.
law #1. imagine you’re at some dive bar with your friend. a guy from across the room keeps trying to catch your eye and finally comes up and asks if he can buy you a drink, you sexy thang. i mean, you agree because you’re not one to pass up a free drink. he sits down and arrogantly makes a vaguely sexist comment. after listening to him drone on for a while about himself, you realize the only thing he’s asked you is your name & if you want a drink. how chivalrous, right. he reiterates how attractive he finds you and asks for your number. but honestly he doesn’t know shit about you. why does he even want your number.
it’s because it always starts with the thing i hate most. it starts with flirting. not “hey you seem rad let’s get to know each other.” but “ur hot.” if a random stranger comes up to me with some cheesy one-liner he picked up off a buzzfeed article, there is a -12% chance i will be interested. my mind directly goes to “oh he was just initially into me based on my physical appearance and wants to date me despite knowing nothing about me.” which. point blank. isn’t really a building block for the foundation for a healthy relationship. i mean. maybe good foundation for a short-lived sexcapade reminisce of a classic mila kunis / jt rom-com. yet the past, well, 23 years (but who’s counting) it’s been remarkably easier to remain single rather than saying yes to any tom, dick, or harry potter who comes my way. because otherwise, i’m just kind of like, eh. you aight.
at this point all my critics (bc there’s probs so many) are shooting me that simon cowell scowl. they cynically prepare their rebuttals to my radical aversion to standard mating rituals. let me provide an alternative. i contend that we build lasting relationships on shared human emotion and connection rather than a fallacy of a person you’ve imagined in your head. this is the basis for the opposing doctrine of attraction. *segways into next scene*
law #2. you’re sitting in a coffee shop with your lactose-free chai latte reading rupi kaur’s milk and honey (already a substantially more pretentious scene but just roll with me on this one). as a guy sits down at the table next to you, he accidentally bumps yours and sends that chai spilling everywhere (but you don’t cry over that spilled milk cause you ain’t a little bitch). instantly he begins apologizing profusely and insists on buying you a new one in which you both discover you drink lactose-free milk. as he apologizes again, he notices your book and his eyes widen. apparently she’s one of his favorite poets and suddenly you spend two hours excitedly discussing poetry, literature, bo burnham stand up, playwrights, and the struggs of lactose intolerance. as you’re both about to leave he asks if you want to go to a slam poetry event tomorrow night that his friend is performing in. you give him your number so he can send you the details.
12 times out of 10, i will give my number to guy in coffee shop. if you can’t tell a difference between these two interactions, you might be guy in bar. rather unfortunately, i seem to be a magnet for the guy in bar type (and rather apparently i need to frequent more coffee shops). i propose that there’s something more to this idea. *segways into next, next scene*
it’s just a theory: attraction is a value judgment.
i’mma break it down sociology 101 style. don’t worry if you forgot your textbook. i am your textbook. naturally since we’re attempting to approach a multi-faceted subject like attractiveness/romance/dating, it’s probably advantageous for everyone involved to draw on some basic social theories to ground my socially anomalous beliefs. in communication, there’s a concept known as “equal attractiveness theory” (referred to in social psych as “matching hypothesis” but eh, tomayyto tomahtoe) which theorizes that individuals commit to relationships in which their partner possesses a perceived level of equal attractiveness to themselves.
here’s the catch. it’s entirely variable and dependent on what you personally consider to be of value when you define attractiveness. por ejemplo, if you’re like my boy kanye circa 2005 over here, what you consider attractive is women who value financial stability (i believe the scientific term is “gold digger”). and vice versa. or maybe you value athleticism and physical fitness, and you’re only attracted to men you see on those annoying gym accounts on instagram. in a nutshell: attraction theories explain why you like who you do (and importantly why elise is not a proponent of guy in bar). so where does this leave your fav ornery, hard to please millennial?
call me 2 chainz: because i’m different. yeah. i’m different.
in terms of dating and relationships i have more opinions than the op-ed section of the new york times. but this week’s paper features a headline somewhere along the lines of “emotional interest and physical appearance do not inexorably coincide” (not a v catchy headline). which essentially means (& finally culminating this long winded epitaph) i found my holy grail to solving our romance barren social lives (might’ve buried the lead a bit with that one). attraction is actually pretty simple. it comes down to redefining our own definition of it.
so my open letter is addressed to anyone struggling with their singledom, and constantly asking, “where do i fall short?” well i’m hoping this letter reaches you (my spongebob lovin’ target audience demographic). some people find attractiveness from guy in bar. totes works for them. the discrepancy between us is that my definition of attraction is based on emotional relationships with people. i guess it’s pretty straightforward that that’s the shit that i’m most attracted to. when i glimpse into person’s soul and learn who they are is when i see something so much more. i see someone who’s tina fey funny, leo da vinci brilliant, zooey deschanel eccentric, yo-yo ma talented, oprah winfrey generous, and just borderline shia labeouf weird. that’ll spark a flame that smokey the bear would be ashamed to put out. it just goes to show that, together, even your average pair of ornery, hard to please millennials with impossible standards have their silver linings (playbook).
because the #1 most attractive thing i’ve ever experienced is when you can connect with someone emotionally and they share the same passionate worldviews as you. imagine one of those classic nights of your youth. sitting inside a parked car outside your house until 4am. just talking. about life. and all the things you believe in. and the other person unquestioningly validates those beliefs. moments like these almost infallibly fall into what i consider nonsexual attraction. y’know… y’know when you’re talking with someone, there’s a flash in time where you see that person. you really, fully, truly see them. you see this absolutely radiant soul shining like a lighthouse beacon towards you.
and you see it because you took time to understand and unconditionally accept who they are. as you stare at them in the passenger seat through your groggy, tired, 4am eyes, it’s clear that you love and care for them with your whole heart. this is the 1987 ‘some kind of wonderful’ john hughes was always hoping for.
el fin: here’s a resolution to the proponent factor in my enigmatic hamartia. this is what i’m missing in my life. this is why i’m contentedly ‘still single.’ because i’m still waiting for a guy in coffee shop to meet my expectations for attraction. a guy looking to undress my personality instead of my body. rather, someone who values me enough to see my soul. and i to see his.
ur fav ornery, hard to please millennial