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Funny (Freaky?) Friday July 11, 2008

Posted by Onely in As If!, Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys.
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One of my favorite routines in the morning is to check out the dating advice provided by MSN (and its affiliates such as Match.com, Chemistry, Redbook, and Cosmopolitan) and to laugh and laugh… Since it’s Friday and I’m back from my long week out of town, I figured I’d pass along the humor. I’m 29 and Onely… Why am I not panicking? This article tells me I *should* be: 

Married by 30…or Bust!

By Victoria Lucia
First, let’s evaluate the title. No, let’s not evaluate. Let’s just bask in the implicit messages here… I’ll give you a hint: A normal person would rather die than not be married by age 30.
Something happens to a lot of women when they hit their mid-20s: Panic sets in. It feels a bit like you’ve climbed aboard a runaway train and it’s barreling right through your life. Suddenly, there’s an urgent need for things to fall into place — career, home, and of course, love. And then when your buds start to find that special guy but he’s taking his sweet-ass time showing up in your world, that panic takes an even stronger hold. Your married-by-30, kids-soon-after plan isn’t working out.

Wow. Breathe. Okay, yes, it’s completely natural to want to be with a great man, but hyperventilating over why he’s MIA isn’t going to drop him at your doorstep, like, tomorrow. “You can’t enjoy life’s pleasures when you put so much pressure on finding The One, because you’ll become completely consumed by it,” says Doree Lewak, author of book The Panic Years. “Then later, you’ll look back and realize that you missed out on relishing some great years.” Avoid that fate. We have three steps that’ll help you chill out about finding Mr. Future Father of My Children…and putting your love life on a schedule.

Wowee, talk about heteronormative! Let’s pay attention here. First, if you aren’t panicking and you’re past your mid-20s, then something’s clearly wrong with you. Also, you’re clearly heterosexual *and* like any “normal” woman, you want children. To achieve this, you’ll need to “work” and adhere to the following “rules” (Laura Kipnis would just eat this up). 

Just Trust That You Will Meet Someone
Perhaps you’re already feeling miserable because there’s no potential partner in the picture and you’ve brainwashed yourself into thinking that you’ll wind up solo at dinner parties. Well, Little Miss Sunshine, here’s a reality check: “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 90 percent of Americans will marry,” says Jean Elson, PhD, a sociologist at the University of New Hampshire. So break out the bubbly, because, statistically, you’re bound to get hitched if that’s what you want. Another reason your odds look good: You’re a pretty cool woman. “If you have friends, take it to mean you’re a likable, social person,” says Terri Orbuch, PhD, director of the University of Michigan’s Early Years of Marriage Project. Consider it double insurance that love and marriage are in your future. “Once you can have faith in the fact that you’ll eventually meet someone — today, tomorrow, next month, whenever — you’ll naturally loosen up,” says Orbuch. “And guess what? That relaxed attitude is precisely what attracts guys.” Dudes don’t really dig the desperate thing, but they love a girl who’s comfy with herself.

My name, Lisa, means “consecrated to God.” Which is good because I renounced the faith I grew up with some time ago, but no matter how bad I am at least I know I’m promised to God, whether I like it or not (unless I change my name, of course, but that’s another story). This sense of the future seems a lot like the statistical promise of marriage; no matter how hard we might try, we can’t escape our destiny … to be … eventually … married (this is particularly amusing to me because I just taught Oedipus and we had some interesting discussions about the power of fate vs free will).

But You Still Need to Get Out There
Now that some of the weight has been lifted, be active in your quest to meet someone with whom you’ll really be happy. To be clear, active means going out a lot, saying yes to invites, and actually having fun doing all kinds of stuff. It doesn’t mean putting on blinders and zeroing in only on potential mates. The point is that you’re taking control, which always feels good, and putting yourself in the path of possibility. The point is also that you eke out the most enjoyment from your situation right now. Think: I’ll go to that networking event because it’ll be interesting, I’ll learn something, I’m single, and I have a free Thursday night to do it. And, hey, if I hit it off with someone, great; if not, I’ve gotten a nice evening out of it.

And when you do meet a guy, ditch the “Is he The One?” mind-set. “When you put so much stress on whether or not he’s the right man or if you have a future together, you end up sucking the fun out of the moment,” says Orbuch. It may seem too Shirley Temple, but ideally, you should try to have a good time with every new dude. So what if he’s not your soul mate? You’ll figure that out, but along the way, why not appreciate his quirky sense of humor or the new foods he’s introduced you to? Hell, you can always feign interest in his jibber jabber and check out the hottie at the next table.

OK, let me just point out the obvious heteronormative undercurrents tugging us along here by quoting the text directly: “… be active in your quest to meet someone with whom you’ll really be happy.” The implications are obvious: You aren’t “really” happy until you pair off like God so clearly intended when Noah built that ark of his (hmmm, my bible-thumper upbringing is emerging ever so subtly!).

Fight Off Those Panic Relapses
Even with your newfound autonomy, little freak-outs are bound to resurface. Maybe another friend got engaged or the initial fireworks with a new guy faded. “It’s normal for these single-forever worries to crop up, but it’s important to assertively not let them overwhelm you,” says Elson. Find a trick to stop the negative thoughts. “Literally pinch yourself,” suggests Orbuch. “It snaps you out of your head.” Or call up a no-BS friend to tell you you’re being ridiculous. Because getting down on yourself is such a waste of time.

God forbid the hell of possibly being single… FOREVER (insert spielberg-esque doom-and-gloom music here).

Need I say more? Maybe you will; how do you Onelers feel about articles like this?

(Taken from: http://lifestyle.msn.com/relationships/couplesandmarriage/articlecosmo.aspx?cp-documentid=8361787&GT1=32001)
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Comments»

1. onely - July 11, 2008

Remember those word problems from middle school? Here’s one:

C has been happily Onely for seven years, with a mild non-relationship here or there. C’s friend A says that C must have some serious psychological issues if she could go seven years without having a real long-term relationship. A, for example, has had several long-term relationships: one with a drug addict, one with a guy who used her for a U.S. visa, and one with a guy who cheated on her and explained his absence by saying that he had to fly out of town on a medical mission and his helicopter returned him home late.

C and A are both approaching 30. Which of them should be panicking? –CC


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