Sunday, March 22, 2009

Being Single: Blessing, Curse? Or Maybe A Bit Of Both?

Last night, before I shut down my computer, I came across this blog post about being single written by Lea Lane on the Huffington Post.

Ms. Lane gave some compelling reasons for being single that seemed pretty wonderful.

While I was lying awake at about 4 o'clock this morning, I started writing my own pro/con list on singledom in my head. We'll see how many of the things that seemed so brilliant in the middle of the night I remember.

1.When I wake up in the middle of the night I can read, watch a movie or write with no worries about disturbing someone else.
2. There's a freedom to not having to check in with someone else when making plans.
3. Instead of looking for someone else to fix something - whether it's a toaster or a bigger problem, I don't look to someone else to fix it for me. When it's up to you a resourcefulness kicks in forcing you to dig deep. With that I've learned I can do a lot of things I never thought possible.
4. Being on my own has allowed me to spend the time I've needed on my writing. I've written a novel, created this blog, and created a career as a journalist. It's probably not always a good thing, but no one, especially now that my kids are on their own, is pulling me to stop working.
5. At some point most everyone will be alone. Having the skills to do it and be okay is reassuring and confidence building. I will only be with someone if it feels right, I won't do it out of fear of being alone. A friend's mom once told me, "Better to be alone than wish you were alone." There's nothing more lonely that being in a relationship that isn't working. At least when you're single there's always hope something new will come along.

Okay, here on the cons:
1. It can be lonely sometimes to not have one special person to whom you really matter and vice versa.
2. Sometimes two more hands would come in really handy when you're trying to get a lot done. A partner to share to day to day have-tos with, someone to spur you on when you really don't want to clean the garage.
3. There's an intimacy that is missing when you're single. Not sexually necessarily, though that can be an issue for sure, but emotional intimacy that only comes from truly being in it for the long haul with another person.
4. A partner can give you another perspective, another point of view that opens you up to new thoughts and experiences.
5. I believe most of us want someone to be a witness to our lives. Someone who will notice the way we live our life, who we are, and support our dreams. I've got a lot of great friends who are there for me, but you know, it's really just not the same.

As I tossed and turned from 4 until 5, I didn't come up with any definitive answers. Bottom line, I think we're a coupling species and will always be searching for a mate. I just want to make sure I choose the right one so that what I'm giving up is more than made up for by what I'm gaining.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Why Is Everyone So Mad At "The Bachelor"?

By now we've all seen or heard about "the most dramatic (after rose) ceremony EVER on this season's, "The Bachelor."

The reason everyone seems to hate bachelor contestant Jason Mesnick is because he asked one finalist, Melissa, to marry him, weeks later changed his mind, and asked the girl he let go, Molly for another chance.

It wasn't easy to watch him break young Melissa's heart, but as I watched it I actually had to give him credit for not stringing along someone he didn't feel was a fit. Remember all those dates, the home town visits all happen in about six weeks. Not enough time really to know how the hell you feel about someone.

The other important factor to remember is that these are people who signed up to find love on what is basically a game show. Yes these are real people with real feelings, but they signed up WILLINGLY for this. No arm twisting involved.

I'm going to anger some people (especially women) here, but I truly believe that Jason had to be true to himself, and that all involved are grown-ups. To me it's sad that there's still this expectation that it's a man's job to make this fairy tale come true, and a guy should "man up" already and just marry the girl. The disparaging remarks about Jason being a guy who cries shows how far we haven't come in allowing men to be real people - not knights, not walking wallets just real people. People who should be allowed to show emotions and change their minds. I don't recall "Bachelorette" Deanna catching so much heat when she broke up with her choosen one, Jesse.

Maybe it's being the sister of a brother and mother of two sons that gives me a different perspective about guys. Don't get me wrong - I'm a girl's girl, but I get tired of the double standard: We want respect, independence, financial equality BUT we expect men to appear to not have their own needs, feelings and expectations. AND make a boat load of money to buy us stuff.

In all honesty I had more questions - as a woman - as to why Molly didn't think enough of herself to take a breath and tell Jason they could talk and see where things went. Instead she was like a giddy teen nuzzling and kissing him, so grateful he came back to her. He picked me! I actually expected her to yelp.

I think we need to stop thinking of Melissa as a helpless victim. If women want to be treated as equals we need to not expect that men are supposed to put a ring on it and rescue us. And we have to learn to not feel the need to compete on national TV against 25 other women in hopes that a man will deign to choose us. If you want control in your life you don't choose to go on a show like "The Bachelor" to find a guy. You live your own life and do your own choosing, and realize no one else can complete you or make you happy. That's your job. Finding a great guy is just icing on the cake you already baked for yourself.