Is One the Loneliest Number or the Best Way to Be?

Warning: heavy-handed How I Met Your Mother similies approaching.

Amongst single people, you have two types: those who want to be in a long-term relationship (Ted Mosebys) and those who don’t (Barney Stinsons). Equally, as an ex and good friend recently pointed out to me, there are two types of encoupled people: what Bridget Jones called “smug marrieds” (Eriksens) and those who envy the singles (let’s say “envious marrieds”/Robin Scherbatsky).

Regular readers of my blog, if they exist, can probably guess in which categories I tend to fall. Nonetheless, I’d like to make this more of a public service kind of blog. I’m going to discuss singledom and coupledom from these perspectives in order to provide comfort for those in a situation they aren’t entirely happy with. With that in mind, I’ll skip the Eriksons and the Barney Stinsons, as chances are they’re in exactly the situation they want to be in. Instead, this blog is to the Robins and Teds of the world. Skip to the part that most affects you.

A letter to Ted:

Ted, you’re single right now. Since you’re a metaphor rather than the actual character, I won’t tell you to be with Victoria you fucking moron. That’s a blog for another day. Instead, I’d like to list all the things that are good about being single.

  • You have the chance to be alone after a long day
  • You can sleep with whoever you want to sleep with (given the opportunity)
  • You get the whole bed to yourself!
  • You never have to compromise what you want to do, think or say
  • You only have one family to deal with at Christmas
  • In a serious relationship, your future is mapped out
  • You can socialise with friends or family without guilt of neglect
  • Watch children’s TV without judgement to see you at your worst
  • There’s no one to see you at your worst

Good Advice

A letter to Robin:

So, Robin. You’re in a happy relationship, but you envy those friends who are out being fancy free. If you were the character, I’d say DON’T MARRY BARNEY, but you’re not, so I’ll tell you the advantages of being in a (good) couple instead.

  • There’s always someone there when you’ve had a bad day
  • You get to sleep with someone who knows what you like
  • You don’t have to sleep alone
  • You can share responsibility for mistakes, gifts, etc.
  • In a serious relationship, your future is mapped out
  • You always have someone to go to a party or stay home with
  • Watch children’s TV with a partner in mockery and enjoyment
  • There’s someone to love you at your worst
  • Someone will always think and say good things about your looks/personality/insert your insecurity here

I can’t think of a way to bring this post to a satisfying conclusion without undermining the above, so have some more Alyson Hannigan instead.

Failing that, just try to be happy with what you have until the situation naturally changes. I’m trying to teach myself that life is a journey. Some views you see alone, some together, and others still you have to see in both lights to get the full effect.

Peace out.

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30 Days Challenge: Day 28: What attracts you to someone

Well, I think we’ve discussed before what can instigate a crush, so let’s talk a little about what I look for in something long-term.

I’ve dated different body types and nationalities, so much as it’s a cliché, appearance doesn’t massively effect that tingly feeling in my chest and doesn’t cause me to think about a person at odd times of the day.

I think the thing is chemistry. If we have good chemistry, if we can talk or not talk for hours without being uncomfortable, if we can watch and mock TV together, or if we can share utterly stupid inside jokes. I’m kind of weird, so I really appreciate when someone is willing to be weird with me.

The truth is, although I have a sex drive like anyone else, it’s not the thing I miss most about being in a relationship. Not even close. I like the shared, open and close relationship that’s really hard to achieve outside of a relationship.

To clarify, I think it’s harder for men to have that kind of relationship, as many men are afraid of seeming ‘gay’ with their other friends. Much as I’ve complained about being a gay friend in the past, I wouldn’t trade those relationships for ones with hetero-normative men, because I know that nine times out of ten I wouldn’t get the kind of support and love I get from the close friendships I have.

I posted on Facebook recently that “there are no likeable hetero-normative men in my novel. This could be a problem.” The truth is, I’m far too open, honest and ridiculously emotional to conduct a lot of close relationships with that kind of guy, so I find it rather difficult to relate to them.

Anyway, all of this is beside the point. If I had to summarise this post in one sentence it would be this: I’m attracted to a person we can have honest conversations and silly fun in equal measure. Anything else is just topping.

30 Days Challenge: Music Make up: Accents

Points if you get the reference.

I owe you a music post due to my cop-out yesterday. The following paragraph will be nothing to do with music, then we’ll get back onto it. Promise.

One thing that really attracts me to a person is an atypical way of speaking. In the past, this has ranged an utterly enthralling Belarusian accent to opinions about life, relationships and food that I’d never encountered before. Accents in particular, though, I have a real yen for. I love to listen to a new, interesting or plain edible accent.

And thus we come back to music. I’m going to list a number of songs I have or have had on playlists purely for the accent for the main singer.

1) Jolene in two parts:

Sophie’s beautifully plummy syllables seem to consume this song with such relish, comparable to Dolly’s clear, Southern twang. I  love to hear these two versions back-to-back. Just like…

2) Fuck You Twice!

Just like the original wouldn’t be the same without Cee-Lo’s unique voice, Eliza adds a certain Britishness that transcends her accent. “I really hate your arse right now” seems so matter-of-fact, pessimistic and British beyond changing “ass” to “arse”. I love the video, too. It seems like she’s controlled by two Jim Henson puppeteers who just had a fight. The two backing singers are absurdly excitable, too.

3) Paloma Faith is weird.

Somehow every word Paloma utters seems to be different to how anyone else might say it. I find her wonderful to listen to, even if I only enjoy a few of her songs.

4) My Imagination?

Heard this on a bus between Celaya and Ciudad de México and enjoyed it. Found out the band was famous later:

5) Shut up. I realise it’s a joke-track, but it makes me smile.

6) Antonio Banderas singing angrily in his accent. ‘Nuff said.

Go on then, have another since you asked nicely:

I’m sure there’re more, but that’ll do you for now. Enjoy!

30 Days Challenge: Day 9: Your definition of love

I was going to skip this as ‘trite’ with a sarcastic comment, then I saw an angle to go at it from, so I’m actually going to talk about this.

Firstly, I’m not going to talk about the love for family or friends. Much as both have supported me through so much that I may not be here today without certain members of either group, I think it’s an easier question to answer, much as it is often far more important than romantic love in certain points in one’s life.

Anyway, I think the route to everlasting love goes through two stages. First, you have the douchy-analytical cum optimistic phase, followed later by what I’m going to call the You Did What?! phase.

First, you find someone attractive in one (or more) of three ways: aesthetic appeal, sexual appeal and social appeal.

A lot of people might say that “aesthetic appeal” and “sexual appeal” are the same thing. I disagree. Have you never found someone attractive whom you didn’t want to sleep with? To most people, the answer is yes. To the rest of you, I think you should consider either your standards or your honesty with yourself.

The example I often use for aesthetic appeal is Kiera Knightly. She has an appealing look and a friendly face. I really enjoy watching her in movies and listening to her accent1. That said, I’m not sexually attracted to her. My personal taste runs to women with more womanly curves. A friend once joked that there’d be “nothing to play with” once you had a slender girl like Ms. Knightley in bed. I’d still happily watch her in any movie she popped up in.

Love love love her storyline in Love Actually.

Secondly is sexual attraction. Everyone has their type, interests, turn-ons or whatever else you want to call that spark that makes you Want someone with a capital W. Most people understand that on an instinctive level, so I won’t bother going into here.

Lastly is what I called “social appeal”. It’s not a perfect label, but it represents your desire to talk to someone and to be around them. It’s your desire to be their friend. For some people it’s cinematic, musical, political or comedic compatibility. Whatever it is, it’s that thing that makes friends into best friends and fuck buddies into partners.

This is the clincher, I think, when it comes to love. If you have the last with at least one other type of appeal, you’ve really got something. It’s at this point that many people say the L word. Sometimes it’s a door to pass through to get to the real stuff, other times it’s just new relationship energy given control of the mouth, and in others still it’s a verbalisation of proto-love – the stuff that inevitably leads there, but before the You Did What?! stage.

The You Did What?! stage is the most important one for longevity, I think It’s knowing all the worst, shittiest things about each other and still wanting to curl up together to watch bad TV. If you can survive the worst of your past, then with just a little work, you can survive anything as a team. This stage also involves coming to terms with anything they are or do every day. Perhaps not easy, but if it’s right it’s right. If there’s something you know you can’t live with forever, then you’re just treading water.

Okay, that did turn out a little trite, and you mileage may of course vary. This is my opinion based on a number of needlessly complicated relationships. But basically, love is facing shit as a team, rather than a pair of singles players2.

1I think I’ve spoken on this blog of my love of accents before. Therefore it shall go undiscussed now.
2Ew, sports metaphor! Get it off, get it off!