When did dating cease to become a thing?
It seems like, nowadays, if you go on two dates with someone, you are expected to be linked as an item. Why aren’t people allowed to take their time and investigate their options anymore? It’s like going to a restaurant, ordering a couple things off the menu, and then being expected to declare that it’s the best restaurant in the world and you only want to eat there from now on.
I don’t think so.
And i am speaking from experience.
I think that is part of why divorce has become so prevalent – We commit before we are truly certain that, out of all the people on the planet, this is the one we want forever. I always thought that Nantucket was the most beautiful island ever… Until i started traveling and seeing other islands. Nantucket is beautiful, but so are Sicily, St John, St George….
Which brings me to point two. As much as i’ve traveled, i still can’t tell you what the most beautiful island in the world is. There are too many i haven’t seen to authoritatively make that choice. And honestly, i don’t see why i have to make a choice at all.
To those of you who have found your soulmates and work hard to make and keep a good marriage, i applaud you. I know how hard it is. And i know the payoff when it works (Contrary to the jokes i make, i had some beautiful experiences as a married woman that i wouldn’t trade for anything.) I just don’t believe that all of us are destined for that same level of connectedness.
For some reason, we feel that we MUST get married. Why? What if you are a baker in Newark, and your soul mate is goat herder in Mongolia? Are you supposed to settle for the “next best” so you can fulfill the American expectation before you die, since the likelihood of you and the goatherd meeting is on par with Donald Trump being named Miss Mexico?
It has been many generations since our species was in need of propagation. There is no longer a reason to push for people to settle down and pop out babies for the good of their nation.
We no longer live in type of world where we need marriages between ruling families to bring nations together.
And, at least in our country, it is no longer impossible for a woman to support herself without the help of a husband.
This means that the selection of a permanent mate, the producing of progeny, the joining of houses… These are choices. And not bad ones. But also not required ones. When the time is right for you, go ahead and make it. I will be happy for you. I do, tho, hope that the choice isn’t made after date two. I hope the choice isn’t made out of false expectation. I hope the choice isn’t made before you meet your goatherd.
And to that end, i hope that we will stop berating those who are still on the lookout. Stop shaming those who can’t choose between spaghetti, pad thai, or poutine. Stop patronizing those who haven’t found their soulmate. Not everyone has the same destiny. Not everyone has the same options. Hell, not everyone gets the same menu. So let them be.
Those of us with curious minds and curious, well, everything, could very likely leave this world unmarried. And most of us aren’t sad about it. Or, at least not most of the time. Those of us who value our solitude realize that we may never find someone who can accommodate that need full-time. And those of us who feel like the human equivalent of a ceramic chicken, with its beak chipped off, paint peeling, sitting on a battered shelf in a little-visited second-hand shop, understand that there might never be a day when someone lifts us up, looks underneath, and discovers that we are actually a signed Michelangelo. And even if they did, they still may not want to claim us as their own.
So let us be. Let us travel to more of the islands. Let us visit some new restaurants and order different things from the menu. You enjoy your goatherd with our congratulations. And be ok with us living our lives without one.