The New York Times ran a "Modern Love" column yesterday about a woman who was so unhappy being single she agreed, sight unseen, to go to China to meet her friend's brother, marry him, and bring him back to upstate New York where, if nothing else, his stubbornly awful driving regularly makes her heart race. Ok, now today, the same paper runs a piece about a woman who is a sort of a spokesperson for the opposite phenomenon: Singles Pride! Her name is Sherri Langburt, and she runs a site called SingleEdition, a "lifestyle destination that embraces the culture of single living" offering clever rebuttals to people who wonder why you're still single ("Just lucky, I guess!") and lots of support from companies eager to take advantage of your un-earmarked income by convincing you singledom is fabulous and you should celebrate by spending all your money on yourself. (Sample story topic: "Getting the dream kitchen you deserve." Fabulous, right?) Ha ha ha, so here's the catch:
As for Ms. Langburt, an odd thing happened while she was developing a business plan for Single Edition: She met Mr. Right and got married.
It's really difficult to distill what annoys me about all of this. I mean, first of all, note how there are no dudes represented in this "Singles Pride" movement because for them it is all "duh." And then there's the fact that Singles Pride thing is just another idiotic "self-acceptance" movement too cloaked in marketing messages bent on distracting you from your loneliness with consumerism for most people to even really grasp the message at its core: that if you don't know who you are or what you want or how you really feel about life when you are by yourself, you'll never be happy, relationship or no.
But the big thing I don't get is amid all these messages about dating and demographics and marriage and thirty being the new twenty and urban tribes and single pride, is how no one has figured out how to convey the message that there's nothing inherently wrong with desiring companionship. You can desire it without being insecure, or un-self-actualized, or sex-deprived or oxytocin-deprived. Sometimes loneliness is just loneliness, and if you know yourself well enough to know what makes you happy, you'll either spend the next year either settling for someone you care about or holding out for that teenage feeling (apologies, Neko Case and Don) — which is all that Ms. Langburt was doing that whole time she was so happy and fabulous being single — just being romantic! Because maybe she met a guy here and a dude there and had a one-night stand every quarter or so but at the end of the day most of those guys, she just wasn't that into them.