To love others, you must first love yourself.” If you are old enough to remember the catfight between Alexis and Krystle or have ever worn linebacker shoulder pads, you might recall Leo “Dr. Love” Buscaglia to whom we owe this quote.
You’re either on the “that’s a bunch of sh$!” or “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.” Stuart Smalley side of the fence. More likely, you’re straddling the two.
I’ve just returned from a book reading and launch party for Anna David’s “Falling for Me: How I Learned to Hang Curtains, Cook, Travel to Seville, and Fall in Love.” I’m going with Mr. Smalley.
Ms. David’s story is quasi-familiar to any of us who’ve questioned the value of our left ring finger if not as a resting place for a few carats. Even those of us post-divorce who field questions like, “So, are you dating anyone special?” The author examined today’s life as a “single girl” through the lens of Helen Gurley Brown’s 1962 “Sex and the Single Girl.”
I don’t want to give away the ending but let’s just say “We’re gonna make it after all!”
As a child of the seventies, I wanted to be Mary Richards. She had a glamorous job, a darling apartment, and a cute wardrobe. (I even had one of those gold-painted initials on my wall!) Seventies television was filled with strong single protagonists like The Bionic Woman, Policewoman, and Charlie’s Angels. Being single wasn’t just “OK.” Being an independent woman was sexy.
But some time between the NOW generation and now, single women moved to a holding pattern, just waiting for a Match to make ourselves complete. Ms. David regales us with her exploits to perfect the “feminine arts” like whipping up a Caesar salad, decorating her apartment, applying makeup, and wearing something other than yoga pants. Heck, she even foregoes swearing, gossip, and complaining with the hopes of meeting “the one.”
My takeaway from this grand exercise? We need to stop chasing the elusive great catch. Life doesn’t come with a live action pause and we can’t fast forward through the commercials. Enjoy the adventure. Fill your contact list with passionate, fascinating people. And don’t wait to decorate your bedroom or throw a dinner party till you’ve hooked up with that brilliant, handsome doctor or writer or hedge fund manager. (OK, maybe not a hedge fund manager…)
And though I am making a concentrated effort to step away from the silver lining, indulge me. If you’re sleeping alone in a king-sized bed, you can stay up all night reading “Falling for Me!” Nobody’s going to complain about the light!
PS When I first decided to eschew internet dating in favor of attending more cultural events, I fantasized about meeting some tall, handsome TV writer, architect, or some other creative type who shared my passion for words, banter, mid-century architecture, and great restaurants. Though my first few outings haven’t ended in anything remotely romantic, I’ve collected more than a few business cards which could further my writing career. And I’ve met some wonderful new friends! Now perhaps I should hang some curtains!