Recently a friend registered a complaint that I’ve heard before from single friends, and probably uttered myself.
She was talking about going to a friend’s wedding where she knows (courtesy Facebook photos of pre-wedding events) that there will be a large number of good-looking and available men, and said that she’d asked her marrying friend why she hadn’t tried to set her up with any of them in the past.
In response, said marrying friend explained that none of them were “good enough.”
“Hook a sister up!” my friend exclaimed in her email relaying the story. “Guys are often not good enough until they meet the one!”
Which immediately led me to think two things. Actually I thought of three things, the first being a show tune lyric that I must tell you springs to mind whenever this issue surfaces: remember that Guys and Dolls song, the one with the chorus “marry the man today, change his ways tomorrow”? Yes, that is what I always think of. And to what degree it is dubious advice. Let me continue.
My next thought I will express to you as a memo addressed to non-single folk: do, please, set your single friends/acquaintances up with each other. I know it can get complicated, and yes it will likely backfire, but really it’s the best way to meet people and eventually everyone will get over the awkwardness. Hook a sister up, indeed.
Finally, I thought that this belief–this notion that a guy will change when he meets us/aka ‘the one’–is one that I’ve lately realized many of us are beholden to, and that is more than a little misguided.
When I say “many of us” I of course mean me: sure he’s a pothead, but if he really likes me he’ll cut down. Sure he’s had a really hard time committing and being faithful in the past, but if he really likes me he won’t. Sure he drinks too much/can be kind of a jerk/is totally immature, but if he really likes me I’m sure he’ll change.
Though I still find it difficult–per usual–to behave accordingly, I’m beginning to come to terms with the reality that–regardless of whether or how much he likes me–no, he actually won’t change.
I mean, maybe he will. Maybe he will someday stop drinking/being a jerk/chronically philandering. And maybe that day will coincide with him meeting a woman.
But honestly, I don’t think he will stop being/doing those things because he meets her.
Not long ago I was involved with an alcoholic. I didn’t realize it initially: I thought so long as he didn’t drink vodka first thing every morning he was just a guy who liked to drink beer instead of eat dinner some nights.
I didn’t realize how bad it was, but I knew it was a problem. And I really, truly thought that being with me could help him get better. I thought he cared about me so much that he would fix himself. I think, for a minute, he thought so too.
Of course it didn’t take long for him to realize that was a mistake. Being with me just made him feel bad for being a bad boyfriend who drank too much, which made him drink more.
I understood that. I understood that in order for people to change they need to be ready to change, and that if he was ever going to get better he would need to do it on his own.
But still: it was impossible for me not to think that if he really liked me he would have been able to do it.
In her “hook a sister up” email, my friend wrote “I’m not saying I am the one, but still…”
But the thing is that we can’t help but always, kind of, think that we are “the one.” Of course we usually realize that we are not, in fact, the one for that person–putting aside that whole question of whether such a thing exists.
But we’ve got to retain a faith that someone, eventually, will realize how amazing and singularly fantastic we are.
I’m just not sure about the faith that this realization will make them be anything other than who they are when we meet them.