Last night I rode the train home after seeing my old college friend perform in a sketch comedy show at the Magnet Theater. When I rounded the corner on 28th Street, I heard the train approaching. I scurried down the stairs, through the turnstile and heeded the familiar musical warning that the doors would soon be closing.
There, I saw him: a beautiful specimen of a man, holding the subway doors open for me.
We rode the train in silence. I avoided eye contact but inched as close to him on the crowded train as possible, hoping for the screeching brakes or sudden jerk of movement to propel me into his arms.
Eventually, he sat down, and I sat next to him, only to have him give up his seat for an elderly woman.
The fire in my heart grew.
At 110th Street, he disappeared. I was left disappointed, but relished in the blissful memory of twelve subway stops of unrequited love at first sight.
I shared this story via social media, half-laughing at it all. Yes, the man was gorgeous, and yes, my heart skipped a beat when his pant leg brushed against my black leggings. Yet, for all I know, he’s got a girlfriend. Or a boyfriend. Or both. Maybe he’s a narcissist, or serial killer. He might have sleep apnea or an abhorrence to brushing his teeth. There are a million ways why this fantasy love story will never work, and I know it. Still, it’s fun to imagine. I’m somewhat of a hopeless romantic.
The commentary that immediately followed on Facebook, Twitter, in person and over text was astoundingly full of clichés. It was almost as if I had shared my story, desperate for an answer. Quite the contrary!
I know everyone is trying to be helpful, but if one more person delivers a cliché in response to my tales of singlehood, I’m either going to scream, or vomit. Perhaps both.
The following are a list of phrases I will pay to never hear again.
1. The right one will come along, or God will bring the right one to you.
First of all, I’m not one to just sit around, waiting for things to happen. Secondly, how can I argue with a cliché, starring God? He is in charge of everything, but He’s never promised me a second husband. At this point, I’m just trying to get a decent date. Furthermore, I do not believe in “The Right One” or “The One”. I believe you pick someone, and make it work. In all my years of therapy, I have learned chemistry and compatibility are the two most important factors that make up a relationship.
Chemistry: You’ve got to want to make out with the person all the time, because eventually, they will annoy the crap out of you.
Compatibility: You’ve got to get along with them initially, and have similar goals, because eventually, they will annoy the crap out of you.
But, you make it work, because love is always worth the risk.
2. When you stop looking, you’ll find him.
Thank you for insinuating I am so desperate for a man in my life, I am constantly looking for one. There are days I rejoice in my freedom, and there are others when I am trying so hard not to look, all I see is dog poo on the sidewalk.
The truth is, anyone who is single and desires to be in relationship WILL NEVER STOP looking, hoping, wondering and dreaming, no matter how much we try to deny it.
3. Do what you love, and the rest will follow.
This statement is actually less an annoying cliché and more frustrating truth. I moved to New York to pursue my career goals, not to find a man. At the same time, refer to cliché #1. If a man happens to cross my path (perhaps on the subway), I will not reject him. But if he’s not interested, I’m not going to stalk him. (Okay, maybe a little…)
At this point, I am doing what I love, and what I hope to immediately follow is a hard-earned paycheck.
4. Timing is everything. Be patient. Maybe he’s not ready yet.
I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to wait around for someone to figure out what to do with me. I want to be in a relationship with a man, not a boy who doesn’t know what – or who — he wants.
5. He’s out there, somewhere.
Whenever someone says this to me, I immediately think of the love of my life, floating silently through the galaxy in one of those heavy-yet-gravity-free, badass space suits. I giggle at the mental picture, and then start to feel sorry for him, being all alone “out there, somewhere” (most likely, lost in the time-space continuum).
Maybe he’s in Indiana.
You know what else is “out there, somewhere”? Giant water buffalo. Babies being groomed to become sumo wrestlers. Dogs who wear sweaters. A cure for cancer. The next teary-eyed winner of a reality television talent competition. The eighth wonder of the world. My Tony, Oscar, Grammy and Pulitzer Prize Awards. Buttermilk.
6. I don’t understand how someone as smart, talented, articulate and beautiful as you can still be single.
The right one hasn’t come along yet. God hasn’t brought him to me. Maybe I’m looking too hard. Perhaps I’m too focused on doing what I love to do. Maybe it’s just not the right time.
Or maybe you should just ask me out.