Finding Ms. Right
How I gave up, misunderstood, and finally restarted my search for Ms. Right.
I’m at that point in my twenties, when most of my social media feeds are periodically saturated with wedding and baby announcements. The cynic in me feels like a participant in the Hunger Games, desperately recounting a dwindling list of fellow survivors. The romantic views it like an extended job search, the goodwill felt towards updation in others marital status tempered by periods of self doubt and worry.
Not too long ago, my mind was free of such vacillating emotions. A singular edict declared in every corner of my brain, scripted by a committee of cynicism, negative self esteem and rampant nihilism.
Love is not real. Falling in love is an idealized concept, regularly glamorised by poetry and cinema. There are far, far more people who enter a marriage for pragmatic, logical reasons, than out of any notion of affection.
Once the slogans took root, my brain, like a diligent prosecutor, began discretely assembling a case. Statistics were used, paradoxically supported by anecdotal evidence. History, Sociology, Psychology and even Current Affairs, recruited as witness for the prosecution.
While my brain, perhaps sincerely, worked upon establishing a narrow yet accurate view of the world, something different was happening elsewhere.
My body was liberated. Or so it felt at the time, for little by little, like citizens testing the efficiency of law, I began slipping into habits of gluttony and sloth.
After all, it’s easy for limbs to raid a fridge when the head is in the midst of a protracted ideological debate. Regiments of hygiene, exercise and education experienced truancy, and there was nowhere to complain, no one to raise the alarm.
Only in retrospect, after enduring enough damage to elicit regret, but not enough to threaten despair, did I realize the true intentions of earlier regime.
It came about one evening, when, after months spent shying away from social gatherings, I was contacted by a classmate.
It was a girl. Not a girl I had feelings for. Not a girl who I’d consider as an acquaintance. Just…a girl.
My usually monotonous routine faltered. I caught myself staring at the mirror. For the first time in what seemed like ages, I cared what I looked like.
Part of me was angry at the break in code; departure from lifestyle free of narcissism and superficiality. But the illusion had been broken, the spell was ineffective. I knew why I’d elected such thoughts into office. It was out of self defense.
The Internet is perhaps a repository for people like me, and I’m thankful I fell into the less misogynistic of the two camps. The ones who don’t believe in love and who think romance is dead, as opposed to those who believe the opposite sex slaughtered it.
Without even knowing it, I was making myself feel better, and using the female gender as a shield to deflect from my shortcomings.
If a friend mentioned that a girl gave him her phone number after a short in-flight conversation, I’d smirk at the girl’s overt friendliness, or apparent luck of my buddy. I’d never consider, or would rather bury the thought, that perhaps if I were in his shoes, she’d remain a stranger.
A hypocritical stance on superficial beauty is a hallmark of people like me. All the lessons on how beauty is but skin deep, and how its whats on the inside that counts….all these lessons have been used by me to comfort myself, rather than understand others.
Hopefully, it’s not too late to change things around. I understood that after spending an hour trying to find a flattering shirt for my rendezvous with the female classmate.
The easy route is to hide, to mount an ideological soap box, to launch into lofty arguments about society that stitches together racism, gender wage gap, Photoshop and promiscuity.
The tougher path is to realize that you aren’t who you thought you were. You’re not as smart, as sexy, as sophisticated. And that’s okay.
The shame and embarrassment will go away. After the initial prognosis, you won’t stare in the mirror. Sure, it may start out as an attempt to court love. A way to impress, a way to show off.
But soon you’ll fall in love with your better self. There might be an instance where you come up with a witty one liner, and when you see her eyes light up, it’ll feel like your brain is your wingman rather than a subordinate. Or, you’ll be sitting somewhere, perhaps resting after a punishing climb up the stairs, when your heart gently draws your attention; the legs are fine, no seriously, it was no big deal.
Since puberty, there has always been an ideal version of Miss Right in my mind, whether I was aware of it or not. Over the years I gave into the concept, and got comfortable enough to generate a list. What she should be like, what she should look like…
That list has been erased. There’s a new list in my mind. And I’m just getting started…