Recently I was listening to an NPR interview (yes, I’m geeky & I know it) and while you may expect it was some snoozy politician, it was the entertaining Lena Dunham, creator of HBO “Girls”. For those of you who haven’t seen the show, I myself have only seen bits and pieces since it aired, but it is no “Gossip Girl” and certainly no “Sex in the City.” ”Girls” is a much more general and realistic depiction of what it’s like to work as a single woman in New York City, really work, not just shop and brunch, unlike those you see in chick flicks. Life in the city is not all the baubles and sparkles that HBO first lead us to believe it was. While most shows that depict the single life in the City are like different worlds, the one thing they tend to agree on is the lack of monogamous relationships. Seeking for serious relationships in such places is all the more disenchanting.
The word monogamous probably sounds like it’s from the dark ages. It’s hardly used in anyone’s daily vocabulary. Some of you are probably googling it right now so let me help you - monogamous. But for most females, most romantic comedies and beloved pieces of literature, one girl ends up with one boy forever and when a story ends any differently we are typically disappointed. In reality, when one girl ends up with one boy forever, the word seems to ring and echo in most people’s ears as if it’s were a death sentence. ”Forrrreeeeverrrrr”. While it used to be assumed just men felt this way, it’s safe to say many women’s feelings are mutual. So is it the fear of forever that has caused married couples to be at a record low in our country? Or have the complications that accompany wrapping one’s mind, will and life around “forever” derailed us into more casual and unattached aimless relationships than ever?
I had already watched the premiere of Girls a few months after it had come out and after I seen enough, I turned it off. It was a little too accurate for me I guess. After my short-lived stay in NYC, let me just say, living in the City as a single, slightly naive and job-hungry female, the experience is truly as awkward and rough around the edges as this show feels. Plainly put - the show is not pretty, but it’s pretty accurate.
Somewhere during the “All Things Considered” NPR interview, before the host’s lethargic voice put me into a coma, they played a clip of an episode when Dunham’s character, Hannah decides to confront a casual relationship. Somewhere through her insecure rant she stammers out, “I don’t even want a boyfriend I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time, and thinks I’m the best person in the world, and wants to have sex with only me…” Her words stung me. You could hear they just hurt to speak out loud. Just the first part of the sentence, “…who wants to hang out all the time, and thinks I’m the best person in the world” stings a bit because everyone thinks this and wants this, yet rarely expresses it to the individual they want them from or express it at all. I was taken back when she blurted out “I just want someone… who wants to have sex with only me.” Girls still think this? Girls in the city still want this? If Lea Dunham wrote it for Hannah, I’m assuming Lea desires it. I know down deep we all want this, but women are much more fashioned now to act as if they don’t. Yes men, girls want a monogamous relationship, though they can lead you to believe otherwise. Because what is fun about someone who looks traditional? When is formality in a personality or relationship ever portrayed in magazines or movies as attractive anymore? Girls assume guys don’t want anything to do with what appears to expect commitment. Therefore a lot of girls, who may secretly be hoping for a monogamous relationship, give off the impression that they’re not looking to attract something too serious. It’s changed how women handle relationships. Even still, guys aren’t necessarily the only ones afraid of “forever.”
I never was one to keep up with “Sex In The City”, but… even when Carrie Bradshaw was dating Aidan in, (ok so I managed to catch a few reruns to at least have a good idea of this relationship - give me a break people, this was before Netflix) Carrie could never seem to come to terms with Aidan’s traditional values and desire for a faithful companion. She seems stifled and claustrophobic to the idea.
There are reasons why there is a significant increase in the number of people who choose to live alone rather than marry. Last March when Time Magazine featured “10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life,” the first was, “Living Alone Is The New Norm.” It was found that currently over 33 million Americans live in solidarity by choice, nearly matching the percentage of childless couples. That’s 28% of the US. While one would think this increase of singledom is also reason for our increase of depression and loneliness, Time’s study with over 300 participants “suggests that people who live alone compensate by becoming more socially active than those who live with others and that cities with high numbers of singletons enjoy a thriving public culture.” Thriving for sure. Which could mean a number of things. It only complicate the already tricky game we call dating. Now for most ladies going out on for a date, following the questions, “does this person live at home with their parents?”, “does this person pay their own car insurance and phone bills?”, it’d be good to ask yourself is this person legit or do they plan on fooling around with some other chick after he pays the check? (If he pays the check.)
Read more from “Living Alone Is The New Norm” here.