Broken hearts. They're in a majority of Lifetime movies, the automatic status icon of singles on Facebook (which annoys me), and nearly every chick-lit novel ever published. In fiction, the soul-crushing awfulness of not-having-a-significant-other is usually solved as soon as Prince Charming in any of his dashing personas appears to sweep the heroine off her feet, or maybe the girl next door slowly makes her way into the lead's heart with her quirky interests and their shared love of mix CDs. Either way, along with discovering something vital about themselves, our leads are usually rescued from their lonely lives as soon as The Right One shows up to complete them in some way.
I'm not here to bash that (after all, no matter how awkward I am in dealing with my own relationships, I still consider myself a hopeless romantic); merely to pose a question that's probably been asked before: isn't that way of thinking outdated? Movies geared towards men usually aren't too relationship-central--the guy typically gets the girl in a far shorter time than it takes for the reverse to happen in your standard chick flick--both both seem to perpetrate the idea that as long as you score the one you're after, everything else will fall into place. But I have yet to see a movie where the guy or girl doesn't win their interest and considers themselves successful and happy just the same. In other words, I'm not seeing the message that "It's okay to be single".
Look on any magazine cover. The female-oriented ones like Cosmo typically have suggestions for "how to please your guy" or "win over your crush" while advertising fad-diets guaranteed to lose enough weight to be attractive enough for him, while starving yourself to a size -2 in the process (because true beauty is worth any price, right?)
nd male magazines, while not typically as vapid and shallow, promote gaining muscle mass not just to be healthy, but to be as attractive as possible to snag a woman's attention.
But as a million people can tell you, being single doesn't automatically add up to "lonely and depressed", and it'd be indescribably refreshing for the media to show that instead of people whose lives aren't satisfactory without the extra presence of someone else. No relationship is perfect; arguments and divorce don't fit Hollywood's idea of glamour, so the story usually cuts short after "Happily Ever After", no matter that such an ending is an impossible one. I'm not against the idea of companionship; if you're with someone who makes you happy, more power to you. I'm just saying that it isn't for everyone, and those people shouldn't be forced or guilted into relationships for the sake of what others think is normal.
Case in point: I have an asexual friend, Soraida, who's undoubtedly one of the strongest and most independent women I know; she's got an opinion on everything, and her wit's so razor-sharp it'll cut you (and then you'll be left thinking, "WOW, that girl is awesome"). She's never desired to be with anyone, and my hetero self is jealous of that at times. So many of my other friends are afraid of being alone forever, wondering if they have flaws that prevent others from seeing the amazing people they are underneath instead of taking the time to grow and reflect on who they are, and what works for them.
And then you've got the people so desperate for any relationship that they jump at the first person who shows them attention, only to have it end badly later. Some of the most miserable couplings stem from the thought that "I'd rather be with someone than by myself, so I'll put up with whatever crap they force me to deal with".
It's never, ever worth it, so think! Are you happy with your relationship status now?