Saturday, March 20, 2010

Liz Lemon Will Not Settle

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about settling. I was actually thinking this all day yesterday, but was in too much of a post-St. Patty’s day daze to actually sit down and make my thoughts coherent. Then I get home from work, sit down in front of the tv to watch my first ever episode of 30 Rock, and what is it about? This little British man named Wesley Snipes (pun on the actor’s name intended) who is trying to get Tina Fey to settle for him, to be his "settle-soulmate." Then they move on to a discussion of female porn (not of women, but for women) which is another thing I had just been reading about recently. Talk about a very apropos episode.

Just Wednesday night, I overheard a discussion between two people. It seemed that they were communicating very different things. The first was telling about how her boyfriend is not someone she would not normally walk up to in a bar (because he is balding slightly), but someone who makes her laugh and she really likes very much. The second was agreeing with the first that it was an excellent idea to date described boyfriend, but seemed to be more of the mind that we ladies are never going to find the dream guy we have pictured in our minds so we have to date a lot of guys who don’t fit the cookie cutter idea we have in our heads before we find out that what we thought we wanted wasn’t really what we wanted at all.

Now, just to clarify, I agree with both parties. Anyone who refuses to go out with a guy because he does not meet one item on some mental checklist is selling themselves short of meeting really interesting people, and will probably never find anyone to love. AND I think we often surprise ourselves by thinking we want one thing, then discovering through trial and error that really we want another. Sometimes its easy to confuse what you actually like in a guy, and what society or all your friends tell you that you should like in a guy. If you don’t date guys who don’t fit your “type” how will you ever really know?

To clarify a little more, I do not consider it settling to date a guy who you love spending time with and are attracted to because he does not fit some strange ideal of what the guy people think you are supposed to be with looks like. I do consider it settling if you are not attracted to the same guy, and choose to be with him just to have someone. Hence, lady #1 is not settling, just in a happy relationship (though slightly insecure that her friends might judge her for dating said man).

Yet, as lady #2 continued to be supportive she started to talk about how as we get older, certain things become more important that others. For example, it’s more important if he’s a hard worker than what he does for a living. It’s more important if he might be a good husband and father someday than if he’s smoking hot and good in bed. It’s more important that he’s a good companion than a bad boy. Which, again, I agree that once you date a bunch of a-holes, the nice guys gain a little steam over the hot guys with ego problems.

What I didn’t understand about this whole discussion was why it is so unfathomable to think that there are guys out there who have it all, who is smokin hot (in our own estimation—we’ve all heard the expression one woman’s trash is another one’s treasure!), smart, caring, successful, nice, and funny. I mean, guys expect women to be all of these things at once, why should we expect any less than total satisfaction from our partners? To me, the undercurrent of the discussion was that lady #2 was trying to reassure lady #1 that it was ok to settle, that everyone does when they reach a certain age, while lady #1 was really saying I’m not settling, everyone just thinks I am.

I don’t condone settling at any age, and let’s be serious here at the bar I was at, these women were much too young to be having a discussion like that. But it’s a phenomenon that I’ve been noticing a lot lately, smart, beautiful and hilarious women are settling down with these guys who are just total losers (I’m talking not cute, not successful, not good father figures, none of the above). Now, I think we’re still all young enough to date guys who may not be “the one” just to have some fun. But there’s a difference between dating guys who might not be perfect and making a loser your boyfriend.

To quote Tina Fey “I believe in romantic love.” That might make me seem sappy, but if he doesn’t turn you on, make you smile, and work hard enough to help support a family you might want down the line, then what’s the point of wasting too much of your time? Especially when I’m convinced that there are much better guys with many more of the qualities you’re looking for around every bend. We’re young. We’re free. Why sell yourself short?

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