Whore Magazine Logo

Should Our Goal be Finding ‘The One’?

 

Guest Blog by Ginger, Editor of Whore Magazine

There is an increasing trend going on in the midst of global expansion and turmoil — the rise of the Single Ladies. As the economic platform shifts towards honoring jobs traditionally held by women and a higher percentages of female college graduates compared to their male counterparts, the need to put a ring on it is becoming less imperative. However, that has not stopped many a lady from wanting her cake and eating it too.

Or more importantly, it seems that those who derive a profit from the longing for love have redoubled their efforts to prove to us that our main goal should be finding The One.

It is a concept as familiar as commercial jingles, as ubiquitous as the bright candy coloring of a rom-com, and as insufferable as a teenager shouting, “No one understands me.” The One is the new shorthand for the idea of the soul mate, that perfect person who completes you.

It is unclear when The One became so common; it seems to have cropped up in the ’90s, but “soul mate” is a least as old as Plato. According to his dialogue, The Symposium, humans originally had four arms, four legs, a single head made of two faces and both genitals. Just a little too powerful, these early human hermaphrodites pissed off the gods and as punishment, were split apart and doomed to die. Thankfully, Apollo took pity on these baleful souls and sewed up a new version of them with only one set of stuff and a belly button as a reminder of what was once whole. As a result, we are still, to this day, forever on the hunt for our other half.

But how to know when you’ve found your soulmate? So says Aristophanes, “When the two find each other, there is an unspoken understanding of one another, that they feel unified and would lay with each other in unity and would know no greater joy than that.” It’s a marvelous idea and terribly comforting. Oh those belly butterflies and fireworks and signifying portents. All those supposed clues that this time it’s for real, that in all the world, two people are ordained to fit together like puzzle pieces.

It sounds good, sure, but it’s all a load of hooey. I don’t buy it, not even for a penny. Not anymore. I used to be one of the worst devotees, believing that finding a perfect love would solve everything. I was helped in this belief. Perfect love is marketed to us in exactly the same way as the perfect car or the perfect laundry soap, and it continues to fuel record sales, movie deals, and bulk shipments of vodka. The relentless propagandist fury with which The One is advertised also disregards the fact that being on our own can be incredibly fulfilling. We won’t ever find perfect unity with another person (go on, I dare you to show me one couple who has found this). But we can love and be loved. We can help each other feel less afraid. We can recognize the real beauty in that person sitting across from us. Be it a family member, friend or lover. Focusing on finding The One inhibits our acceptance of being in our life on our own terms.

Being on our own, in whatever capacity, does have its difficult moments and I know full well the peculiar terror and loneliness that can erupt. Wanting that special someone is a perfectly normal hankering but one that can also leave us very vulnerable to destructive advice. Particularly, retro, anti-feminist advice available in hardcopy or paperback via Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneiders’ The Rules. Their series of books that claim to have the sure fire method for nabbing Mr. Right.

Some of the rules are:

Be honest but mysterious
Don’t stare at men or talk too much
Don’t talk to a man first (and don’t ask him to dance)

When there are so many women fighting to achieve gains in political, economic and social power, these rules are not only ineffective, they contribute to an underlaying societal sickness that we, as women, are still defined by our relationship status. The Rules are a false and limpid stand-in for the only thing that can actually contribute to enjoying a healthy, loving relationship or our individual existence– self respect.

Joan Dideon wrote in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, “to have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference. If we do not respect ourselves, we are on the one hand forced to despise those who have so few resources as to consort with us, so little perception as to remain blind to our fatal weaknesses. On the other, we are peculiarly in thrall to everyone we see, curiously determined to live out — since our self-image is untenable — their false notions of us.” Also says Dideon, “to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves — there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.”

Love does not solve all problems nor heal all wounds, it is simply a grace of life, one of many. The movement that told women that they didn’t need a man to define them was not made up of a bunch of hairy arm-pitted, raised fist man-haters. Those women fought for us to have a greater opportunity to cultivate our character and pursue our unique vision of happiness. They believed, as do I, that, as Simone de Beauvoir wrote: “On the day when it will be possible for woman to love not in her weakness but in strength, not to escape herself but to find herself, not to abase herself but to assert herself — on that day love will become for her, as for man, a source of life and not a mortal danger.”

A few years ago, I finally accepted the fact that I might end my days alone, possible wearing colorful muu-muus and harassing teenagers on the bus or maybe pruning the orange trees outside my villa. It used to be that thinking about being old and alone absolutely terrified me, but after challenging all of that deep longing in my soul for a person to complete me, in fact, killing it with a vigorous fury, I suddenly found delight in contemplating the idea. It was with a profound sense of relief, freedom even, to live my days as they were. Days filled with projects, friends, books, sun slanted afternoons and yes from time to time, an enlivening amorous adventure.  I no longer went to events with just a little extra lipstick on or wearing those particularly uncomfortable heels just in case I met someone promising. I went to the event because of the art or the music or simply because sometimes it is nice to be out in the world.

Partnerships can be great. They also come with their own host of challenges. I am not advocating that women disregard relationships all together but it is high time that we revel in the truth that those feisty feminists of old really did succeed — we no longer require marriage (or its equivalent) to live a life full of achievement, connection and celebration. We have indeed, come a long way baby!

About Whore Magazine:

Whore magazine is a quarterly print publication dedicated to celebrating the current and historical qualities of women who have defined a role for themselves outside the status quo. Through written word, art, design, fashion, and music, Whore! magazine creates dialogue about what women are as opposed to what traditional society has dictated they should be. Whore! delves into issues largely untouched by mass media while reclaiming a derogatory word that has long been used to censure those who would desire, express, resist, or simply take a different path. By recognizing those women, both modern and historical, who strive for experience rather than conventional “goodness,” and continue to fight an age-old battle against expectation, Whore! explores important facets of culture, sexuality, ascendancy, shame, history, and the right to be.

Whore Magazine can be purchased on www.whoremagazine.net

2 thoughts on “Should Our Goal be Finding ‘The One’?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *