Blogs / Features

Finding Love in a (Semi)Hopeless Place: A Valentine to Carrie Bradshaw, Hampshire College, and Gin

by Eli Plenk – I’ve always been happy being single, but valentines day seems to find a way to make even the most securely unhitched feel woefully inadequate.  Not wanting to spend another February 14th drowning my sorrows with wine and bad television, I decided to make plans with other single friends to get a drink on the loneliest night of the year.  Sitting at Amherst Coffee amidst couples casually sipping fine whiskey and students in committed relationships with their laptops, we joked about Samatha Jones, lamented Div life, and debated whether fifteen year olds can actually be called writers.  But each was—in a sense—a topical avoidance of the deeper collective thought lingering at the very back of our minds: why don’t we have someone?

“It’s not like I would even wanna make a big deal out of it” my friend Lisa said, “but getting takeout, watching a movie and having sex would be nice.”  Usually I would balk at such comments, remarking that I can do all those things without dating someone, but the sentimentality was getting to me and as I sipped warm gin and ginger I thought how nice, how comfortable, something like that could be.

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Lisa’s comment made me think about what love means to people my age; what it does. We’re at point in our lives where nothing seems secure, a moment in which we feel small and see the future looming large just beyond May 18th.  In this context love is sort of the best and the worst.  Many of us are desperately searching for something or someone to hold onto, but also excited by our ability to move unmoored through this word.  Being in a relationship could feel wonderful right now, but it’s hard for me to commit to something like that when the idea of committing to a city or a job or even a TV show feels like giving up some of my youthful spontaneity.  However at a time when everything feels like it’s quickly crumbling to the ground I’ve come to appreciate relationships in a new way.  I’m still suspicious of them, but the idea of having a valentine to make you chocolate chip raspberry pancakes in the morning does sound nice.  Like Lena Dunham in that awful episode of Girls, perhaps I all I want is what everyone else wants.

“Today felt like the first valentines day of my adult life” Tim said, “I don’t remember it being this big a deal in the past few years.”  Though Tim is known for his tipsy grandiose statements, this one seemed thoroughly on point.  Today did feel somehow more significant, and not in a bad way.  I’ve almost always been single on Valentine’s Day and often felt sad or bitter as a result.  A familiar, almost comforting, loneliness did set in by mid-afternoon, but it was not accompanied by angst, just uncertainty.  This V-day felt calmer and more stable than Februaries past, like I was actually in control of my life and my feelings.  Panicked, I realized that I might be growing up and took a few more shots.

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