We’ve Romanticized Love According to This Comedian
A wake-up call for the hopeless romantics
It’s happened enough times for me to notice a pattern in the works. It happened in high school and again in college. It’s happened a few times after that, too, that my friends sort of stop talking to me when they get caught up in a relationship. I’m not jaded enough to think that any time a friend starts dating or hooking up with a guy that it’s the beginning of the end, but I’d be lying if I say don’t brace myself a little. There’s a certain point when the pattern stops being coincidental and logical instead, and well, logic doesn’t lie, does it?
As the honorary NBSB friend of absolutely any friend group (and happily so), I get that I’m not exactly the best person to talk to about relationships. Sure, I get that occasional surge of kilig from time to time, but for the most part I can be pretty stone-faced about romantic interests. I understand that being on the receiving end of that doesn’t exactly make it fun or easy to share tales of one’s romantic pursuits, so I really don’t blame my friends for the eventual radio silence.
After all, it’s only natural that they fall into the rhythm of love and find a partner to complete them for the rest of their lives, right?
Maybe. Or maybe not.
That’s what society, most parents, and every Disney princess story produced before Frozen like to teach us. A life-long love is the key to happiness. The final ingredient. The light at the end of the tunnel. But are they really?
This is Daniel Sloss, a stand-up comedian whose stage piece entitled Jigsaw has supposedly broken up thousands of couples. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of this guy’s delivery and the way he writes off couples who post cute photos and sweet captions as people essentially rubbing their relationships in single peoples’ faces (the world doesn’t revolve around you or the rest of us single people, Daniel, damn), but I will recognize that Jigsaw does drive a hard point.
In his Netflix special, Sloss shares an analogy his father had once used to explain the meaning of life to a 7-year-old him. “None of us know what the image is of our jigsaw. So we are confidently guessing. The best way to do a jigsaw when you don’t have the image is to start with the outside edges, the sides and the corners: family, friends, hobbies, job.” All of this, shares his father, goes towards finding the partner piece. “You want this perfect person you’ve never met before to come into your life out of nowhere, to fit your life perfectly, complete you, make you whole for the first time in your life. Much like your mother did for me.”
That ending is sweet, sure, but also kind of poisonous.
So many of us try to find the one so early and so desperately, and not because we’re desperate. We’re shaped by our surroundings and if society tells us from childhood that a happy relationship is the highlight of our entire human existence, then people are bound to believe it. We let ourselves fall into bad relationships and stay in unhappy ones because through all of that, this person must be my person, right? After all that work, this piece must be my partner piece.
Thankfully, it’s 2019 and the tides are turning. There are shows and songs and movies that tell us there is no perfect life plan, and that that’s okay. Men and women are realizing that it’s okay to be the Summer in (500) Days of Summer and that it’s also fine to be the America Ferrera in your jean-bonded sisterhood (okay, I’m only referencing the first movie). People date around for fun, are unabashed about their mixed feelings on marriage.
Millennials, despite how much I dislike that umbrella term, are redefining relationships. The Gottman Institute, which provides a research-based look into marriage, recognizes that there’s been a major cultural shift between the current and past generations. In an article entitled How Millennials Are Redefining Marriage, they break down this reshuffling of perspectives into three points: millennials questioning the institution of marriage itself, placing personal needs and values first and having a strengthened sense of self.
Now that’s what I like to hear.
Perhaps it’s because I’m still wearing my special snowflake blanket of singularity since birth that I think this way, but shouldn’t it be of utmost importance that a relationship is good for both parties involved? Call it wishful thinking, but what’s the point of a relationship if it isn’t mutually beneficial for both people’s goals, considerate of both their values, and fuel for the happiness of the both of them?
For the most part, Sloss seems to think that love and romance are unachievable constructs, illusions that you’ll snap out of eventually. He says otherwise in interviews, yes, but it’s always tinged with bitterness. I mean, he keeps tabs on the number of couples he breaks up, for crying out loud. Unlike Sloss, I think romance is a beautiful, real thing––just not quite the be-all and end-all.
The idea that a relationship needs to be my life’s piece de resistance will probably always feel this way to me. This way meaning dated and traditionalist and like it’s being pushed down my throat by force, I mean. There’s someone out there for me, that much I’m sure of.
But if anyone thinks that all this hard work is for him? Oh, honey.
Art Alexandra Lara