Dork-o-Rama: The Random Thoughts of a Total Goofball

Embracing the Dork Side....Because Life is Too Short to Take Yourself Too Seriously

Friday, March 05, 2010

Yup, it's tough alright...

I sometimes watch some really bad television. Not as much as I once did, but still. Some of these shows are unbelievably ridiculous. Some are downright outrageous.

Case in point: "Tough Love," which recently wrapped up its second season. I'll let VH1 describe its show for you:

"Handsome, cocky and smart, Steven Ward is America's maestro of love. His brutally honest approach to matchmaking is what has made him and his mother Joann Ward one of the most successful matchmaking teams in the country. Steven has the balls to tell women not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear to find love.

The series revolves around "VH1 Tough Love Boot Camp," where Steven works with a group of eight single, attractive women living together in a house for eight weeks to change their dating ways. Steven guarantees that if they follow his rules then by the end of the eight weeks they will be ready for love. But there's a method to Steven's madness. Steven's methodology consists of his rules of dating. Steven's rules are bold, insightful, and often hilarious. But most of all they offer an unapologetic glance into the male mind. The core of the series is Steven revealing the truth about what men really think when it comes to dating and women.

The women in this boot camp are desperate and single, but can't figure out why."

Desperate and single.


Because if you're a single woman, you must by definition be desperate, right?

Where do I begin? I'll start with what prompted this post. On an episode in season two, Steve had the desperate, single women meet with some older, desperate, single (some widowed) women to get a glimpse of what their futures would be like if they didn't settle down with a man soon. They were filled with regrets over some of their choices, and about the paths their lives had taken. Here is what the ballsy, cocky matchmaker said:

"I didn't want the girls to be afraid of growing old, but I do want them to be afraid of growing old alone." (Emphasis mine)

I actually gasped at that and had to watch that episode again to make sure I'd heard him correctly. Really? REALLY? This is the message women are supposed to take to heart? I mean, yeah, he's a matchmaker, and its in his best financial interests to keep perpetuating this notion. But what a horribly damaging thing to say, even on a cheesy cable dating show.

A few years ago, after several rounds of lame dates, it dawned on me that I might never find the partner I seek. And unlike what Steve, our cocky matchmaker suggests about most single women, I don't think that what I'm seeking is that outrageous. In fact, I think I have a pretty open mind about potential partners.

But I also realized that it was up to me, and me alone, to create a life that I find fulfilling even if I don't find the right guy. I'd been putting some things off - like traveling more - in large part because I didn't have anyone to travel with. That had to end, and I'm pleased that it has.

Here's what's amazing to me: the life I have now actually largely resembles the life I'd envisioned for myself when I was an adolescent, dreaming about what I wanted my life to be once I escaped the blah suburbs of SoCal. No one is more surprised by that than I, especially considering how unhappy I once was.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating - how horrifying would it be to get to the end of your life and feel like there was something fundamental missing? That you hadn't done the things you wanted to? I don't want that. And I really don't want to be in a relationship just because I'm supposed to be afraid to be alone. I will not settle for anything less than real, true love...and yes, I know what that feels like. There's nothing else like it.

I've been lonely alone, and lonely together (that was what much of my marriage was like) and believe me, the latter is far worse. There's nothing lonelier than being in a relationship that's dying a slow, painful death. And I may be single now, but I'm rarely lonely. One thing I've learned in the years since my divorce is that I have many amazing people in my life upon whom I can call when I need them. I'm really lucky. And I've also found that I enjoy my own company, and like doing some things on my own, even though I'm also quite a social animal (the two sides of my Gemini-ness, I suppose!).

So is my life any less valid than that of someone who's married and has kids? Seems like it, in our couples-centric culture. And don't even get me started on the idea that Valentine's Day was supposed to send me into this deep spiral of bitterness and regret because I'm single. Sorry, folks... it didn't. I love love. I love celebrating love.

And I'm blessed with a great deal of love in my life. It just doesn't look like what our culture seems to think it's suppposed to look like.

(Here's another single woman's take on singlehood. It's awesome.)

At 07 March, 2010 06:09, Blogger Callie said...

You go, girl. I have several single friends who feel this exact way. I'm married with kids but I love my single friends and have no desire to set them up if they don't want it. Single life can be so satisfying. Ha! My best friend is single and she was in the delivery room when I gave birth to my second baby and she confirmed that it caused to her to appreciate her singleness even more. LOL!

At 08 March, 2010 18:37, Blogger M Hastings said...

Good for you!

At 11 March, 2010 11:42, Blogger Ernest said...

I just found your blog and really like it! I write about bad TV sometimes too. Tough Love is hilarious. Most of the women are single because they are shallow, skanky, gold digging brats (not that there is anything wrong with that). I'm 41 and have never been married, and society constantly tries to make me feel like an outcast, but I love my freedom! I look forward to reading your blog in the future.

At 17 March, 2010 09:17, Blogger Lisa said...

Great blog and well written :-)


At 20 March, 2010 15:35, Blogger The Savage said...

I'm still single.. just saying.. you know.. in case I get out to that area of the country... ;)

At 21 March, 2010 17:58, Blogger Roland D. Yeomans said...

Here's another take on the single life : it beats the merde out of the single death.

Is it just me, or do the majority of the people around you sleepwalk their exisitence? Caught up in comfortable routines, ensnared in what the media culture says is the norm, shackled to the expectations of others who would bristle if you asked them to live up to your expectations, the people around us never truly live THEIR lives, only the lives others expect them to live.

I hope you don't mind a wandering cyber-pilgrim saying HI on his way through blogville.

If you feel daring, you might want to visit my blog, My latest post has a music video of ABBA {yes, I'm that ancient} singing EAGLE with some breathtaking BBC photography.

Have a healing week. And thanks for the fascinating and amusing post. Roland

At 28 March, 2010 10:41, Blogger The Savage said...

You're pretty!
word verification: artiest

At 01 April, 2010 00:24, Blogger Mike said...


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At 07 April, 2010 09:13, Blogger Raisa said...

I really admire your take on love. It's refreshing to see someone with a different outlook.

At 08 April, 2010 17:47, Blogger G said...

I admire the energy that radiates from your blog. You have gained a mountain of wisdom in your still very young life. I love the attitude you have on relationships and happiness.

At 25 April, 2010 07:19, Blogger cwitgo said...

I just found your blog and started following. I love it. My favorite quote is this, "When I get to the end of my life I want to know I didn't just live the length of it. I want to know I lived the width of it as well." I truly believe that we should strive for that goal. Keep going! I'll keep reading.

At 05 May, 2010 22:40, Blogger Eva said...

this is refreshing, i love it. i may be younger than you but i feel the same! and i understand how others make you feel like you should be missing something if you're single! no-one ever believes you're truly single and happy! i love your outlook on life :)


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