Alone Versus Lonley

(I apologize in advance for the superfluous amount of gifs.) 

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Gif supplied by Giphy

There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. When you're single (and happy about it), there's those totally awesome nights when you have absolutely nowhere to be. You can literally lounge around in sweats and a baggy sweatshirt giving zero fucks and watching Lost in Austen for the first time--I may or may not be recapping my own last Friday night.

There's no obligation to be anywhere, to pretend your life is together in order to convince some guy that you're not really an insane person, butyou and I both know that on some level, we're all just one bad day away from a full-on 2007 Brittany breakdown.

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Gif supplied from Giphy

So there's being alone, and then there's being lonely.

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Gif supplied by Giphy

When the majority of your friends are in relationships, like this...you tend to err on the side of lonely.

Gifs supplied by Giphy

Gifs supplied by Giphy

So awkward right?

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Gif supplied by Giphy

In order to remedy my frequently fluctuating lonely state, I go through spurts where I decide to actually date. It never ends well. (Clearly. A happy person wouldn't be able to write this.)

A few moths back, I was in such a state when I agreed to participate in a "casual dating experience." (Not recommended. Read "Casual Dating: Fact or Fiction" for a truly cautionary tale.) Almost as soon as I was matched with this guy, I reverted back to my happy-to-be-alone state: I really can't be in a relationship right now. I'm moving, then studying abroad. I just need to focus on me right now--I'm not exaggerating. This is my exact thought process every time I meet a guy.

But is there ever really a good time to get into a new relationship? Probably not. Don't they always say that you meet someone when you stop looking? And if you're not looking, then it's probably not a great time to be in a relationship, because otherwise, why would you not be looking? 

In these spurts of depression (usually lasting one to two nights, and recurring every three or four weeks), I rejoin the ranks of Tinder. I know what you're all thinking, wasn't there a woman recently murdered by her Tinder date?

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Gif supplied by Giphy

Yes. Yes, there was a woman murdered by her Tinder date. But the reality of my experience with Tinder is purely digital. I've never actually met up with a Tinder guy. It's not that I haven't met guys with potential, because they're certainly on there. But I've never taken the leap of giving one of these eligible single a true chance. And you know why?

You want to know my discrepancy with it? It's the lack of story. Yeah. My objection is not that I could be sliced Julianne into teeny pieces. It's that meeting a guy on Tinder just isn't the story I want to tell my children. (Let's move from being shallow, shall we?)

I know, I know. It should just matter that we met at all. And that’s a super valid argument. And as I’ve previously established with all of you, I struggle with romance. The grand gestures of yesteryear don’t seem to hold the same place in our society. We read about them, sure. But can we handle them when they actually happen is another question.

With a no-nonsense mentality like mine, shouldn’t online dating work for a mind that already knows what it’s looking for? It’s basically like flipping through a magazine of age-appropriate men and folding down the pages on items I want to buy. If you can online shop, can’t you online date?

But I’m a sucker for a good story. My friend meeting her delicious Irishman in a little ice cream shop in Dublin. A blind date turned marriage (my parents). A double date that introduced my grandparents, now celebrating 60+ years of marriage. Meeting a man with a quizzical brow at the ball in Meryton and eventually falling in love after he saves my family’s reputation and restores my sister’s happiness–okay, that one is fictional. Damn Darcy, always screwing with my perceptions of reality vs. fantasy.

I can totally understand why Jane Hayes felt like she needed to escape to Austenland. And talk about meet-cutes! I don’t know if the rest of you are significantly more intuitive than I was when I first watched it, but I lovedthe character of Martin. I didn’t pick up that he was the Wickham for quite some time.

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Gif supplied by Giphy

I guess I’m just an idiot or something because after I’ve watched it (insert a number I’m embarrassed to admit), it’s quite obvious that it follows the P&P love storyline. 

In the beginning, Martin seemed so unexpected, so naturally charming, so “outside the fantasy” to quote Ms. Erstwhile–up until they revealed that he was just another actor, I was totally shipping them. Even when he overreacted to her flirting with the actors. I mean, look at them. Could you blame her?

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Gif supplied by Giphy

In the end, she gets the best story--the real-life Darcy experience. If only such a place existed. I would hop on a plane this instant if I could be guaranteed a night in a ballroom. Hell, I'd just like to see what I'd look like in a 19th-century gown.

But (after I've spent the past few paragraphs on my own little tangent), this all ties back to being alone vs. being lonely. I think we all reach a point when we're ready to let love and relationships happen. I don't really believe all that "it happens when you stop looking" stuff. If I'm not looking, how am I supposed to ever meet my Mr. Darcy? 

Because if I'm not actively trying to talk to and/or meet guys, I don't; that's just a fact of my life. And as you know, I have basically zero male friends. If I'm not out with friends, I'm usually at home writing or watching New Girl (hence all the gifs) on Netflix or reading--my latest obsession is Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist. I mean, I don't think there are eligible young men lounging around my living room, but maybe I'm not just seeing them?

Thankfully, in my bouts of loneliness, I have Austen to keep me company. But perhaps she is the very root of my problem. I spend my nights snuggling with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Tilney, and I forget what it's like to have a nonfictional relationship. I won't give him up, though. I have my expectations and standards, be they unrealistic and high.

If there's one thing I've learned from blogging and talking with all of you, it's that each of us not only deserves a Mr. Darcy, but will eventually find our own version of him. So for now, we have to rally through the harder times, the times when love seems not only unlikely but unimaginable, and have faith that Mr. Darcy will come--hopefully in the rain, so I can have a post-modern moment of Colin Firth's wet shirt scene.

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Gif supplied by Giphy