A few months back I received the strangest DM. It was an invitation to apply for a dating show that sends six American girls abroad to find their soulmates, girls who know their future partner isn’t in the United States. I immediately wrote it off as a scam and continued along my way.
And then I got an email from the production company asking me to apply again. I actually Googled the production company and found it to be totally legit. I’m going to be totally honest, this email sent me into a frenzy of excitement. The prospect of participating in what I can only think of as a British version of the Bachelorette was thrilling. It took a little while before I started asking myself the bigger questions surrounding participation in a reality show, like would I really want to make out with guys on camera?
The email outlined the show in vague terms, but I got the gist. They would send me to England to wine and dine pre-selected British men–obviously not my fantasy at all.
I immediately begin dreaming about living in London and meeting adorable Brits. The fashion opportunities alone have me kvelling (which is Yiddish for “to be delighted”). After all, as David Sedaris says in his nonfiction piece “I Like Guys.,” “Europe is the best thing that can happen to a person, especially if you like wine.”
I screenshotted the email and sent it to a bunch of friends, who all encouraged me to apply for the program (even though it shoots for six months, so I would’ve had to take my fall semester off of school).
With my adrenaline pumping and my romantic fantasies spiraling with each passing moment, I started looking through the production company’s application. The first page or so was what you’d expect. I’ve never applied for the Bachelorette, but I’m sure they follow similar guidelines. Applicants can specify what country your soulmate lives in (so England, obviously) and your ideal man’s eye color/height/hair color/after-work activities. This part was a bit of a turn-off for me because it felt like when I was a little girl and I went to Build-A-Bear with my mom. I think people can have types they’re attracted to, but I don’t like the idea of limiting yourself to that type. What if you’re really attracted to Spanish men, but you end up falling in love with a ginger Irishman? You can’t build your perfect man, or plan for him, either.
As I mulled over my ideal man’s attributes, I kept scrolling until I came to one question that stopped me in my tracks:
Why are you now ready to find your soulmate?
If I’m being totally honest, I’m not sure I am. I think if I met the person I’m supposed to end up with right now, I’d surely find a way of mucking it up. I’m only 20. There’s a lot of ambiguity when it comes to the next five years of my life. Two of my closest friends are engaged, so it’s not unrealistic for me to start thinking about dating with serious intentions–granted, I’ve nevernot dated with serious intentions. I just don’t understand the point of being in a relationship that is not going anywhere; it seems like a waste of time. I’m not going to spend my time and energy on a Wickham just because my Darcy hasn’t arrived to the ball yet.
Back to the application question for which I didn’t have an answer. I couldn’t think of one good reason why I’m now ready to find my soulmate. Has anything changed in my life that will allow me to be more open to letting someone in? Or am I still weary of intimacy?–be it romantic or emotional.
So I decided not to answer that question, or the application for that matter. I couldn’t possibly come up with a response that would justify taking the opportunity away from some other girl who has her own dating problems. I suppose I’m stuck looking for my Mr. Darcy the old-fashioned way: Tinder. Just kidding. I’m clearly going to run into him randomly at a bookstore, and he’s going to offer to buy my book for me. That is the way to capture a booknerd’s heart.