I was having a flat week when my sister dragged me to the film How to be single starring home-grown Australian talent, Rebel Wilson. Amidst digesting yet another douche-bag disappointment, I was angry at the bitter, twisted irony of the laws of attraction. You want them, but they don’t want you. Or visa-versa. Regardless, I didn’t need to be subjected to yet another Hollywood film that starts off with so much promise only to end in a predictable happily-ever-after cliché.
But sometimes when you set your sights really low, you can be pleasantly surprised. Apart from laughing so hard I kept slapping my sister’s arm, there is wisdom in this Hollywood flick.
The protagonist, Alice, always in relationships, is recently single to find who she is. Her sister, Meg, is a shutdown career-obsessed doctor who refuses to buy into the idea that women need a baby to complete themselves. Tom is the cute bar owner/player whose motto is: “If you’re looking for ‘the one’, that’s not me. But if you’re looking for ‘the one’ to have fun with, I’m your man’. Lucy has a spreadsheet algorithm to increase her chances of finding a boyfriend through online dating, and David is the closed-off single dad. And last but not least, Robin (Rebel Wilson) is a non-stop party animal/paralegal who wears her promiscuity like a badge of honour.
You keep putting yourself in the same situations, repeating the same damaging patterns, smashing your head against the wall again and again.
Apart from at times feeling like the script was slightly underdeveloped, there was still enough there to have me question my perspective. And that’s the hallmarks of a good film, when it can move you emotionally, or empower you. Just like real life, each character in the film had their own path and trajectory, reaching an apex where something had to give. We’ve all been there. You keep putting yourself in the same situations, repeating the same damaging patterns, smashing your head against the wall again and again.
Let’s be honest. The dating world is cut throat. You’re single and you don’t want to be. Yet maybe that’s the flaw, right there. Alice alludes to this in the opening of the film “This story isn’t about relationships. It’s about all the stuff in between, where maybe, just maybe, our real life is happening”.
Shifting your perspective on your single status can be empowering. It shouldn’t be ‘oh, no, why am I single, what’s wrong with me?’ Maybe what’s wrong with you is that you think something is wrong with you and that finding someone will fix that. Instead, maybe take the view that your time, your single time, is special and unique. It’s a time to be cherished, where you can do all those things that wouldn’t hold the same value if you did them with a partner, because in doing them on your own, as a single person, you are learning about and nurturing a relationship with the most important person in your life: you.
Shifting your perspective on your single status can be empowering.
Too often we sweep our wants under the carpet, forget who we are and fall into what Robin calls “d—k sand. It’s like quick sand, but with d—ks” when a guy pays us some attention. But in getting to know yourself and valuing the time for just you, you develop your single muscles, and become more certain of who you are. The key is to put this development as a priority, making you more discerning in the dating game, and less likely to hand over your heart and the slightest bit of male attention, something I am guilty of doing.
Sometime when my friends are all tied up and I can’t go out partying, it’s easy to fall into the trap of loneliness and sadness. But all you may need is a little nudge, a shift in perspective, and you will find the courage to reach over and pick up that book you’ve wanted to read for ages. Enjoy the silence because life delivers change unexpectedly, and before you know it, you may never be single again, and you’ll be dreaming of the days it was just you and the dancefloor and completely and utter freedom.
The best responses to annoying relationship questions
Have you found a boyfriend yet?
No, I’m my own partner-in-crime at the moment, and I’m really enjoying it.
Have you thought it’s time to settle down?
I’m not sure what you mean by ‘settle down’. Can you please explain that concept to me?
You’ll find a man one day, just keep putting yourself out there.
Yes, there are many men in this world. I’m not sure what you’re getting at.
You’re not getting any younger and the clock’s ticking.
I’ll just run down to Coles and pick up a pre-prepared husband and baby
Koraly Dimitriadis is a freelance columnist, poet, writer, actor, performer, screenmaker and author of Love and F**k Poems.