Somehow it has entirely escaped me, the most obvious rule of single living. That is: she who takes dating advice from her single girlfriends is exemplifying "blind leading the blind". Lately I'm realizing that I need to rustle up the advice I take from my MARRIED girlfriends. Or at least those who have boyfriends or, in many cases, the 3+ date sequence. My terminal daters, while lovely human beings, may *not* be optimal for doling out advice. I mean, you ask Paula Deen for her recipes, not Kate Bosworth, right?
Married friends feel they become irrelevant after they nuptualize-themselves away from Saturday nights spent getting all dressed up for nothing. They listen to our dating stories and feel like they don't have a full grasp of what we're going through (we=single people, because yes, I speak for them ALL). But you do remember. We just forget to ask you!
We usually just ask each other. Part of it is that sometimes it feels like if you talk with a single friend, you both learn from it. It's one of those rare conversations where it's about you but the other person feels like they get something out of it, more than just waiting for their turn to talk. Everyone can learn!
But problems exist with the current state of affairs. One such problem that needs to be highlighted (and I may even be guilty of?) is the Membership Obstacle. Which is: you kinda need a quorum in order for being single to still be cool. If everyone is coupled off except you, then you become the creepy aunt-uncle. You become the third (or thirteenth) wheel. So while you want your friends to be happy, you don't want them to be TOO happy, ie. married/dating/disappeared. Or you want *just enough* of them to be happily paired off that you still have a pool of people to choose from when making your plans for this weekend. So while we all do our best to avoid being selfish, the undercurrent of mixed motives is there.
Secondly, when the dating banter begins, we quickly forget that our single friend has his/her own set of criteria. It's probably part of why he or she is still single- they have the laundry list and hasn't found the guy who fits it all. And when she gives you advice, she is probably superimposing HER lengthy list on YOUR lengthy list. So now instead of me looking for just a guy who is "Teva-averse", I need to look for a guy who is "Teva-averse" (for me) AS WELL AS "no prominent forehead veins". Veins might be fine for me but my friend will have a bias upon finding out my beloved sports them. Just like if she brings her Mr. Perfect in front of me and he's rocking socks with Tevas, I'm going to give her advice based on the fact that I'm a mandal (man-sandal)-hater, even though she didn't ask. We operate from the mindset we're in.
Likewise, we might approve of funky behaviors just because we do them too and by ratifying another person doing it, we are therefore more normal than ever. I'd insert an example here, but it would be too self-incriminating.
Those are just a few of the problem points with our current single-conferencing behavior. I'm sure there are many more I'm not even aware of because I'm so freakin entrenched in them.
When you take a step back, you suddenly realize that singles advising each other is a truly weird phenomenon. In no other world would a rookie ask another rookie. It's the same reason athletes are coached by guys with championship rings and not some beer-bellied guy in his armchair with Cheetos breath. Everyone has an opinion, sure, but you gotta be smart about whose you take.
I think this really brings it back to my new Sex and the City Theorem. If the girls didn't brunch and dissect things every single weekend, if they didn't call each other after every hookup, date, or night out, would things have been different? Would Miranda give a guy the time of day if Carrie wasn't there to roll her eyes to? Would they possibly have dated more if they spent a LITTLE less time having a lunch of estrogen with a side salad?
Guys always say that women are hard to approach in groups at the bar. And now I'm wondering if this is part of it. Maybe by talking amongst ourselves we end up focusing on the wrong things. And more to the point, maybe we make ourselves "exponentially single" by hanging out in flocks.
I'm still working out my thoughts on this (and awaiting Jon's), but I have to admit: Lately, when I need some guy advice or just a dating pep talk, I find myself dialing the houses with kids running around in the background a little more often. And if the mom isn't home, the kid probably knows more than me anyhow, so let's chat.