Lately, despite being quite happy as a single person, I’ve been thinking about couples a lot.
As I say, I don’t mind being on my own and it actually gives me a good chance to figure out what I like to do, what interests me etc. which may become difficult with a partner. Moreover, I often lose my concentration when I’m with someone and for the next year or two I can see myself needing to concentrate big time.
But that doesn’t mean I’m one of these sour people who hates to see happiness in others. I really like seeing couples and knowing that they feel safe and loved and happy. It gives me a vicarious warmth to know that they’re feeling fine; maybe they’re in love and maybe they’re not, but it’s still nice to see.
You don’t see it so much in Japan, as there’s not a great deal of PDA (public displays of affection) and people guard their relationships like secrets. Tokyo was a bit different as I saw quite a bit of hand holding and even some kisses, but nonetheless, it can be surprising. There does seem to be less pressure here, though. Yes, there are group dates, blind dates and arrangements made, but certainly for my age group it is different. When getting to know someone, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is if you have a boyfriend. This always seemed a bit prying, but I suppose you wouldn’t know otherwise.
There’s more independence from partners, so there’s less pressure to feel intimate and the lack of PDA means that other people aren’t going to compare their relationship to yours so readily. Perhaps that is why the UK tends to worry about finding a good relationship at a young age and lays way for feelings of inadequacy if you can’t. Maybe I’m over-generalising, but that’s what I’m thinking about lately.
I also think that, as cliché as it sounds, television is to blame. We grow up idolising characters from various shows, whole fan clubs come together over so-and-so’s collarbone, who’s-that-guy-again’s winning smile… but it’s rare that these idols are our own age. Most actors that play high school students are in their mid to late twenties- of course they’re going to be more mature and appear to have their life together!
I may as well admit that most of my celebrity crushes are in their forties and twice my age. It kind of puts a cog in the imaginative works. Daydreams of chance encounters get a little touch-and-go when, four dreams down the line, you have to introduce them to your parents and start worrying that maybe the true story you want to tell is how you were the catalyst for him to get with your mother.
(My dream-mother may have left my father and taken Julian Rhind-Tutt from me, but what really got to me was our lovely house with the red door feeling so empty without him.)
It was with some misplaced pride that I realised that my strongest celebrity crush is actually only 9 years older than me! It makes me more hopeful of finding someone like him in real-life and not worrying about wives and children.
Why do I bring this up? If I find someone attractive I don’t tend to do the obsessive fan thing, but I do like to see if they’re married. It links back to the vicarious joy mentioned earlier, but if they’ve been married for seven years and have two children, then these people are probably pretty happy in life and love.
Recently, I’ve also been checking when these people meet the love of their lives, whether that’s The One or the first serious relationship. Often, it is in their late twenties or their thirties and it grounds me, making me realise that I am for all intents and purposes, knee-high to a grasshopper and still have a lot of growing left to do before being taken seriously. Just because there’s no interest right now, doesn’t mean I won’t find someone later in life and when I do, it’ll probably be at the right time.
I’m going to leave you with a quote from Alyson Hannigan about meeting Alexis Denisof when she was 25.