What if all the conventional wisdom about why you are single is wrong? Laura Prepon ("You And I, As Mothers") reads Sara Eckel's essay.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Modern love. The podcast is supported by produced by the Iowa W B. U R, Boston. From the New York Times and WB. You are Boston. This is modern love stories of love, loss and redemption. I'm your host Meghna Chakrabarti, the If you're dating right now, you know it's a whole new world, you might be trying to figure out which of your app matches is worth of virtual date. What the most flattering lighting is resume. Call. What small talk you make when you haven't left your apartment for a month,
might even be enough to make you nostalgic for what dating used to be, but this It s a as reminder that, even when you could date in person, finding the right person to be with has always been a challenge. Sir echo right about that in her essay. Sometimes it's not you or the Math Sarah's essays, read by Laura pre Pon Laura, is best known for her work. In that seventies. Show and orange is the new black, now she's out with a new book. It's called you and I, as mothers on my first date with mark. He asked how long it had been. Since my last relationship, I looked at the table. Stopping my hand around my beer. I always hated this question. It seems so brazenly evaluative and employment counselor inquiring about a gap
resonate a dental hygienist asking how often you ve lost. I knew he wasn't appraising me. We had worked together for two months and in this crowded bar we spoke with the easiness and candour good friends. He told me about the pain of his divorce for an answer. Strained the loneliness. He had been hanging around my office, sending flirty emails and most adorable to me and mortifying to him blushing. Whenever I spoke to him, he was kind of in the bag, but I still didn't answer.
One has to know the truth that I was thirty. Nine and hadn't has serious boyfriend. In eight years I had seen men bulk at this information before, even when the numbers were lower. They would look at me in a cool and curious way as if I were a restaurant with too few customers, a house that have been listed for too long one man actually said it what's wrong with you. I don't know I had answered, but your attractive he said, has if he wasn't sure anymore. I don't know what to tell you. I said I don't know why now face with marks innocent question. I hedged along time. I said quickly marketed and seem to notice the evasion he sipped his beer and we moved on to other topics, are coworkers Douglas Copeland off
Seattle and then on a street corner outside the bar to our first kiss. I knew I would eventually have to tell him, but not yet when my long ago date asked the question what's wrong with you. I was, of course outraged. I finished my drink, so I had to get up early, but honest
His question was no worse than the one I asked myself nearly every day. It wasn't full blown self loathing more, a hollowness that hit me in the chest at certain times, along subway ride, home from immediate ochre date, a phone conversation with a merry friend who suddenly said she had to go. Her husband just took the roast out of the oven. My solace came from a place where single women usually find it. My other single friends. We would gather and weaken nights swapping funny and tragic stories of her dismal dating lives, reassuring one another of our collect beauty, intelligence and kindness marvelling at the Idiot Sea of men who fail to see this in our friends mode
Lee. We would try to make sense of it all. Were our married friends really so much more desirable than we were once in a while. Someone would declare the married women were actually miserable that it was they who envied us, but this theory never got too far, we knew are married friends. What is which places with us? No matter how much they complained about their husbands. Of course, there were many popular books and television shows that these hell the lives of such but in those stories, adorable men constantly approach the heroines and parks. Thus bus stops and ask them to dinner the sitcom single woman is never alone for long. She skips from one man to the next changing boyfriends as frequently as she changes purses. My friends and I had a very estates and many relationships, but mostly we were alone, while
have us washed and enjoyed these shows and didn't entirely mine when people are market, our lives were just like the protagonists, the stereotyped they created, the over thirty man, hunting Singleton cast a shadow over us being an unattached woman who would rather not be somehow meant that you were nitwit a bubble head who had few concerns beyond shopping, petty cares and will. He call my friends and I had no interest in shopping or pedicures, but that didn't stop us from feeling wildly embarrassed that we longed for love. Admitting that you wanted a husband much less, that you were distraught, that you didn't have one seemed like a betrayal of feminism. We were supposed to be better than this
than any actual feminist said it was so awful to want a relationship. The emails we receives from now and planned parenthood focused on reproductive rights and equal pay, not dating a marriage professing a need for love could also be taken as evidence that you ready for it. One December night I was having drinks with a married male friend. He grew exasperated with my image: annoying complaints about having to spend yet another holiday season without a partner. Sarah, in almost every way you have it together, he said, but on this one topic, you turn into this ridiculous girl like single women everywhere. I had bought into the idea that the,
must be me that there was some essential flaw: arrogance, low self esteem, fare of commitment that needed to be fixed. I needed to be fixed as a freelance writer I couldn't afford at their best, but my job did give me access to some of the countries best mental health professionals. As I wrote articles on first dates and breakups, I interviewed psychology, professors and therapies shamelessly peppering the conversations with anecdotes from my own life. I was trying to get at the root of the problem for the benefit of womankind and for myself
I also talked a lot of self help. Others there was the tough love Mary Lady, who declared the key to finding a soul. Mate was to grow up quit whining and do something about your hair. There was the magical, soulmate finer who prescribes keeping a journal, long hikes, candlelight, bubble, bass and other Hocus Pocus, and then there was the man I e a moderately q guy. You wrote a book who gave insight or tips I had a hook For them, which involves not being critical and having long here so I grew my hair out. I took bubble baths and, of course, I started examining my issues was my failure or results of my late and commitment phobia. Cleverly mouse does really wants and commitment. As one helmet Herod expert implied,
Did I feel, inherently unworthy and broadcast that low self assessment to every man I met? Another gentle suggestion. Did my failure to love myself mean I was unable to love another or was I not positive enough? The experts agree that a positive attitude was very important to attracting men. I could see it sure, but this is not my strength. I believe global warming is real and Heaven is a fantasy. I believe people who think every happens for a reason must have never opened a newspaper some. I call it negative. I call it realistic. A lot of good things happen during my period of constructing Sarah to point out, I went to artists colonies, taught storytelling to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, adopted a rescue dog learned to do a handstand all
the banner of learning to love my single life, and I made sure that everybody knew my life was super duper awesome with without a man, my adorable partment, my fulfilling career, my amazing friend but I also knew I couldn't play their part too often less degree course conclude that my well oiled life left no room for love. As a male friend once told, Sometimes you see a woman who has her act together so well that you think what does she need me for my efforts yielded many friends and filled my calendar with fulfilling activities. I went on internet dates, speed dates.
and it's a great hair and a confident smile, but I was still alone in the dark of Saturday night. I still asked myself what's wrong with me mark and I did it for a month before revealed my shoddy relationship resume and when I did he shrugged lucky for me he said all those other guys were idiots and that was it to mark. I was not a problem to solve a puzzle that needed working out. I was the girl he was falling in love with, just as I was falling in love with him. Six years later, this past June, he and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary, my close friends, the ones with whom I shared my impromptu therapy sessions, had come to the wedding and a small Brooklyn Park and so had their husbands. Did we find love because we grew up, got real and work through our issues. Now we just found the right guy
is we found men who love us, even though we're still cranky and erotic haven't, got her careers together and sometimes talk too loudly drink too much and worth the television news we have grey hairs and unfashionable clothes and bad attitudes. They love us anyway, what's wrong with me plenty, but that was never the point The lower pre pawn reading Sarah Eccles essay- sometimes it's not you or the math- will catch up with Sarah. After the break the I love spelling bee my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together.
By together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry. It may have happened again, I have one friend I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words and I was getting nervous. I sent it to my parents or something like that me and my dad. We like to play fun together and I wish other out. I forgot to see it. J, a c k, P, o t jack. Yeah yeah now run nice, I'm same as earth's sky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games. At N Y Times dot com, Slash games, SARA Echols essay was published in two thousand and eleven. The response to it was
huge year that morning that first morning that it was published. I just woke up to a huge emo in box of people from all over the world. I think I remember the first, a male that I opened, which was from a young gay man in Brazil who said you're describing exactly. the feeling that I've had in the question that I've asked myself, which is what's wrong with me. It was quite overwhelming and really fascinating to me that so many people around the world. This question that I had felt was so personal to me. What's with me. Why can I make this happen? That question was so widespread, so many people were struggling with the same response Sarah and mark have been married for nearly ten years now they live in state New York with their cat. They bought a house, and Sarah says Mark reminds her to
all the things she should be doing every once in awhile. It's become a thing we're Saturday. We always just do something that where we accomplish absolutely nothing, that's really just for the fun of it. So that might mean driving to Albany and seeing a movie and going to dinosaur, barbecue or going the king and he has really taught me that cause every day. I would always make sure I was accomplishing something and now there's a one day a week that nothing really gets accomplished, and Sarah says she hopes listeners hear one central message of her peace. The world is telling you that you're, not okay, but I'm here to tell you that you are ok, okay, the world is wrong and deep down. You already know this
just need a reminder. It's not that you have to be perfect. It's just realizing that. Despite whatever your insecurities or anxieties are, you are fundamentally lovable and you deserve to be loved. We first spoke to Sarah Eckel in February. Since then the world has changed so much that we wanted to check in again, so Sarah sent us a short audio postcard that she recorded at home. I'm just. So aware of how much more difficult this is for so many other people. So I I think it's it's just given me a renewed appreciation for mark and and for the fact that we had already had a very gentle relationship and a commitment to really being kind to each other and, of course that's that
made a different throughout all of this. We asked Sarah as someone who's thought. A lot about the single life does she have any advice for single people right now. I think it's really important that both single people and people who are not single respect, this experience that single people are having. No one has really experienced anything like this before and if you are somebody who is sheltering in place with spouse or family or friends and people that you love and basically get along with. I think it's really important to recognise that what you are experiencing is profoundly different, then the person who has to stay especially to stay in a New York City apartment by themselves for a meal
in and who knows how long and Sarah adds that it's ok to be lonely, especially right now loneliness is not a pathology. It is a normal human reaction like hunger or thirst. It isn't an indication that there is anything wrong with you, so that was the other thing I learned to do is to say: ok right now, I feel lonely. That's ok because that's a normal feeling that everyone feels sometimes, and so now, I'm just going to investigate what is this feeling of loneliness It really kind of seems like crap advice, I just sit in the corner and feel pain yea. It just says like the worst advice, but it's such a difficult situation, but perhaps there is an opportunity to
linkedin your own kind of emotional resilience. Sarah echo she's, a freelance writer and her book is not you twenty seven wrong reasons. You are single more after the break. I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play falling together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed. Sorry. It may have happened to I have one friend I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I was getting nervous. I sent it to my parents or something like that.
Me and my dad. We like to play fun together and I wish color out. I forgot to see it J, a c k, P, o t Jack, Yeah yeah I'm same is risky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at an why times, dot com, flash games. Here's, Daniel Jones, editor of the modern love column for the New York Times, once in a while, but pretty rarely a writer tackles something so commonplace but makes it so new and fresh that you kind of gasp- and that was the case with Sarah's essay, which you know explores incredibly common phenomenon of of not finding Love
and assuming that it's because you have some sort of profound character flaw that is keeping that from happening. And coming around to eventually find someone that you're, a good match with and realizing that you just haven't found the right person. Yet. There's really nothing new about that story arc, but the way that she presents it and the Say that she in the end comes to the conclusion that, of course, there's plenty wrong with me, but that was never the point. there's someone for everyone and does the cliche aspect of that and is the true aspect of that and here's Laura Pre pond. I remember the day being single and looking for my paw and asking myself what is wrong with me, where is he and just searching,
Finally, I found him I do believe in happy endings and that's why I chose this essay and a special. thanks to Laura for recording herself in her home office, with a new baby at home, she's author of a new book called you, and I, as mothers, Modern love is the production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produce direct. and ended by cute little Keith original score. and sound design by met Reed Iris ads our executive producer were edited by Catherine Brewer, Daniel Jones is the editor of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show the idea for the modern love podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin, additional thanks to merely Julia Simon and on your stringy and at the New York Times and to Paul Kilo. WB. You are additional music courtesy of a pm,
I made an internal body will see a next week.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-15.