On V-Day it’s better to be miserable than single

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I can honestly say that this year I am glad I don’t have a “special someone” to share it with.  Why?  Because in all likelyhood, he wouldn’t be that special. I wouldn’t be that attracted to him in the first place, and he would be counting the minutes until the date was over so he could go drive his Dodge Charger. We would only be staying together for the sake of our potential children anyway. Forget “Mr. Right” ladies; the best we can hope for this year is “Mr. Good Enough.”

Lori Gottlieb’s Marry Him! (soon to be a book – oh joy!) urges women everywhere to give up on the idea of a great guy and settle for an okay one. Apparently you aren’t going to find “sparks” with men who make good husbands and fathers and your baby-clock is ticking. (Don’t you just love all the assumptions here?  Like that you’re less likely to have “sparks” with a guy who would make a good husband or father?  Or that you are interested in getting married and having babies in the first place?  Or that you are, you know, straight?)  

It’s more important that you be with someone, no matter how lame he is, than be “alone on Valentine’s Day, staring down a George Clooney movie over a half-empty pizza box,” as the New York Times recently suggested.  So who is this “Mr. Good Enough,” and how does he feel about all this?

It looks like Mr. Good Enough isn’t enjoying this relationship very much either. In fact, he needs to be bribed into it with a fast car that represents something about his manhood. Alright, it’s obvious to you, me, and everyone here that this isn’t working. (If it’s a burden to have to put your underwear in the basket or clean up after you shave then maybe it’s best if you live alone.) Time to cut our losses and move on, right?  Wrong. 

The following video is a clip from the MTV’s Teen Mom reunion in which Dr. Drew tries to convince teen parents Macy and Ryan to get back together.  Macy and Ryan tried to stay together for the sake of their son even though they were both miserable in the relationship. After multiple break ups, couples counseling, and a broken engagement, they finally called it quits. In the first segment of this clip, Dr. Drew makes some crazy arguments about gender and parenthood and then tries to guilt the teens into getting back together for the baby’s sake, even after Ryan states that if it weren’t for the baby, he would never speak to Macy again.  Poor kids (and I don’t mean the babies).

All signs point to the sad notion that hetero relationships are something we have to be bribed into, guilted into, or something we should settle for. No wonder conservatives are concerned about the state of marriage in this country.  Still, pressuring hetero couples to marry regardless of their best interests hardly seems like the answer. But according to the noise, it’s better that men and women are miserable together than alone, “staring down a half-empty pizza box” on a Friday night.

I don’t know about you, but pizza is looking pretty good to me.  Happy Valentine’s Day.


  1. Wow. I missed the Charger commercial during the Super Bowl, and as a man who does almost all of those things independent of my relationship status, I’m offended. It seems like they confused “being a man” with “being a child”, in terms of learning to be responsible for oneself and considerate of others. You’re not seventeen anymore, potential Dodge Charger buyers. Your mom isn’t going to walk the dog for you, or clean the sink for you, or pick up your dirty laundry, or write you a note because you couldn’t get ready for school/work on time. Why have a girlfriend if you can’t stand to talk to her on the phone, or even in person?

    I would argue that people who are in the best kind of relationships (y’know, the ones where partners see each other as equals and actually enrich each other’s lives) are usually happier than single people, but I certainly wouldn’t say that you have to be in a relationship to be happy. Kudos to you for understanding that you’ll be happier if you don’t settle!


  2. God, I hate that NYT article, Lori Gottlieb’s entire theory, and that commercial. All are completely offensive. Valentine’s Day is only simplified into either/or dichotomies because it’s an easy narrative. The day itself is almost always forgettable. I only remember it coming up when it’s alerted to me.


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