Hey future kids,
You know what I always liked about How I Met Your Mother? You know, that old show that you’ve probably seen a couple episodes of on whatever version of Nick at Nite is now probably streamed directly into your head via iBrain? It has the guy from Doogie Houser and the voice of the dad from Full House? You’ve never seen any of those shows, have you? I am so old.
Anyway, what I liked about the show was that Ted started every episode by talking to his kids. So you knew that whatever stupid stuff he got up to that episode, it was all going to work out in the end. It wasn’t called If I Met Your Mother, it was How I Met Your Mother. I liked the certainty.
I haven’t met your father yet. The fact that I’m writing this means I still think I will. I don’t know how I met your father yet, but I have some pretty good ideas as to how I didn’t.
Like Ted, I know a lot of great couples that met in college. Like Ted, I’m not part of any of them. Seeing as I broke up with my college boyfriend about a million years ago, that ship has sort of sailed for me. I think precisely because so many long term couples do meet in college, there can be a feeling that you should really meet someone then, too, and I think that can be dangerous. You feel obligated to find someone and stay with them, and you might freak out if you don’t. I think it’s okay to not meet someone. Sure, some people luck out and meet the love of their life at freshman orientation. Others don’t, or aren’t ready to make decisions about forever at 18, or 22, or even later than that. Lily and Marshall are great, but we don’t all have to be just like them.
At a bar
Most episodes of HIMYM involve some time spent at Maclaren’s, the gang’s neighborhood bar. It’s often a place where Ted and Barney meet girls. I’ve never had a neighborhood bar, for unknown reasons, as I’ve always liked the idea of having an ‘everybody knows your name’ establishment like Cheers (a show your grandparents watched and I’m sure you’ve never heard of). I have a neighborhood. It has bars. But given the choice on any given weeknight, I’m more likely to be somewhere that it’s acceptable to wear yoga pants, which means the gym or my couch. Still, I’ve been known to go out, but in five years of having the ability to go to bars, I’ve been approached by one cute guy at one, ever, so statistically speaking, the odds of me meeting your father at a bar are low. Bars, too, can become this high pressure thing where you’re all “I should be talking to people and meeting someone!”, and it can take the fun out if it. Go, have a good time with your friends, and don’t worry about the rest of it.
At the doctor’s office
Ted meets Stella, whom he almost ends up marrying, when he’s a patient in her dermatology office. I can say for a fact that I won’t be meeting your father at the doctor’s office, and not just because I believe that doctor-patient relationships are ethically weird (also, I have watched enough Grey’s Anatomy to know that they rarely work out). No, I won’t be meeting your father there because I always pick female doctors. Simple as that.
Every futuristic dystopian YA novel I’ve ever read suggests that your future spouse has been preselected for you by the government or some sort of secret society. I hope that’s not the case. I also hope that no online dating site has attempted to come up with some sort of guarantee that their sophisticated matching system will lead you to “The One.” At one point in the show, Ted is so desperate to find someone that he goes to a matchmaking service claiming to have a 100% success rate of matching compatible people, but ends up not meeting the girl they claim is his match. I think he made the right call; I don’t think this is how things work. I don’t care what OkCupid’s “Match %” is; I don’t even want to know what “29 dimensions of compatibility” eHarmony is using. I don’t think courtship can or should be boiled down to a science. Romance is supposed to be romantic. Illogical. Unpredictable. That’s what makes it frustrating, but that’s also what makes it fun.
At a wedding
Ted meets Victoria, my favorite of all the potential mothers, at a wedding. (I’m talking about season one Victoria, who was cool and fun; that stuff when she came back in later seasons was just character assassination on pretty much everyone.) There are whole movies about how weddings are a great place to meet people. This has never been my experience. The last wedding I went to, I was a bridesmaid, which means there’s a whole pre-selected group of guys to meet, in the form of groomsmen, who are friends of the guy your friend is marrying, which means they should be cool. Unfortunately, this group of groomsmen was so cool that there was not a single one among them. I met a cute guy at the reception, and thought we were hitting it off…until his parents walked over to tell him it was time to go home. Moral of the story: if you’re going to try and meet people at a wedding, make sure it’s the type that specified ‘adults only’ on the invitation.
So those are some of the place I don’t think I’ll be meeting your father. I have no clue where I’ll meet him, and I’m not worried about it. Just like HIMYM has kept us guessing for approximately 18 seasons now about how Ted will meet the mother, I’m okay with life keeping me guessing about where I might find your father. That story’s still writing itself, and I’m looking forward to telling it to you some day.