Relationship Goals I learned from "Singles"
I know Valentines Day puts a lot of pressure on those in relationships, but it’s infinitely worse for the singles. Since I skim all my love lessons off pop culture, you can easily guess which I fall into each February. So since this time of the year is super rough on those of us without S.O. (or those of us stuck in weird nebulous situations that make us feel profoundly uncomfortable) I decided that now would be an ideal time to take serious #relationshipgoals from Singles… you know, the movie.
Granted, my friend argues that Cliff and Janet are the only captivating part of this movie (she’s a grown-up who actually remembers the ’90s so like, she knows what’s up). Still, I don’t want to entirely limit myself. Next week we’ll be able to tackle in detail why-musician-faux-boyfriends-are-terrible with the second part of our Cameron Crowe double feature. ‘Till then, we’ll focus on the somehow timeless feels of all the singles in this otherwise aggressively 1992 movie.
So to help ease your Valentines Day sadness, here is everything Singles teaches us about getting hit on gracefully, getting boob jobs for boys, and getting a dating video to showcase the real you.
Just because that guy at the club uses an act on you, doesn’t mean he’s the literal worst…necessarily.
When I was new to the Brooklyn scene (i.e. like six months ago) I would constantly give eff off vibes to guys trying to chat me up mid-show. One time this guy tried making conversation with me at Legion and I think he needed a sweater from me icing him out so hard.
That’s why I love the scene where Steve starts talking to Linda about needing an act during the Alice in Chains gig. “So anyway, I saw you standing there so I thought, A) I could just leave you alone, B) I could come up with an act or C) I could just be myself. I chose C, what do you think,” he asks. Linda responds with the appropriate amount of shade: “I think that, A) you have an act, and that, B) not having an act is your act.” Seriously.
HOWEVER, I will say from experience that while most men who pull this are of the garbage variety, some are genuinely ok. As it turns out, Linda and Steve hit it off in an not-without-complications but definitely in-love-in-the-long-run kind of way. And like, idk, Legion guy has ordered me food off Seamless like four times now, so that’s swell.
Learn to recognize a non-boyfriend.
Janet is such a sympathetic character in this whole ordeal, because she believes with a conviction that Cliff is basically her boyfriend even though he can’t be bothered to call her back. You know that person, you’ve been that person, and I’ve definitely been that person. Not as a lifestyle choice (anymore), but definitely in sad, sweeping, twenty-something-year-old moments.
That said, take it to heart when it looks like your efforts are just going to leave you lovelorn…especially if your dimwitted musician crush is literally spelling it out for you.
“Look, Janet you know I see other people still. You do know that don’t you?” Cliff asks. “You don’t fool me,” she replies, her best effort to be coy. Cliff radiates pity: “Janet, I could not be fooling you less.” Aw, hon.
You make your own choice to stick around or be respected.
And I use “be respected” loosely, because I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with hooking up casually with some beautiful idiot who fronts band with a stupid name (again, that’s been my M.O. for 8+ years). I just think that once your feelings get involved and you realize you’re not getting what you want, it’s time to get off the couch.
And that’s what Janet does, she summons her inner confidence and separates herself from Cliff. “Being alone: there’s a certain dignity to it,” she muses. Preach, girl, preach. You have the ability to leave at any point, ladies. You don’t have to hang with some loser, and you certainly don’t have to get the breast enhancement surgery.
If you’re looking for love, let Tim Burton direct your date-me video.
Trust me, he’s only the next Martin Scor-seeeeese.
And finally, if you lower your standards, then you’re less likely to be disappointed.
As it turns out, when Janet first moved to Seattle she had a laundry list of qualities she wanted in a life mate: “looks, security, caring, someone with their own place, someone who said ‘bless you’ or ‘gesundheit’ when I sneezed, someone who liked the same things as me but not exactly, someone who loves me.” By the time we meet her, she’s scaled it down to ‘someone who says gesundheit when I sneeze’ (although she prefers bless you). You can laugh, but um…that’s what she gets from Cliff at the end.
No. No. The truth is that Janet gets Cliff in the end because she’s able to showcase her own radiant self by being independent. That’s the thing: while it’s hard to be in a relationship, it is infinitely harder to be by yourself, to be single. Once you’re comfortable with that, then you can happily and confidently fall into the former.
After all, people need people, and it’s not only about sex. Well, I mean, it’s only 40% about sex…ok, 60%.