For me television programming has become more annoying, especially lately. Professionalism has flown right out the window. Examples: 1) Big hype in San Diego about the Holiday Bowl featuring USC and Wisconsin, except the Wisconsin highlights were of Nebraska. I guess they couldn’t tell the difference of an “N” or a “W” on the helmets; 2) A printed exclamation on an ad for a new reality show was WOAH! instead of WHOA! Remember when the appeal of cable TV (they said) was zero commercials because (they said) the public would be paying monthly dues. As my Dad used to say, “Horse manure!” Still, I watch and gripe…dummy me. The telecast cycle, eight minutes of programming and four minutes of commercials, has me endlessly changing the channel. I’ve become a master of watching six programs at a time. Drives my wife nuts, but then again constant clicker massaging is an activity unappreciated by most females. |
Maybe I’ve been watching too many Hallmark channel offerings over the last several months. First they featured feel-good Thanksgiving movies, then Christmas romances, and now (zounds!) weekly Valentine stories where young, good-looking people always find their once-in-a-lifetime soulmates. The time tested, tied-and-true formula is always the same; that is, a talented, harried (but gorgeous) young lady who is a poster child for bad romance—her former swain rejecting her for some inane reason (the pig!)—is constantly badgered by a nosy friend or domineering mother to get “out there” again. This often involves disastrous fix-up dates. An alternate plot line is that our heroine may be in a serious relationship with a clueless, self-centered boyfriend who the viewers know from scene one is toxic.
Our heroine also has a great job, often in New York, that has something to do with either publishing, law, public relations, or fashion. She has a spacious, tricked-out corner office and a peppy assistant who hangs on her every word. Our lady blows in breathlessly every morning with some kind of latte and starts spouting orders before zipping into an important meeting with her boss and a new client that will net her a fat (OMG!) promotion (maybe a partnership)—if she can ONLY deliver. Sound familiar so far?
In the course of pursuing “her promotion”, which may include taking over the Los Angeles or San Francisco office; our heroine must deal with a seemingly obnoxious, but swashbuckling, oddly charming, handsome, and single young man from the client. She, being a no-nonsense “career woman”, has no time for frivolity, but is forced to work with him. He is (of course) smitten with her. At first she doesn’t like him very much until discovering he’s not really obnoxious, but a friend to every puppy dog and homeless person in the world. And on it goes… the formula works this way: a) after proving himself worthy, BOY GETS GIRL (yay!); b) after a huge misunderstanding (transparent to the viewer), BOY LOSES GIRL (sob); and finally c) at the eleventh hour the mystery behind the so-called misunderstanding is cleared-up, and halleluiah, BOY GETS GIRL (rainbows and butterflies). Everyone rides off into a happily-ever-after sunset with the not so subliminal message that they were meant for each other; they are once-in-a-lifetime soulmates. Fade out…and thank you Jane Austen.
Okay, so I get it. The idea is either to put a bit of escapism fantasy into our little, boring, unsatisfying, humdrum work-a-day worlds and/or sell cards, flowers, candy, jewelry, etc. etc. The latter happens to fit with the new religion I’m trying to start called Zen Judaism—everything is sacred, and everything is for sale. Yethir!
However, perhaps an unintended consequence is that such a fantasy serves to encourage boys and girls of all ages to look at their partners and speculate, “How did I get lumbered with a dud like you?” Isn’t it the human condition to peek over the fence and wonder, and in some cases, even follow-up and chase after “the” ideal romance; that is, a (drum roll) soulmate? The fallout from such a search includes lies, infidelity, expense account cheating, and phony behavior among other things. The pursuit is a downward spiral that can have no good ending. Another show on the HLN network dealing with forensic science illustrates what happens when the pursuit of such a fantasy goes to the ultimate.
My point? Except in the fantasy world and VERY RARE true life experiences, in my humble opinion, there is NO SUCH THING as a soulmate. It’s a myth, but one in which we desperately want to believe because books and movies tell us it’s easily (?) achievable—hell, more than that; that it’s normal. Well, I’ve been acquainted with a number of so-called sickeningly fawning soulmates, dating and married, that angrily called it quits. Therefore, they couldn’t have been soulmates, right? Think about it. Half of marriages end in divorce—meaning (gulp) the other half end in death!
By now, you’re probably thinking I’m a rancorous old soul with a lifetime of bitter memories, unfulfilled relationships, and end-to-end bad romances. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although, in my youth, I was dumped several times (for damned good reasons), in retrospect those events led to avoided catastrophes and provided me with uncommon growth and maturity. And I did end up with the girl. Hooray for me!
My dating life was free-flowing and mellow with mostly very nice relationships that for one reason or another simply ran themselves out. The probable reason for failure was lack of long-term compatibility though neither of us recognized it as the root cause at the time. We moved on because someone else seemed more attractive—you know, those physical attributes that we seem to focus upon from across a room. These include body, face, pheromones, etc. If those attributes were mutual, and we had at least some kind of short-term compatibility; well then, we were off and running until the lack of sustained harmony dictated one of us find a new dalliance. No harm, no foul.
What I mean by compatibility is relationships that are capable of existing in harmony, but who can tell how long that will be? As individuals we tend to change, and two “compatible” individuals may not experience the same rate of change or direction over time, which could render them incompatible. Am I right? (Here the reader should picture that bratty Peter Pan from the insurance company commercial when he gives Tinkerbell a fist bump.)
That brings me to my thesis for this blurb; that is, throwing the BS flag on the popular notion of a one and only soulmate. Webster defines “soulmate” as follows: individuals, usually of the opposite sex, who are tempermentally suited to each other; lover; mistress. Rather bland, huh?
But that particular definition IS NOT a correct description of what is advertised and generally accepted, especially from the Hollywood and Hallmark point-of-view. They have us, the unwashed public, believing that there is that one person out there whose soul completes our own—a virtual soul twin (with benefits). A favorite line, “You complete me.” Rubbish, I say.
See, I believe in entropy, chaos, disorder, and bodies of human beings careening about the planet like billiard balls. Know how I got the girl? We ended up at the same place time and again over a period of months. Fate? Karma? Absolutely not. It was complete and total chance; a beneficial accident; a product of chaos. It turned out we were and remain very compatible—not in a romantic way, but in an “it’s-really-nice-to-be-with-you” way. Everything else in our relationship, including romance, is a byproduct of that. Had we not met, I’m absolutely positive each of us would have found another that matched us in compatibility. Why? Because that happens to be in our DNA. Neither of us would have chosen a mate otherwise; i.e., that’s the same measuring stick we’d each use for a different partner. In today’s vernacular, we didn’t meet, hook-up, and decide that was “love”, and therefore, the reason to declare to the world we are (ta-da) soulmates. We simply liked each other, and I’m sure it would have been possible for each of us to like another had we not met. C’mon, people, “soulmates” breakup and meet new “soulmates” all the time.
Bottom line is that the current obsession and definition of “soulmate” is good for selling jewelry, getaway packages, condos, expensive dinners; and makes money for Hallmark, Hollywood, and eHarmony. So what if there is a plethora of uber-expensive starter marriages?
Respectfully submitted, I am…
Gene Myers, a recovering dirt bag, but mainly an all-around good guy.
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television, Hallmark, soulmate, fantasy, relationsionships, harmony, chaos,