A PERSONAL ESSAY ON ROMANCE (FROM THE ONE- RELATIONSHIP GIRL)
When a friend proposed that I write an article for Splitsville, I have to admit, I wasn’t at all sure where I would start. Firstly, I hadn’t heard of Splitsville before, and as a struggling Manhattan journalist writing for a local paper, if it didn’t involve an interview and a civic meeting discussing a new budget or debate over city legislation, I wasn’t sure what to write. I have never been one to write personally, at least not publicly. So I sat down at my laptop, and I began to think.
My friend had sent me the Splitsville article guidelines as I was on a bus trip from New York to Philadelphia to visit my long distance boyfriend who I hadn’t seen in three weeks, and the idea of writing for a website focused on breaking up didn’t exactly put me at ease. The truth is, I don’t know about break ups, nor am I an expert on the varieties of relationships that may take place in a person’s life. This is my first real relationship, and the few dates that came before only reminded me of why I hadn’t been much of a dater to begin with.
Gen Y lives in an age of young people looking for love in all the wrong places. While technology has advanced our society and apps seem to make our lives fantastically simple, we can now find a hook-up partner within a matter of hours by simply swiping a photo. Meanwhile, our Facebook feeds are crowded with young women who look to Thought Catalog and Elite Daily to provide them with ‘insider’ tips on what kinds of girls guys really like and how to know if he’s in love with you.
We look to the internet, the television, or an iPhone app for it all. Every relationship question now has an answer; at least that’s how it seems.
I hadn’t entered the world of relationships until just last year. In the most spontaneous and unpredictable of scenarios, I found love in the lobby of the Met, right next to the seated statue of Pharaoh Amenemhat II. Upon meeting my boyfriend-to-be, I nervously shook his hand and tried to pronounce his name, a task at which I failed; twice. He had recently arrived from India to pursue his graduate studies in the US and is the brother of a friend I’d met in the city. I walked around Egypt, the Met version of course, and listened to his jokes about the past lives of Egypt’s rulers, while awkwardly laughing and trying to settle the butterflies that has risen in my stomach. I knew I had met someone special.
Eleven days later, sometime in the AM hours of one of summer’s last nights, we told each other how we felt. While I’d never been in a relationship before, it was then that I knew why, and although I’d probably spent more time than the average woman dining solo in restaurants and walking museum galleries alone, I was content. It was well worth the long wait.
One of the greatest love stories I’d ever heard came from my grandmother, a woman whose relationship I had been blessed with the chance to see before my grandfather passed in the summer of 2014. She met him at 15. She was out in the city one evening with a relative, for whom she was looking for a date. Naturally, my grandmother had caught the eye of a young man who had asked her to dance. Promptly, she shooed him away. Then, my grandfather approached. He was 25, dashing, and had just returned home from World War II, and offered my grandmother a dance. She accepted. As they chatted, she lied and added a few years to her age, and he asked where he could see her again. The next day, he showed up at the dress shop where she worked and she nervously hid her school books, not wanting him to see. He took her for a horse-drawn carriage ride in the city, and less than two years later, they married. For the following 68 years that my grandfather had lived, they were inseparable.
Maybe we don’t live in an age where life-changing romance commonly arrives in breathtaking museums or horse-drawn carriages, but if I do know one thing, it’s that life-changing romance doesn’t have an app. It doesn’t have a search engine and it doesn’t have a time clock that will predict when and where it will happen based on a set of factors. It’s sometimes inconvenient. It introduces you to your love while putting you cities and states apart. It’s sometimes sudden and nerve-wracking, presenting you with a first relationship that may well be your last. It’s simply unpredictable, leaving you with no certainty as to where it may be found. While I know I must have rejected it at the time, the best advice I have ever received was to stop looking.
Article by Amy Russo