Saturday, July 14, 2007

Fringe Theme of the Day: Modern Love

I cut out of mandarin class a bit early today so I could have a quick lunch at home before heading down by subway for fringe play #4, Bride of Sasquatch, a romantic comedy. From the program:

Cheryl is a compulsively single cryptozoologist/office temp with a Sasquatch fascination who is beginning to realize that Bigfoot may never come and sweep her off her feet. Daryl is a corporate climber who is looking for that special co-dependant tax write-off to one day divest his RRSPs with. As our two heroes pass through courtship and falling in love, and then turn to face the looming possibility of marriage, old truths begin to surface. Will the future Bride and Groom be able to navigate the pitfalls of a modern relationship, or will more primitive desires prevail? Bride of Sasquatch is a comedy that explores what it is we must give up, and what we must hold on to when we fight to survive in that dark, dangerous and foreboding wilderness called modern love.

Play #5 was supposed to have been An Inconvenient Musical, but I arrived to find that the tickets had sold out while I was waiting in the in between time at the Second Cup for the rain to stop so off to the ROM I went to while away the time before picking up tickets for Something Unexpected, "a Harlequin romance set in small town Ontario" according to the program.

I really enjoyed this afternoon's productions since they were not only well-written and well-acted, but they were also very relevant to me:

The Sasquatch in the former is obviously symbolic of the universal search for the perfect mate, but for me, I'd switch "mate" for "job" since dating and men are very much on the backburner while I figure out what I want career-wise.

There's a scene near the end, when Cheryl freaks out because she's not sure that she's ready to give up on her dream of finding the Sasquatch to sweep her off her feet so she tries to push Daryl away by picking a crazy fight but he's crazy in love with her, so they presumably live happily ever after. Yes, it's unfair to test the other's love like this, but I defy anyone who says that they've never done it because they'd be lying - this brings to mind the lyrics in Push by Sarah McLachlan, and these ones in particular:

I get mad so easy but you give me room to breathe
No matter what I say or do 'cause you're too good to fight about it
Even when I have to push just to see how far you'll go
You won't stoop down to battle but you never turn to go

In Something Unexpected, we find two very different sisters: Meredith who's married, white-collar-successful and perhaps a little smug about it; and Lily who's single on her 38th birthday, blue-collar-living-in-a-trailer and doing just fine on her own, thank you very much. As the play unfolds, Lily tells Meredith about how she met the guy she is dating at Walmart and when she's pressed to arrange a meeting with Harrison, the new man, it's revealed that the entire relationship was a figment of her imagination made up only to avoid her sister's constant pity and disappointment at her single status.

This made me think afterwards of my relationship with my mother, and to a much lesser extent, my interactions with my friends. They are all concerned about my single status - to varying degrees of course - my mother is worried that I'll never get married and she'll always have to worry about me. But she can't be more worried than I am about my singlehood.

I put up a pretty good front about being independent and fine on my own, but I am worried that I will never meet someone (again) who I'd be happy to spend my life with. And while I've never been the insecure type that seeks validation of my self-worth in a relationship* - I actually feel sorry for these people - I wonder if my expectations are too high.

So I decided this spring to take a page out of The Year of Yes and another from Around the World in 80 Dates and date guys that I would otherwise have said no to on the off chance that I'd been prematurely writing guys off because they didn't fit a particular ideal. But after going on a series of dates with a number of guys that turned out to be completely uninteresting to me, I've decided to remove myself from the dating pool for the time-being because it's rather demoralizing to meet guy after guy and be confronted with the fact that perhaps lowering my expectations wasn't the answer.

(Now that I think about it, there's really no point to this meandering, inconclusive examination of the dryspell that is my love life at the moment. I just needed to organize my thoughts...and clearly it's a work in progress...)

To sum up, this Fringe experience has been great. It was a tentative experiment on my part to see how I'd feel about doing something on my own. And I've come to the preliminary conclusion that it's very liberating since I didn't have to consult with anyone but myself or compromise on what plays I wanted to see, and I was able to wander about at my own pace in between shows, like at the ROM and through U of T. I'm so glad - and truth be told, a little proud - that I did this because I would have missed out on a lot of fun otherwise.

* Not to say that this is true of all people in relationships, but you know that these people exist - serial monogamists who are too afraid to be on their own and are in relationships for the sake of being in relationships. I have never been this type of person.

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