How to be Single…really?!

As the preview for How to be Single played before my eyes, I got annoyed. I think if the title simply said “A Raunchy Approach to Singleness”, maybe I wouldn’t have been so irritated, but no, this claims to be a “How to” of sorts…something definitive for singles. I know – I take things way too seriously. But come on. Admittedly, I haven’t seen it, nor do I plan to—so I’m not certain what their conclusion is going to be. I should also probably confess I am a little curious about the unknown conclusion of the matter. What is their advice about singleness going to be? If the preview is any indication, it certainly won’t be anything God honoring. I mean, is the only way to be single to be crass, vulgar, sexually aggressive and explorative? I could ask the same of comedy. Is the only way to be funny to be vulgar, lewd, without any sense of modesty? There has to be a better way.

I know there is a better way. There are better ways…we just probably won’t see them here. Again, I would find this less offensive, less irritating, if it didn’t claim to be so definitive in the title. “How to be Single”…as if they are going to teach me, a single person, how to do this thing right. Maybe I take offense because I hear in it a reproach…a reproach that I hear often enough from dear friends who have chosen to be single differently than I have. The same friends who will find this movie hilarious and see much of themselves in it. It’s not that they mean to criticize, but they don’t understand that there are other ways to be single. That we have options that don’t involve one night stands and a string of failed romances and cheaters and brutal heartbreak.

Here is the movie bio:

There’s a right way to be single, a wrong way to be single, and then…there’s Alice. And Robin. Lucy. Meg. Tom. David. New York City is full of lonely hearts seeking the right match, be it a love connection, a hook-up, or something in the middle. And somewhere between the teasing texts and one-night stands, what these unmarrieds all have in common is the need to learn how to be single in a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love. Sleeping around in the city that never sleeps was never so much fun.

So many things in this rub me wrong…but rather than get hung up on tangential issues, let me point out the heart of the matter—the belief that love is an ever-evolving thing. If love is an always changing, undefinable variable, then no wonder people are so screwed up about relationships. How do you know if you want to find love or not if you don’t know what it is? How do you know if/when you’ve found it? How do you know if this person if capable of giving you love, or you them…if you don’t know what love is???

LOVE is not ever changing or evolving. It already is. It’s a standard that is perfect that we try to attain. What has changed over time is not love. Love is the same. What’s changed is our expectations, perhaps, certainly our definition of relationships and the boundaries we set for love. But love itself remains unchanged.

LOVE is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). No one would argue that THAT is love. It always has been and always will be.

What’s changed is us, not love. We’ve confused lust with love. Sex with love. … We’ve confused a lot of things, actually…which is why WE are so confused. We’ve thrown out boundaries and definitions and standards…we threw out the map and now we’re lost. We didn’t like the directions, so we swapped them all around and mixed them up thinking it would be more fun, more liberating, more progressive and modern…but what we did to our directions, we did to ourselves. We’re now mixed up. We thought we’d be liberated, modern, progressive and have more fun, but we achieved just the opposite. Being lost is only fun for a moment…then you feel lost, scared, alone, angry, vulnerable.

So now we have Hollywood offering a “how to”—because we sort of know there’s a problem. Unfortunately, we don’t have the humility to accept our responsibility in the problem, that we’ve been so busy claiming our rights we’ve forgotten that love serves, endures and hopes for the best. That in asserting our independence from God and His plan, we lost the roadmap we actually needed. We don’t want to admit the Creator of life knew best, so we instead accuse love of changing and being difficult to navigate. It’s love’s fault, not ours for throwing away the definition of love in the first place—right?

Personally, I think there is a better way, but I realize that may sound as arrogant to some as this movie claiming to be a “how to” guide did to me… so let me say that I want to at least acknowledge that there are many ways to be single…some surely are better than others (as time will tell), but at the very least, better or worse, there are options, choices, about how we do this thing. If we can start with that basic acknowledgement, then then logical next step is to realize that we have a responsibility to ourselves to evaluate these different options and choose which is best for our own lives. I know many people do not think my way is best, in fact, they think I’m crazy. That’s OK. I probably share a similar sentiment about their choices, too. We can agree to disagree…but perhaps we need to add one more thing to the equation—it may not be just a matter of personal opinion or preference.

Our determination of the best way to be single hinges very largely on our understanding of love in the first place. If it’s a moving target, a changing variable which cannot be counted on, (the basic assumption of this movie,) then we had better do all we can to snag glimpses and pieces of it as we go. BUT, if it is a constant, unchanging, definable and attainable thing (as the Bible states), then we have a standard to attain, a destination to travel to…and if that is the truth, then it actually makes a difference how we get there. It actually means that some means, some routes, are definitively better than others. Some won’t get you there at all, some will but contain lengthy and unnecessary detours and others are efficient, direct routes. If there’s not destination, then sure, who is to say which route is better than another? But if there is a destination…evaluating the merits of various routes becomes not only easier, but necessary.

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.
In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.
16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.
They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. – Titus 1:15-16



This entry was posted in Cultural Commentary, Movies, Singleness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How to be Single…really?!

  1. Great post Stacey! I like your way of thinking and how you viewed this trailer of the movie. I wasn’t interested in watching the movie when I heard the title, and I am still not interested, but I really agree with you about the points you made. God bless!

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