Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell
More Awful Truth: The Meaning of It All
Those of you who have read my book, Single Is The New Black, will remember the recurring section entitled, The Awful Truth—in which I present a disturbing vignette which, sadly, actually happened. Through recent discussions with readers, I’ve unfortunately heard many stories that would fall under the category of awful and true. So I wanted to share some more with you.
Remember, this scene is not based on a real story, it is a real story.
THE MEANING OF IT ALL Cast Elena: 29-year-old pharmaceutical rep Maureen: Her 31-year-old sister, a social worker
INTERIOR—LOCAL BAR AND GRILL AT NIGHT Elena has just learned that Maureen’s boyfriend, Ronny, broke up with her two days ago. Elena is struggling because although she feels for Maureen, she wasn’t a big fan of Ronny in the first place.
ELENA: I’m so sorry, Maureen. I don’t know what to say. This is so unexpected!
MAUREEN: [through sniffles] Yeah it is! We were together two years. I thought he was The One.
ELENA: I know. I know. [she pauses] It’s so hard when it feels so right. But then again, you haven’t dated that many guys…
MAUREEN: So what?
ELENA: Well, I just mean that maybe there’s something good that can come from this—like, you can meet some new men and see what another serious relationship feels like.
MAUREEN: But I don’t want another relationship. I want Ronny.
ELENA: Of course you do because that’s all you know. But remember how you used to complain about how lazy he was and how he never wanted to go hiking or go to parties or do basically anything that required him to get off the couch? I know you’re in pain right now, but you’ve got to think about that, too.
MAUREEN: Why can’t you ever just be supportive? This is all so easy for you to say while you’re happily living with your perfect boyfriend and your perfect life.
ELENA: Okay, so listen, don’t take it from me, take it from my friend, Karin. She just wrote this really upbeat book about living your fabulous life and not worrying about being single because eventually, the right guy is going to come along. And she practices what she preaches—she’s forty and lives this full, fantastic life and she’s truly happy and—
MAUREEN: [cutting Elena off and exploding] I DON’T GIVE A %$#@ ABOUT YOUR %$#@IN FABULOUS FORTY-YEAR-OLD FRIEND! THERE’S NO WAY IN %$#@ I WANT TO BE FORTY AND SINGLE! I’D RATHER DIE!
ELENA: I was only trying to help.
Lesson Learned: There’s no worse fate than being single and forty—at least according to Maureen. And if we women believe this to be true about each other and ourselves, I guess we can’t expect anyone else in society to see things differently. But what does it mean to be forty and single? There’s no inherent meaning to being single at a certain age—it means whatever we decide it means. Apparently, Maureen validates her existence through her romantic relationships à la Have man=I’m okay. No man=I’m worthless. That’s her decision to assess her worth this way and she could change it at any time. Her relationship status means whatever she decides it means.