Way back in the depths of high school, probably at only 12 or 14, my friend Sam and I made a pact that if we weren't married by the time we were 40, we would get together. I'm not sure where the idea came from that we needed to cement a plan B even before puberty was in full swing, but it was probably an episode of Friends. It wasn't the fervour of intense teenagers either, it was done with a sense of whimsy and several of our friends made similar agreements. It seems sweet and funny in light of our current friendship, but I have no doubt I was on to something. It's the same argument made by writer Lori Gottlieb, who shocked the world's fairytale fantasists with her book Marry Him: The case for settling for Mr Good Enough. It suggested that women reaching for the sky is only ending in tears and prolonged singledom, and perhaps that perfectly nice, mildly funny guy who doesn't shake you to the core but maybe puts a smile on your face, is the way to go. Controversial, or just good sense?
My backups changed over the years, but as with every slightly vain girl there have always been one or two guys who I've assumed I could count on to be a great option if Prince Charming never showed up. The criteria is usually as follows: good friend, makes me laugh, good looking enough for me to have checked them out when we first met, evidence they're a good boyfriend, the hope that we wouldn't murder each other and the feeling that, being a little quirky, they too might be single years from now. At only 22, I am distressed to see this theory dissolving aeons before the big deadline, with the a mass coupling-up of my male network (with various women, not each other.) If I browse through my facebook friends - the little black book of the noughties - I find that only 25% of males that I might deem backup material are still single (let it never be said that I don't do my research.) I realise this doesn't reveal how many there are and thus how many are taken, but it would be unladylike to stalk and tell.
Only 1 in 4 of my attractive male acquaintances are still on the market, and this peturbs me. I was never a maths brain, but I know my probability and I need to increase my social sea in order to boost the plentitude of hot single fish, as it were. I met up with a good friend yesterday for a bit of a caffeine crawl (coffee, tea, coke...) and we whiled away a good few hours musing on relationships. This is mainly because we have a hilarious inability to synchronise our relationship status - every time I can remember being single, he has been taken, and now I'm single, naturally he's loved up to the max. It makes for interesting chat because a good straight male friend can hold up a mirror to your girlfriend potential and clarify your manic post-breakup thoughts. As I feared, my relationship accounts are not that healthy, but he nobly offered to help me on my 'more men, more choice' plan by introducing me to his extensive circle of male friends. Even if I don't find exactly what I'm looking for, a good solid backup would suit me fine.
Knight in shining armour: missing, presumed dead