I'll never forget what my friend drunkenly whispered in my ear on her 22nd birthday while her boyfriend was in the bar bathroom:
"Always make sure that you choose to be with someone who's less attractive than you are."
She probably doesn't remember telling me this, but her words will stay with me forever.
As kids, our generation — especially women — embraced this happily-ever-after, princess notion of love. We are told we will find a kind of love that sweeps us off our feet and will continue to keep a passionate fire blazing throughout the years we commit to it.
In reality, most of us submit to a different kind of love; we choose partners who we are sure will sustain for long periods of time.
We choose partners we trust not to cheat on us or betray us in some other way and who we could see being good fathers and husbands.
But, some of us helplessly fall in love in a way that is doomed to fail. We fall for men who are overambitious, and this quality simultaneously happens to be their biggest flaws.
Our romances with these men are passionate, but short-lived because they somehow always end up choosing their life's ambitions — whether that is music or travel or other women — over us.
So, after countless failed, passionate romances, we eventually choose the more comfortable and stable, yet less exciting and spontaneous, relationship instead.
And, we make this decision all thanks to our ticking biological clocks.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "passion" as "a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something."
On the other hand, "comfort" is defined as "a person or thing that makes someone feel less worried, upset, frightened, etc." The two terms are not polar opposites, but they are more or less mutually exclusive.
The truth is, we feel most excited when we are a little frightened or in pain; roller coasters are unbelievably scary, but the feeling they give us is exhilarating. When we lift weights, we're in pain, but we fight through that pain because the resulting feeling is worth it.
If you've had that once-in-a-lifetime whirlwind romance, you crave not necessarily that same person again, but both the intensity of that romance and the way that romance made you feel. These feelings are most likely to resurface when we are put in a state of constant change, or kept on our toes.
But, the problem with these kinds of romances is that they're not built to last. And even if they are, they usually involve dating men who are — er — let's just say, slower to adapt than everyone else.
Of all of the things they want to accomplish in life, these men don't feel ready to settle down by the age of 30, which poses a problem for young women who want that "idea-filled," "all-over-the-place" kind of man who also want to start a family.
Matt Walsh of The Blaze is much more of a realist (or a cynic, depending on how you look at it) than I am. He writes:
The One doesn't exist. You aren't fated to love any particular person. You choose to love them, and when you marry them you reaffirm that choice every day. There is zero chance that you get married only to find out that your mystical soulmate was actually on an expedition in Antarctica this whole time, and if you'd held out a little longer you could have lived happily ever after.
It's this last point of his that I have contention with because how could he possibly know that just a little more time isn't what would have made the difference?
He is a young husband and a young father, and he chose to roll with time instead of fight against it. He chose a woman he loved and felt comfortable with. He didn't want to hold out for a love that would make him believe there is in fact one person or feeling, if not one type of person or feeling, that could be categorized as "the one."
Time is the enemy.
Some of us get lucky and find that guy we feel 100 percent in love with when we're young, but the rest of us don't, and we refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.
We'll wade through a sea of men, and feel comfortable with them and maybe, we'll even love them. But the love we feel for them isn't the love we know we're capable of feeling, and we'll go through life longing to find that feeling again.
So I ask, at what point do we give up on the search for "the one" or the one who makes our hearts beat the same way they did when we had that first ever whirlwind romance?
If we don't find him "in time," or before a childbearing age (for the sake of this conversation, let's say 33), should we throw in the towel and settle for a fine love instead of a great love?
Or, do we continue to hold out, hoping to find him, the way Carrie Bradshaw did for Mr. Big, and force ourselves to give up the idea of starting a family?
My drunk friend told me to be with someone less attractive than I am because she chooses to be in a constant state of security over instability — of comfort over passion.
What she doesn't know is, at the end of the day, I will always choose the latter.