When It Comes To Finding A 'Nice Girl,' It's All About Finding One With Ambition
So there I sat, just a few feet away with the tips of my fingers tracing small circles of clarity through the condensation building on my glass.
We had talked about many things that evening; a conversation begun through text that had quickly evolved into a drink at a local pub.
I had my next essay percolating in the back of my mind, but that part of life, for the time being, had been suspended.
You see, I always had this perspective, a rule I made for myself, never to let an opportunity pass. An opportunity for a new experience, an engaging conversation, each of these held value to me, a new tile to add to the mosaic of my personality.
Now, in the series of trade-offs, the cost-benefit analysis that is life, it might be thought that these things, a decent conversation or a cool experience, might not be so difficult to come by.
Yet, as I sat across from her in that bar and watched her settle into an impossible pretzel position atop that wooden stool, as we talked about life and family and (our mutual disdain for) romance, I could not help but think that there might be nothing so rare in all the world.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a love story. This isn’t a confession to the proverbial one-that-got-away. Instead, this represents a moment of clarity about the generation we have become.
I was once asked by a friend of mine, “Where do you find nice girls in this country?” Now, at first, a half dozen clubs and bars came to mind, ranked in my personal order of most to least successful.
But then, he elaborated. Nice was not a question of their face, their body, their job, their intellect – not even their personality. Instead, it came down to one simple question: What does she do?
Now certainly, each and every one of us, men and women alike, can very quickly answer this question. Many of us go to school, some of us go to work; nowadays, most everyone has a gym membership somewhere and, of course, we all like to party.
But what has become astonishing, over time, is the extent to which that subset of tasks and events has begun to consume a generation of young adults who, at the end of the day, can almost entirely define their lives by Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat – or rather -- eat, sleep, work, school, gym, party.
So then, what is the answer to the question, “Where do you find nice girls?” Or for that matter, “Where do you find nice people?”
To answer this question, we must first begin by accepting the reality that our generation today simply is not as interesting as the generations past.
For all the technology and opportunity around us, we have settled into a routine of vicarious living through those few interesting people in the world.
We have become a generation that would rather watch that insane YouTube clip of the man who parkours up the side of a building, rather than be that person, in that moment, watching the world live through you.
In short, the concept of Reality TV has, in many ways, replaced our reality. From "Jersey Shore," to "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette," through "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and even the age old "Survivor" – it is the reality of others that has, in many ways, replaced our capacity to exist and experience in our own right.
This is not another cry against technology, nor against television; neither will end up melting your brain.
Instead, what I would suggest is that the vicarious world that it offers is robbing us of the opportunity to create experiences, build ourselves to become as interesting as those who came before us -- and those who exist at the height of our society.
Once upon a time the person we might consider interesting could be the chartered accountant by day, graffiti artist by night.
Perhaps we might consider the man who hitchhiked his way across Canada after graduating with an engineering degree from McGill University interesting.
But the reality is that nowadays, we are hard pressed to sit across from another person and make a connection beyond a mutual enjoyment of a cold beer and a loud club.
But as the beat drops and one set blurs into another until all of the noise becomes one and the same, as the realization strikes that to find the interesting person, that "nice girl," we must first lower our bar; where does that leave us in this critique of Generation-Y and the generations to follow?
Let us suggest this: The interesting person is a function of ambition. This is not the ambition to win, to even excel in a job or vocation.
Instead it is the ambition to experience the world around us, to collect those experiences tile by tile until each and every one of us has recreated the mosaic of our individual personalities into something made vibrant with pieces of our world.
The interesting person, and the person whom each and every one of us should aspire to be is not the one who is necessarily rich or famous or even successful, but, instead, one who can look at the world around himself and strive to be significant, to mean something.
So as I sat across from that beautiful girl in the bar, and I brought that glass to my lips, my moment of clarity was the realization that, here, I wouldn't need to lower the bar.
As one minute became the next, I knew that had found that elusive "nice girl," that truly engaging, truly interesting person.
Photo via We Heart It