LIVING SINGLE IN NYC
Dating and marriage in New York City can be about as business-like as a deal on Wall Street. Although there are some wonderfully refreshing exceptions, most first dates resemble job interviews, and singles tend to approach dating with a mile-long list of prerequisites such as “he must make X amount of money,” or “she must have graduated from an ivy league college.”
Speaking from a single female point of view, I can say that plenty of women in the city are self-sufficient, career-oriented, and have no qualms about delaying marriage and children. But, of course, there are others who stress about having a baby by a certain age, or dream of being a stay-at-home-mom.
In a progressive and cosmopolitan city like New York, the concept of making marriage one’s main priority is almost alien to me, but on the next season of Married At First Sight, premiering on March 17, some people are not only rushing to say “I do,” they’re willing to do it completely blindfolded. That is, they don’t actually meet their future spouse until the wedding day.
|Could you imagine not meeting your significant other until the day you tie the knot?|
I know plenty of cultures today still have arranged marriages, and, for some countries, they work out so well that their divorce rate easily puts the U.S. to shame. Professional matchmaking does, after all, take several factors into consideration such as values, morals, spirituality, personality, etc. In fact, my grandparents met through a matchmaker in China – so I know that it’s not a completely bogus concept.
One of the most famous arranged marriages even took place here in NYC, when Consuelo Vanderbilt married Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough, in 1895. Sure, the bride was basically weeping at the altar and had a loveless partnership, but both families got what they wanted – she secured a high-ranking position amongst the aristocracy, and he inherited an enormous sum of money. Consuelo and Charles didn’t have a fairytale ending, but they became the ultimate representation of people marrying for money and power (something that still exists today, even if on a lesser scale).
Arranged marriages aside, there’s a difference between being set up, and not even meeting the other person until you’re both standing at the altar. At the very least, I would need to know if the face I’m supposed to wake up to for the rest of my life looks like a Michelangelo sculpture or a Picasso painting. Or more realistically, Channing Tatum or Gary Busey.
Obviously, New Yorkers are known for their cynicism and we’ve already debunked “love at first sight” as being nothing more than animalistic lust, or one too many tequila shots. But to be honest, I’m not sure if my outlook on blind marriages makes me a cynic or an idealist.
|Cynic, or idealist?|
I don’t think it’s realistic to assume that one can participate in a blind wedding and live happily ever after if they haven’t even spent a day with the other person. I also don’t think that the “perfect match” necessarily fits a certain profile or checklist. Real chemistry and a deep connection between two people can’t be forced. And sometimes, when it does happen, it’s completely unexpected, inconvenient, and makes absolutely no sense – but it’s there, and it works.
So I won’t be signing up for a blind marriage (nor an arranged one, for that matter). I’d rather figure out who my Mr. Right is on my own. Worst-case scenario: I end up forty-something and single with a wildly successful career in New York and a Westie terrier named Apollo.
|There’s plenty of room for me and my four-legged love in NYC.|
Photos in the post by James Maher.