I’ve been there, so I know the dread of which you speak—the sense that finding a partner was somehow easy and natural for everyone else, and for whatever combination of reasons it may not ever happen for you. I was one month shy of my 39th birthday when I married my husband. The one thing I decided was to look at my life patterns and realize it wasn’t just a coincidence that over and over I chose men who were terrified of commitment. I decided I’d rather be alone than invest any more years in dead-end relationships. That one shift helped me connect with a man who previously wouldn’t have been my type, precisely because he himself was looking for marriage. Of course everyone’s situation is unique. But my suggestion is for you to move forward on parallel tracks. One is accepting that maybe you won’t marry and have children, and that you’ve got to find a way, as do millions, of finding satisfaction in your work, your friends, and those things—culture, social action, travel—that bring you pleasure. Consider taking a break from the search for say, the next six months and see how you feel. Then, when you resume, do so with a combination of willingness and acceptance of the absurd. Take advantage of online dating. Keep your social network alert to prospects for you. Host some cocktail parties in which you ask friends to invite someone they like (of either sex) whom you don’t know. Enlarging your social circle can only make your life better. Throw yourself a 35th-birthday dinner party or brunch—surrounding yourself with people who care about you will make you realize you don’t need to be paired up to have a full and satisfying life.
I went to see Zero Dark Thirty this weekend with my father and during the movie we ate popcorn and drank soda as normal people do. This guy next to us kept giving us dirty looks and then after the movie went into a diatribe about how they spent millions for the sound and it was so rude of us to eat during the movie. I ignored him and made my way out of the theater, but I pride myself on being a good person. Is it wrong to eat during a movie? I assumed that the concessions stands were there for that exact purpose and as long as we weren't passing the popcorn bag back and forth an undue amount or chewing with our mouths open, eating was totally copacetic. What is the right way here?
Zero Dark Thirty hasn’t opened in Washington, D.C. yet (I can’t wait!) so that wasn’t me giving you the stink eye. People go to the movies to be transported, but mass masticating, texting, and talking can make patrons feel like they’re in an experiment testing their ability to focus. When I saw the The Bourne Legacy I sat next to man who had containers of popcorn and soda big enough to conceal a dirty bomb. For the entire two plus hours he ate the popcorn—mouth open—one kernel at a time while frequently washing it down. It was a Dolby-quality munching and slurping extravaganza, rather like listening to a cat cough up hairballs. However, you are right, concessions are sold so that patrons eat and drink them, and it’s silly to chastise someone for increasing the theater’s profit margin. But given that before the feature starts you sit through about 20 minutes of ads and trailers, I think movie-goers should endeavor to make a big dent in their snacks during this prelude. Certainly the rustling and gulping should be completed early in the show. You were right to just ignore your critic. But by the time the helicopters are descending on Abbottabad, no one should have to listen to another patron finishing off the unpopped kernels.
More Dear Prudence Columns
“Weapon of Choice: My husband insists we buy a gun to protect our family, but I disdain firearms.” Posted Oct. 13, 2011.
“Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: My wife doesn’t want sex frequently, so I visit prostitutes. Should I stop?” Posted Oct. 6, 2011.
“Surviving Mommie Dearest: My abusive mother haunts my dreams. How can I move on?” Posted Sept. 29, 2011.
“Once a Cheater: My husband says he had a one-night stand with a co-worker—but she called it a torrid affair. Who can I believe?” Posted Sept. 22, 2011.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
“Who's Your Mommy?: Dear Prudence advises a man whose wife doesn’t want their twins to know they came from donor eggs—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Oct. 17, 2011.
“Start Spreading the News: Dear Prudence advises a woman whose boyfriend revealed he had herpes only after they had unprotected sex—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Oct. 10, 2011.
“Don’t Tell Dad: Dear Prudence advises a woman whose friend won’t tell her one-night stand she got pregnant—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Oct. 3, 2011.
“Life or the Party: Dear Prudence offers advice on a woman self-destructing with sex, drugs, and alcohol—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Sept. 26, 2011.