Under construction: How romanticizing love creates a shaky foundation
An opinion piece on romanticizing love, based on comedian Daniel Sloss’ Netflix special.
By Shaela Dansereau
How many times have you gone home for the holidays just to be berated by relatives you see every couple of months questioning your relationship status?
“Are you seeing anybody?” *winks*
“Nope, still single…”
“Are you just saying that because your parents are around?” *wink wink*
“Well — get out there! There are plenty of fish in the sea!”
Too bad I’m going for a hike, not a swim.
From the first fairy tales we are read before bed, to sleepovers, movies, television, theatre, school, and the broader media and advertisement world — Love is the outstanding ideal.
It seems like a radical thought to believe that somebody could be happy without being in a relationship. To feel content in their own company.
And that’s not to say that love is a bad thing. Love is amazing, and magical and powerful — when approached right. The problem with romanticizing love is that it becomes a force that people feel the need to have in their lives to be complete.
Scottish stand-up comedian Daniel Sloss is responsible for breaking up over 7,400 couples, for 34 cancelled engagements and for 42 divorces to date. Any curious person would have to ask, how the heck does a comedian cause that much chaos?
In his Netflix stand-up special, Jigsaw, Sloss performs an ode to the single person.
The core of his show is backed up by an analogy he learned from his father as a kid: that life is a giant jigsaw puzzle and every event and person that comes into your life is another piece — as you grow you have to shift pieces to make the best picture.
The kicker, according to Sloss’ analogy, is that “everyone has also lost the box for their jigsaw, so none of us know what the image we are trying to make is; we’re just confidently f*cking guessing.”
At the center of this puzzle is the person you choose to share your life with. However, sometimes this piece may not fit perfectly into your puzzle.
And instead of making changes, or even simply realizing this piece was not meant to be, people will jam this piece into their jigsaw for a half-hazard fit. Why? Because from a young age we are taught that our puzzles are not complete without this centerpiece.
We romanticise the idea of love. We love the thought of being in love and what that means, more than actually being in love.
A lot of choosing the wrong people comes from this push to be in love. This desperate desire to be desired can take precedence over our own self-worth.
We are spoon-fed the idea of happily ever after, and never-ending love from day one. The problem is that is the case for so few of us, and because we rush into love, we never take the time to learn how to be single first and, mainly, to love ourselves.
Sloss says, “Our generation has become so obsessed with starting the rest of their lives that they are willing to give up the one they are currently living.”
One segment of Jigsaw that I continually think of, even months after watching it, is Sloss’ sentiments on loving yourself before allowing yourself to be loved in a relationship.
“If you only love yourself 20 per cent, that means that somebody can come along and love you 30 per cent, and you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s so much.’ It is literally less than half. Whereas if you love yourself 100 per cent that person has to go above and beyond the call of duty to make you feel special.”
Love is a virus that everyone wants to catch. We are casting our self-worth and self-knowledge vaccinations to the side, in the hopes of catching the sickness that we are told will cure us.
Daniel Sloss’ Jigsaw presents a dialogue that I can’t seem to shake. His analogies and thoughts on how single people push themselves into relationships are scarily accurate. It makes you take a hard look at yourself and how you evaluate love to fit into your life equation.
So instead of trudging through the same barrage of family questions on my relationship status at the next reunion, I’ll just tell them:
Ignore the mess, my jigsaw is still under construction.