Mariecar Mendoza

Oct. 29, 2005. 9:30 p.m. I am running around my apartment, screaming and half-naked. Water is boiling over on the stove and Robbie Williams is inexplicably blaring on iTunes. I have a party to go to. I have to eat. But I can’t see anything except gold lamA,” because the top half of my body is trapped in a poorly constructed “punk Cleopatra” Halloween costume, and I’ve already fallen over twice in failed liberation attempts.

I can barely breathe as my arms yank the straps futilely; the straining dress ends right at my waist, providing an excellent view of my Simpsons underwear. For the first time in my life, but perhaps not the last, I wished I were the Incredible Hulk.

Only later, after my rage died, did I realize how very Bridget Jones the whole situation was – and wondered if that was a good thing.

The silly fictitious Londoner, initially conceived in Helen Fielding’s 1990s column in “The Independent,” was the first voice in a burgeoning movement for the single lady. “Sex And The City” (SATC) and its cultural punch of Manolos and martinis would hit later, but it was really Bridget who fleshed out the 30-year-old singleton as a vibrant, selective and not-so-tragic creature. Two novels (both hilarious) and two movies (one great, one ulcer-inducing) later, she had provided hope to a world of unwed 30-somethings and suggested to their suitors that the ladies were living with more than just their biological clocks in mind. It was quite an accomplishment for Fielding, and later the creators of Carrie Bradshaw and Co., to change the way society viewed the intimidating lifestyle of singledom. The whole idea was a gift to women, and we took it.

Maybe that was a mistake.

Here’s what I’ve noticed: with the Stiletto Power ideal in mind, dating has become a lot more complicated for young women. It seems that the more exciting, attractive, and mentally stable my friends are, the more difficulty they have with finding romance is inversely proportionate. Yes, it’s easy to assume that the boys are just immature and my ladies are perfect, because I do find my close friends to be fabulous, but there’s more: Throughout college, I’ve seen them adopt a gradual urban combat mode to dating as a result to absorbing these cultural examples. In this setting, it just falls flat.

They know what they want, but they also assume others are running by the same guides. It’s clear defensiveness – if he doesn’t call once, he’s “Just Not That Into Me” (to reflect the massive popularity of a dating guide by former SATC scribes); if he doesn’t bring flowers, he’s obviously not serious about the date. It has become pretty unfair to the opposite sex, and made women believe that they can predict men better than ever. (Though boys, seriously, you should be more old-fashioned in the approach; it’s a rare charm.) But no one can calculate individual spirit – they’re humans, not stock prices.

In her book “Are Men Necessary?,” New York Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd argues that the feminist movement should have yielded a much different society than ours. She said that women are still batting their eyes and acting like ’50s pin-ups in the hopes of finding a husband and everlasting love because it’s their only real option. This blanket statement hardly seems accurate at first. Women today, if anything, are blinded daily with the failures of matrimony and they know their options extend beyond it.

In our age group, we know love doesn’t always last – at least 50 percent of American marriages end in divorce – but we’re half-fulfilling Dowd’s prophecy anyway. A woman’s unmarried future has become so popular to portray in culture that it’s become a kind of crystal ball, an early deadline to a stable relationship. And this is surprising but, in my own casual research, I found that more of my acquaintances wanted to get married after first watching SATC than they did prior. I suppose it’s fun to watch Carrie Bradshaw’s quirky promiscuity or Bridget Jones’ flustered across-the-pond antics, but young women have responded by trying to avoid a similar fate; now they’ve seen it in reruns.

This isn’t new to our generation (what era didn’t offer M.R.S. degrees?), and it’s smart to want love, but for people my age – people who haven’t yet entered the glittery world of designer shopping and vague alcoholism, as depicted in single-lass shows – little has changed about our own attitudes toward singledom.

We’re still playing the same game and no one knows the rules – if this singleton feminist movement was supposed to shift the sands, it didn’t. You can wrap it in a Fendi and call it a revolution but, really, nothing has changed.

Stacey Anderson is a journalism and music senior and KCPR DJ. Catch her Sundays 7 to 8 p.m. and Thursdays 3 to 5 p.m. on 91.3 FM or e-mail her at standers@calpoly.edu.

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