Reel Life: How (NOT) to be Single

Release Date: February 12, 2016

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann.

IMDB Synopsis: There’s a right way to be single, a wrong way to be single, and then…there’s Alice. And Robin. Lucy. Meg. Tom. David. New York City is full of lonely hearts seeking the right match, be it a love connection, a hook-up, or something in the middle. And somewhere between the teasing texts and one-night stands, what these unmarrieds all have in common is the need to learn how to be single in a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love.

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“Ever-evolving definitions of love” AND Ever-evolving definitions of what it means to be single, IMDB!

Don’t get me wrong. This movie had some positive moments. People learn to stand on their own two feet. They learn to leave bad boys (and girls) behind for more stable, loving relationships. They learn to be themselves even with a significant other. They learn to not be so selfish. All positives. But, How to be Single’s over-arching definition of singleness left me feeling kind of defensive and a little grumpy.

My experience with singleness has NEVER consisted of hook-ups, wild & drunken dance parties, and showing up to work hungover. It has never consisted of carelessness in my relationships or ignorance of my responsibilities, and the truth is, I know PLENTY of other single people who would agree with me.

I am single, yes.

I am single and NOT sleeping around. (Single does not equal loose.)

I am single and NOT trying to find myself.(Single does not equal lost.)

I am single and NOT living for the weekend. (Single does not equal discontent.)

I am single and NOT avoiding deep relationships. (Single does not equal careless.)

I am single and NOT climbing the corporate ladder. (Single does not equal workaholic.)

I am single, yes.

I am single AND in deep, affirming relationships with friends and family members.

I am single AND carry responsibility at church, at home, & at work to the best of my ability.

I am single AND know myself–my dreams, my interests, my issues, and my strengths.

I am single AND not afraid of having children.

I am single AND can be counted on.

I am single, but that is only a small portion of who I am. It is only a small portion of any single person. It is not their defining characteristic, or at least, it shouldn’t be.

Does the culture want to be helpful and encouraging to single people (as this movie was trying to do in moments)? Well, then show single people living everyday, ordinary lives. Show them navigating family and friends and work and life events with grace and self-respect. Show them being reliable and dependable and faithful. Show them being invested and present in their current (non-romantic) relationships.

That’s true. That’s inspiring. That’s beautiful. That’s how to be single.

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