Dorothy Heller

A writer, blogger, mother, medical interpreter, bookaholic, grandmother, shower singer, translator, tea-aholic and an aspiring songwriter. Still writing her novel and wants to write at least one good song.

Singles Saturday Night on the Sofa- Codependent on PBS

It’s Saturday night, and like thousands of self-respecting singles, I should be getting ready to go out. To a Meetup, to a singles event, to a bar, to a bowling alley—anywhere—as long as it’s Out. Because Out is where you can see and be seen. Perhaps this could be the Saturday night when you look across a crowded room and suddenly see her/him. Or them, as the case may be.

But PBS is showing An Affair to Remember, and staying home on the sofa is looking increasingly attractive.

Is there a secret liberal conspiracy to co-opt us into a codependent relationship with PBS so we will stay home and send in pledges instead of being out searching for our mate?

If you’re not a classic chick flick movie buff, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan’s Sleepless in Seattle was based on “Affair to Remember.” During one pivotal scene in “Sleepless,” Meg Ryan and Rosie O’Donnell plant themselves in front of the television so they can sob their way through it together.

“Affair to Remember” is one of those classics whose plot would be destroyed by social media. None of it could have happened with cell phones, IM, and email. If nothing else, Deborah Kerr’s tragic auto accident that prevents her from rendezvousing with Cary Grant would have been all over Facebook. The paramedic would be Twittering the news from the ambulance. There would have been no grounds for missed signals, miscommunication, or misunderstanding.

Imagine Foul Play with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase, chasing witlessly all over San Francisco, because they didn’t have iPhones and could only communicate through telephone booths and landlines. And still had to find parking. Couldn’t happen in these days of constant interconnectivity. Except for the parking.

Social media may be the reason that Hollywood is forced to do so many revivals and films based on cartoon characters. Instant connectivity has taken most of the aggravation–and suspense–out of plot lines.

Nevertheless, “Affair” is a weeper. Especially when Cary loves his formerly glamorous girlfriend even more when she’s penniless, in a wheelchair, dressed like a nun, and surrounded by adorable urchins.

Watching “Affair to Remember” on the sofa would be a perfect Saturday night with an indulgent male partner, using it as an excuse to snuggle up and initiate sex after the tears are mopped up (there’s never any snot in a rom com)–the ideal ending to this orgy of sentimentality.

And here I am, on the sofa, alone with my cat. What could be more stereotypical?

Believe it or not, one of the great advantages of being coupled is the right to stay home.

It’s not so much being alone—I can enjoy my own company, my living room, my cat, and marvel at Cary Grant’s charm and patent leather hair with geometrically precise part. It’s the guilt.

You’re not supposed to stay home alone Saturday night when you’re a single–it’s against the Rules. You’re supposed to choose from a myriad of Meetups or other affiliated activities, whether you’re interested in them or not. You’re supposed to apply lip liner or aftershave lotion, as the case may be, gird up your loins, and go forth in search of a partner, and not just any partner–the One. Suddenly you see him/her/them. Across a crowded room, etc. (If you are younger than a boomer, these are lyrics from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific).

It’s actually one of the worse things about being single–the feeling that you need to be constantly committed to the Quest, especially at times deemed to be as socially significant as Saturday night–the prime date night in the hierarchy of date nights.

Every comfortable moment on the sofa, propped up with throw pillows, munching popcorn or kale chips, and covered with cat hair, is bedeviled by your inner dialogue—“You’re missing out. You’re copping out. You can’t ever meet anyone home alone. You’ve got to try. You’ll miss this event– {choose among 1,412 if you live in a metropolitan area)–and you’ll miss Him. Or Her. Or Them, for the gender fluid, in which case you’re losing out exponentially. The One will be there and you won’t–because you’re home on the sofa with your cat, watching “An Affair to Remember,” commercial-free, on a Saturday night.

I have to ask if PBS really has our best interests at heart. First, there was Mitt Romney questioning Big Bird’s bona fides–was he really an Anglo-Saxon, Christian Chicken who deserved a pittance of our federal tax support? Then there was the man behind Elmo who was rumored to love children just a little too much. Now, they’re showing “An Affair to Remember” on Saturday night.

I’m considering withholding this year’s donation.

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