It is said that when Noah was taking his ark on its maiden voyage, the unicorns missed out because they were too busy playing in the rain. This makes them sound silly and foolish—causing their own destruction by not getting on the boat to salvation. This could very well be valid, unless…
Unless they were single. If they were all single, maybe going on a couples cruise only to sit at the singles table just didn’t seem appealing and they’d sooner die than live in a world where everyone is paired off two-by-two.
This hypothesis came to me while I was at a coffee shop in Bushwick on a frigid Saturday morning. Every species of human had marched in two by two, seeking warmth and caffeinated bonding. I had just left from a conversation with a man I had a crush on. I told him he was attractive; he told me I looked unique.
Teachers had been calling me unique in the comments of my report cards since kindergarten. In teacher code, it meant, “Mr. and Mrs. Brandon, your child is bright but she’s fucking weird.”
So, I packed up my iPad, bruised ego, and the remains of my self-worth, and went to a coffee shop to watch the real-time documentary of the modern Brooklyn mating rituals. Just a unique, face-tattooed unicorn touring the ark to see all she might be missing.
There were every kind of species and generations there, from Millennial to Gen-Z. An awkward Tinder meet-up shifting through small talk and wondering if this was worth putting on pants for. In a corner, long-term mates sipped tea in unison, having morphed into looking like each other over time. Sprinkled in were platonic friends and roommates catching up on (no real surprise) the incessant shoots, and ladders of modern dating. All while I, the mythical party-of-one, took notes and did my best not to disturb the delicate ecosystem.
I resisted being bitter as I scanned these couples, marveling at what made them the chosen ones. How they broke away from the curse of being unique and super cool and became something worth posting selfies with and meeting the family.
One size certainly did not fit all. I have worked in bridal shops where the bride claimed she had made the urban legend come true, and had turned a consistent hook-up into a husband.
Don’t try that at home, kids.
I have danced alongside the most beautiful and interesting women you’d ever meet but can’t get a text back, nor a response from a Bumble match. I have seen unshakeable couples you aspire to be, crumble like Rome and all their dark truths come to the light.
Our subconscious has been infiltrated with the idea that the only acceptable existence is one with a partner. From Disney movie romance to holiday commercials, we are made to believe that to be alone is a failure. Maybe that was true when we still needed to fear a bear attack while gathering berries in the forest but for most of us, these are not concerns that plague our lists of things to be anxious about as we lay in bed.
To be in love is beautiful, but oh what serenity there is in reading a book with a glass of wine in peace, or simply having control of what to watch on Netflix. While it’s always nice to have a date for Valentine’s Day, it’s also nice to buy your own chocolates and flowers and not sit in a packed restaurant forcing strained conversation.
In the end, never fear being a unicorn. Let yourself dance in the rain. Just remember to float with the tides or you will surely drown.