Do I Want A Boyfriend Or Am I Just Cold?

meg ryan billy crystal harry met sally

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I’ve long resisted armband season – the unofficial mating period that begins with the first cold after Labor Day and ends with the early spring thaw. Urban dictionary describes this ritual as when “the cold weather and prolonged activities indoors make single people feel lonely and desperate to be handcuffed.” My therapist would call this a coping mechanism. This year, in constant chaos and government imposed distance, I have struggled to discern: do I want a boyfriend or am I just cold?

It was a question I first asked last winter, on a brisk walk with my roommate, each of us stuffing our hands in our pockets and shielding our faces in scarves. As we immediately burst into laughter, it became clear that this was not an isolated thought. This theory was confirmed every time I presented this story to a number of my friends and colleagues: everyone inevitably felt under attack, as if I was calling their particular methods of dealing with the cold.

prince charles, prince of wales with his fiancee lady diana s
Prince Charles and Princess Diana, dressed in colorful knitwear, in 1981.

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The inability to decipher whether we are looking for a partner or a pashmina has only gotten stronger over a year of social distancing, existential condemnation and too many nights to review When Harry meets Sally. I really can’t tell the difference between wanting to spoon or being swaddled in a big sweater. When I review the love story of Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal I think, No wonder it took them 90 minutes to get together – they had plenty of diapers to keep them warm at night !! Their leafy Central Park walks weren’t distant and they didn’t have to show negative COVID-19 test results to connect in the heat of the moment!

In the warmer months, we proudly denounced underwire and real pants. We went through quarantine phases like matches on Hinge – baking bread, then tie-dyeing, then reuniting with Zoom Cast from that show you loved back in 2003. But with the first sign of a cold and a Continuing confusion over how to exit safely, we sobered up and realized that none of these things were filling the void as we hoped.

No wonder it took them 90 minutes to get together – they had lots of diapers!

Inevitably, there’s a hint of regret – maybe I wouldn’t be in my apartment in a nap dress or Google’s rotating “Harry Styles Tiny Desk Concert” if I had coupled the pre-pandemic. Then again, my fleece jacket keeps me warm at night and won’t ghost me or listen to me playing Foo Fighters on his acoustic guitar – hence why it’s important to investigate. Do I want to be weighed down by a relationship or a weighted blanket? Do I want a hug or just a really good cashmere?

Brigitte Bardot during a filming in Scotland 1966
A Brigitte Bardot cardigan in 1966.

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This brings me to my Amazon Wish List, which is probably no different from other pandemic parts of a. All that time that wasn’t hampered by the love of my life was seductively spent adding to the basket – so many knits, so many candles and enough slippers to last (God help us) another year. of the WFH. Who remembers you haven’t been touched in months while cocooned in flannelI wonder on my own on a Friday night, searching for Trader Joe’s wine and entering my credit card information from memory.

Every time a promising new package arrives at my doorstep (why, yes, do I have weird feelings about my UPS driver and you?), All thoughts of a relationship fly out the window. Boarded up in my tiny apartment with someone I’ve known for less than a year? Difficult pass. Texting an ex? Not in those fuzzy socks. The urge to message this politically qualifying Hinge match as “moderate” – it’s buried nicely under my oversized sweatshirt. Considering how anxious it feels in 2020, it’s amazing how much a panic buying can alleviate.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Birmingham
Meghan Markle looks comfortable in 2018.

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Of course, the substitutes wear out thin after a while. Loneliness, panic, and the urge to play Phoebe Bridgers sets in – whether you’re being held by a person or by an overpriced throw blanket. After all, if the cozy fall heroines have taught us anything, it’s that Dealing with Cardigans has an expiration date. For a while, Diane Keaton masks her desire for emotional intimacy with turtlenecks in Something must give. Taylor Swift is fixed on a scarf forgotten in her break-up ballad “All Too Well”. But they all succumb to the inevitable armband. Keaton’s turtleneck is physically cut off from her body and Swift is still waiting for an answer on that scarf, Gyllenhaal.

Maybe we should aspire to Meg Ryan’s version of happiness at the end of When Harry meets Sally. She ends up with her true love, doesn’t sacrifice her chic sweater collection and does it all ringing in the New Year. Maybe by 2021 I’ll have what she has.

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