We live in an era of being perpetual addicted to live streams, where even emails are now considered a slow form of communication. From the touch pads of our fingertips, we instantly stream via text, tweet and facebook while we walk, while we eat, and sometimes when we’re half asleep. Facets of television have changed too, the train wreck of reality TV shows engrosses us, but we can’t stop watching –Teen Mom? Really?
Of course, there is actual human contact to consider, where you have to leave the cocooned shelter of your virtual bubble to engage in what is known as the art of conversation. Most commonly, when singletons seek the prospect of coupling, there is no way to Auto Correct their mistaken chatters. Words that are spit out can’t be erased, and so, people numb themselves with one or two cocktail concoctions to loosen their tongues. Isn’t this scenario the main culprit of a one-night stand?
My husband and I have been married for fifteen years; I married my best friend when I was twenty-six years old—practically a child bride these days. From the beginning of our marriage and until today, the inescapable question from my singleton friends is, “How did you know he was the one?”
My unchanging answer is: develop a friendship first before becoming lovers instead of the reverse, and no, I don’t believe in that “You just know when you meet that person” theory. I’ve discovered a refreshingly old-fashioned “love” manual called How to Love an American Man: A True Story by Kristine Gasbarre. It’s good to have on hand for all of us—single or married.
Kristine chooses her words beautifully with a clear, charming and engaging voice that took a hold of me from the very first chapter. If you are like me, someone who has a cultural clash of a dysfunctional family, you’ll find yourself drawn into her family (I immediately adopted her grandmother as my own).
Kristine and freshly widowed Grandma Glo are bonded by the loss of the one man they both loved—Kristine’s grandfather. This is a beautiful full-circle story of two people, one who is searching for love and having a series of failed relationships, and the other who is mourning her true love. They both try to cope with their broken hearts and they mend each other by learning the life lessons of love.
For Kristine, Grandma Glo teaches her old-fashioned courtship methods along with a key to decoding the non-communicative male. Grandma Glo, in turn, learns from Kristine how to be an independent single person without her other half to lean on. As Grandma Glo talks about her long marriage and her relationship with her husband, I too, learned lessons about many things that relate to my own marriage.
Too often, love is confused with passion and (or) lust, relationships are assumed to lead to marriages before starting a family. These checklists are not only stressed by our biological clocks, but we tend to measure our self-worth with these expectancies. This may be so tiresomely clichéd, yet, I found myself consoling a single girlfriend on her 40th birthday. It was a tear-stricken lunch.
“This is not how I pictured myself to be at 40, I’m supposed to have a Volvo station wagon full of kids,” she said as she wiped her tears away and gasped for air.
But I’ve known too many malcontent people who had worked, planned and schemed their entire adult life to possess those items on their checklists. And then there are the many triumphant single women who live their lives filled with peaceful happiness. Regardless of the past and the status of your life checklists, start fresh by turning off all wireless devices and pick up this book. Spend some time with Grandma Glo’s wisdom.