I rewatched The Mindy Project again last night, a few weeks after Hulu leaked the pilot episode which, as with most TV pilots, I had lukewarm feelings about. I enjoyed it a little better the second time around, two weeks later, probably because I didn’t have it playing in the background while I was at work as I typically multitask my TV watching with some form of additional working involved. After reading a few reviews from all of the usual suspects (Vulture, EW, NPR) it seems like the interwebz is in unison that the pilot was promising, the jokes were good, the heroine not perfect and fairly realistic (she can’t run in heels to the hospital so she takes them off and makes a barefoot dash in the streets during rush hour!) and hopefully the show stays golden, ponyboy.
In the show, Mindy is a doctor in her early 30’s who makes poor decisions when it comes to men. She is aware of this too, but slow to change. She desperately wants a romcom meet cute to happen which does in the form of Bill Hader, her boyfriend until they break up and he gets married to the hospital bagel girl and invites Mindy to the wedding. Mindy then uses the wedding to get drunk, use the toast as a moment to vent out her broken relationship anger, and rides her bike home, shouting out that she is Sandra Bullock and falling into someone’s pool where a Barbie doll at the bottom of the pool mocks her lack of a relationship "At least I have a boyfriend!" (Barbie, Barbie Barbie, Ken don’t count don’t you know that already.)
I liked this scene because it went there. Any other single TV heroine would have stayed at home with a close girlfriend on FaceTime, crying into some Ben & Jerry’s while still keeping her makeup intact. Not Mindy. The way Mindy behaved reminded me on varying levels of college Heather who drank more and exercised poor judgment in men. I might not have gotten arrested for being drunk in someone’s pool convinced that their toy doll was judging me, but I’ve had my moments. Shit happens and then it’s done and you go back to your work life and move on. Being single may get a bad rap from everyone from Mother Nature to your grandmother but being single while having a career is not a bad thing at all. Lots of pros work in your corner for it. Observe:
- First off, being single is not going to last forever. It’s not. Just because you aren’t engaged the moment you graduate from college at 22 or doing that whole “ring before spring!” bullshit does not mean that you won’t get engaged ever. The important thing is not to get engaged or married because you feel pressured to. Same goes with relationships. This is not popular advice, but don’t date people based on the loneliness principle. I get a lot of shit from people for not dating dud guys I know simply so I can hold that Facebook title “in a relationship with xyz person.” I am all or nothing when it comes to relationships and only date guys that I do genuinely like a lot and care for. Which to date has not been many, but so what? I’d rather do it this way than string a person along that less than 50% of me likes.
- You get to do your own thing! Go out of town on the weekends, head to the movies after work, sleep in on a Saturday, do some online shopping with a bellini in hand, and flirt with guys at Starbucks. You don’t have to report back to somebody or rush home to be with the kids or anything. Treasure this shit as your expiration date for it is fast approaching. Once upon a time when I was in grade school, my dad went to go see Congo at the movies after work and didn’t tell my mother where he was at. He typically came home at 5:30 PM and arrived back at about 8 PM that night. As this was in the time before the iPhone, my mom was furious at him for not letting her know where he was and yelled a lot. I felt bad for my dad and understood his plight. It was one time and a movie about radioactive gorillas. How could you pass that opportunity up?
- Here’s a major bone to pick with you relationship people: set ups and/or knowing what is best for your single friends. Your concern is cute, but please stop the set ups because I’m starting to get the distinct feeling that you think I’ll go out with pretty much anyone so long as he has a penis at this point. Are there no evaluations going into play here? No pre-recs or Google background checks? Why doesn’t the guy have a job? Why is he still living in his mother’s basement and playing Guitar Hero? And why doesn’t he at least TRY to dress up around me?
To date, I have only had one good blind date ever and it was with a hot Mormon guy who was hilarious and attractive and well dressed and incredible on way too many levels and I can’t remember his name and damnit he had to leave the country to go on his mission because I would have been so down to be a sister wife you don’t even know. The person who set us up? One of my best friends. She told me beforehand, “Girl, I would never set you up with somebody I myself wouldn’t date.” THAT’S A FRIEND LADIES. Find yourself a girlfriend in a relationship who gets that and you’re solid.
- Every day, hundreds of single professional women are left with the prospect of taking the easy road out of singledom and straight into engagement with the ultimate trapping device: the nice guy. He’s harmless and sweet and wouldn’t hurt a fly or you and looks good on paper and he’s single and you’re single so hey why not get hitched but fuck it, he has no backbone. That backbone matters. You can’t get hot and bothered for a guy who treats you too gently 24/7 like you’re a little lamb about to run away from the pasture to the big bad wolf. Or at least I can’t.
- We know what we want and what we’re looking for. In finding the right match for myself, I would like a guy with the following traits:
1) Funny and can make me laugh and smile as much as possible. That’s non-negotiable. My levels of happiness are connected directly to my funny bone.
2) Chemistry. Think of a car ride together. You want the comfortable silences and relaxed feeling in the air, not the urge to throw open the car door and roll on out on the 101 freeway instead because that would be less painful and awkward.
3) Well read. Aware of pop culture and cultural events globally. We should be able to sit together for 5+ hours at the bookstore and not feel like we need to be anywhere else.
4) Established. This is a tricky one because I feel like it automatically translates to “having money.” Money is a very fluid thing that comes and goes, but the idea is that the guy would have a good career or a career in the works. I am not on board with the Peter Pans of the world.
5) You need nice grown man clothes. They don’t have to cost a fortune. I can help with this.
7) Feeling beautiful around you, even if I’m in my yoga pants without any makeup on. (Does that not look like a Taylor Swift song lyric or what? But it’s true. And knowing that you’ll be beautiful to me no matter what also.)
8) Patience, trust, kindness, spontaneity (of the flower bringing kind, not “hey we’re going kayaking today - take the afternoon off of work!”), comfort in tough times, and love at arm’s length where you can be close but not to a smothering point.
Clearly I know what I want.
-Final pro from my corner: the ability to take a super long nap on a day off and not face any judgment from it. Maybe some light teasing from my roommates, but… you know what there really should never be judgment for napping ever no matter what kind of relationship you’re in. Naps rejuvenate you. Don’t date someone who thinks a nap is stupid or pointless. They’re probably the same kind of people who don’t want to tell you about that weird dream you had the other night where you were in New York City making friends with homeless bums and picking up the trash off of the ground and throwing it away either.